We all have heard meditation has incredible, scientifically-proven benefits for both the mind and body. First and foremost, meditation is an effective way to lower stress, a pivotal factor in many poor health outcomes. Meditation is also an extremely effective tool to improve mood, manage anxiety, balance the nervous system, boost immunity, and lower blood pressure. It helps improve mental clarity and concentration, so if you’re looking to feel more collected, centered, and focused throughout the day, practicing meditation regularly can be the perfect way to achieve this.
Our HealthTap doctors sing the praises of what meditation can do to improve both your mental and physical health. If you’re looking to get better at this practice or to start working it into your daily routine, they have some great tips for you. We asked them for their best advice, and here’s what they said:
Dr. Lynne Weixel, a clinical psychiatrist, knows that while meditation seems simple, it “is often frustrating without guidance.” If you can’t find an teacher to help you in a class, Dr. Weixel notes that “there are excellent books, video/audio tapes, and online groups that can help.” You can even access many guided meditation apps straight from your phone, that help you build your meditation skills while teaching you new techniques.
Do you find yourself complaining that you just don’t have the time, or that you forget to find the time to meditate? In order to bust stress and enhance concentration throughout your day, family medicine doctor Dr. Keegan Duchicela suggests you “try to work it into your daily routine as you would brushing your teeth or combing your hair.” Everyone can make time for a 5-10 minute meditation, whether it’s in the morning, as a break during your work day, or before you go to bed. Pen it into your schedule, and build it in as a simply a part of your routine that you just don’t skip.
During meditation, you should focus on your deep abdominal breaths, which help calm the autonomic nervous system and gives you the relaxation sensation you’re seeking. In addition to your breathing, It can also be helpful to focus on an image or sound to center you. Holistic medicine doctor Dr. Randy Baker says, “[take] slow deep breaths while focusing on the process, and focus your mind on a sound or image. One of my favorite techniques is to take a deep breath in and softly say “ommm” or “aoum” (ahh, ohh, ooo, mmm) as you breathe out, [while] focusing on how the sound vibrates you.” Remember, if your mind wanders during your meditation, that’s more than okay. Once you realize your mind has drifted, bring it back to center, and continue focusing on your breath, and an image or sound.
Author: Maggie Harriman