Now that you've read it, what exactly is MEDITATION?
Why Meditation & Mindfulness?
According to studies done by Sara Lazar, neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School, meditation practice can shrink the amygdala (the fight/flight part of the brain) resulting in reduced stress and anxiety. In addition, four areas of the brain's grey matter thicken with a mindful meditation practice. The function of these thickening areas are associated with memory, compassion, self-relevance, emotional regulation, and even neurotransmitter production! Who doesn't want to feel better?
what am i doing in my mind when i meditate?
Many sit to meditate for the first (for fifth, or fiftieth) time and they think "I just can't do this. My mind isn't clear." or "There are constantly thoughts running through my mind, I just can't seem to shut it off!" Here's the good news: meditation is not about stopping your thoughts at all! It is about having the thought, recognizing it for what it is without judgement, and letting it pass. Much like a big ol' frog at the bottom of a river watching boats and logs passing by overhead. Some drift lazily by, while others roar through the water stirring up the bottom. The frog sees them and lets them continue on down the stream, attaching no story, no judgement, no conclusions, just simple observational awareness. Your goal is to be the frog - be the observer that is aware of the passing thoughts and feelings.
what do I need to meditate?
Find a quiet place to sit, dress comfortably, and make sure you won't get too hot or too cold. You can sit on the floor, or in a chair, but it is not recommended to lie down as you could easily fall asleep.
Set a timer for your sit so you don't have to think about checking the time. Many people find it's best to start with 3 to 5 minutes, and work their way up to 20-30 minutes.
If you're feeling uneasy while sitting in silence at first, don't worry! This is totally normal! You can try adding some instrumental music, nature sounds, or white noise to help you relax.
how do i meditate?
There are many methods of mindful meditation, but this is the method I use and recommend for others starting out.
Start with deep breaths. Breathe in while counting to four, pause for one, breathe out for a count of four. Repeat this three or four times. As your breath returns to a normal pace, place a hand on your chest or belly and notice the breath cause them to rise and fall.
Feel the weight of your feet on the floor and your body in the chair. Imagine a light scanning you from head to toe, and notice how your body feels, where you are tense or relaxed. Take a deep breath and release your tensions as you exhale.
As thoughts and feelings arise, step back in your mind and view them as a movie on a screen. Acknowledge each for what it is (that time I failed, I feel sad, they made me mad, etc) and then let it go - let it be a log or a boat passing by in your stream of consciousness.
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