What do Oprah Winfrey, Angelina Jolie, Richard Gere, Tina Turner and Paul McCartney have in common?
Besides the fact that they are super famous and successful in their own right, they all practice one thing to help keep them sane and centred – meditation. Meditation has been embraced by cultures around the world for thousands of years.
Evidence of health benefits
Many people meditate for mental wellness, to relieve stress and become more calm and relaxed.
According to the US National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, there's evidence that practicing meditation may have a positive effect on certain medical conditions, like helping to lower blood pressure and easing symptoms of anxiety and depression, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and insomnia.
According to a previous Health24 article, activities like meditation leave a molecular signature in our cells, which reverses the effect that stress or anxiety would have on the body by changing how the genes are expressed. This simply means that meditation can cause the brain to steer DNA processes along a path which improves can ultimately improve overall well-being.
You don't need a dedicated space or a lot of time to try meditation. There are many techniques, and one might feel more comfortable to you than another.
Go on, give it a try
Here are three easy methods to help you get started:
1. Find your space
The first technique involves simply sitting or lying down and allowing your mind to go where it wants, without trying to control it. Watch where your thoughts go and what you think about as you let your mind wander at will. Do this for three to five minutes.
Another easy technique is to focus on breathing. Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and breathe naturally. Notice how different parts of your body move as you breathe in and out.
3. Find a focus point
As an alternative to focusing on breathing, try focusing on a single point. This could be staring at an object like a candle or saying a word or phrase – a mantra – over and over. When you feel your mind wandering, bring it back to focus on the object or mantra that you chose.
In the beginning, many people can only meditate for a few minutes at first before losing concentration. Stick with it, and you'll soon experience the soothing benefits of meditation.
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