Meditation is one of the most researched practices in mental health field. We seem to love it! Mindfulness meditation teaches your brain how to calm down and make more conscious wise decisions. Meditation trains your brain! Meditation can give you a taste of compassion, peace and balance that can benefit both your emotional well being and your overall health, though meditation is not a replacement for therapy or other integrative approaches to manage anxiety or depression, instead, its been shown to be a compliment to many therapies or medication - meditation can increase ones awareness of their higher states of thought and consciousness which can reduce anxiety and decrease feelings of emptiness.
reduces stress response which therefore increases immunity
Additional articles detailing the science and contemplative nature of meditation
What is meditation?
“Meditation” is a catch-all word for any conscious exercise of attention that builds our mind and brain’s natural powers of well-being, resilience, compassion, and altruism.
Why Meditate? Meditation is a powerful tool to eliminate stress, to heal the body, mind, and brain, and to enhance our personal well-being and positive relationship with the world.
What kinds are there?
Meditation comes in many forms in all human cultures and traditions. In my approach, I use guided meditations and visualizations (use your imagination to see a picture or story in your mind) that illicit positive flow state and encourage resilience.
Mindfulness and awareness practices help us shift from stress to peace.
Imagery and affirmation practices help us model inspiring, heroic new ways of being.
Blissful openness practices help us harness the positive energy and chemistry of love.
How do I practice mindfulness?
Find a restful place and time. Sit comfortably on a cushion or in a chair, so you can breathe easily. Rest your hands in your lap or on your thighs. Close your eyes fully or almost fully. Breathe through your nostrils (unless that poses problems).
Pay close attention to the flow your breath—inhalation, pause, exhalation, pause—using that flow as a focus to settle and center your whole being. Open your awareness to the spacious clarity which is the essence of your mind, and rest within that. Scan whatever feelings, thoughts, images, and emotions flow through your mind, accepting them just as they are. Rest silently in this clear, calm space as long as you can.
How do I practice loving-kindness?
In a restful place and time, settle and center yourself with simple breath-mindfulness. Mentally repeat wishes that evoke healing emotions of love, care, joy, and peace. Start with yourself, “May I be happy. May I be well. May I have joy. May I have peace.” Then open your focus out to others, “May you be happy…” Finally, embrace all living beings, “May we all be happy….”
How long and when should I practice?
Practice for as long as you can, 5-20 minutes is usual at the start. Try to find a regular rhythm, from once weekly to daily. Try any windows of time and judge which works best.
How do I work with resistance?
Once you notice restlessness or distraction, try to calm and refocus with mindful awareness. For fatigue or dullness, open your eyes or imagine something beautiful, breathe more fully and deeply, and try to refresh and awaken your body-mind with alert awareness. The fact is simple, our minds are suppose to wander, that is normal. The goal is not to stop that process, but to be aware of when it does in fact wander. Simple notice it and bring your thoughts back to the present moment. To help do this, you may repeat a calming word in your mind, have a sound you re-anchor yourself too or a single object you bring your focus back to in your present moment.
Are guided audio meditations ok?
Try meditating with and without them, and do what works. For great mindfulness app: Insight timer and mindvalley.com
What benefits should I expect?
Expect a heightened sense of relaxation, presence, awareness, and acceptance. Expect more tolerance and less reactivity to things that usually bother or trigger you. Expect to feel more peacefully embodied, with greater presence of mind, and more freedom to choose healthier ways of thinking and acting.
Why add meditation to exercise or yoga?
Meditation is like exercise and yoga for your mind and brain.
How to maintain a practice
Create it as a habit of living. Keep reading, listening, reflecting, and learning. Connect with social networks and communities that support contemplative living.
Given regular practice....to reap the benefits consistency is the key
-- This Text and information from Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science website page..... where I have received training