04 feb 2015 thrive 682x408

THRIVE

Love the benefits of meditation? Make it a daily practice to reduce stress

This article originally ran in the LiveWell newsletter of the Penny George™ Institute for Health and Healing.

With the increasingly rapid pace of daily life, it's important to take time out to take care of yourself. Finding a sense of calm, relaxation, purpose and energy is critical to staying well—physically and mentally.

Jayson King, BS, RN, NCTMB, HNB-BC, recommends a meditation practice as a way to stay in the moment, be present and to be in touch with your surroundings.

Although it may seem like a foreign concept to many of us, meditation is a powerful tool and something everyone can incorporate into their life. It is a practice you can bring into many daily activities of your life.

"Meditation is a way of calming all of the multi-tasking the brain does on a daily basis. Research has shown that it actually calms your brain and helps your physical state," said King, a senior training specialist with the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing.

Meditation can also help your body's immune system by reducing stress and increasing attentiveness to daily living. Finding quiet in your mental state helps your mind, body and spirit through balance in the midst of chaos. "Once you start a meditation routine it becomes like exercise and you will miss it if you skip it." King notes that taking as little as a few minutes a day to pay attention, find a state of relaxation and breathe, will offer immense benefits of greater relaxation, positivity and centeredness.

Tips on incorporating meditation into your daily life

  • Set a reminder on your calendar to take time out. Even taking a minute or two out of your daily schedule to look outside at nature, focus on your breathing and be gentle with yourself has immense benefits.
  • Be gentle with yourself. Always be gentle with yourself while bringing yourself back to your breathing.
  • Calm and clarity. It's easy to get distracted during a quiet, reflective meditative state. Turn off those cell phones and other electronics to focus and remain calm. 
  • Meditation takes many forms. Choose a style of meditation that works for you. If meditation in a solitary, sitting state doesn't fit your lifestyle, try walking meditation, group meditation, or certain meditative exercises such as tai chi, yoga or breathing exercises.
  • Be mindful. During winter months, the monochromatic landscape may seem dull and lifeless. But King says if you look closely, you will notice that even snow comes in different colors and shades. Also, nature is at work in the frozen landscape, preparing for the months ahead and spring.
  • Use meditation for healing. One way to use meditation for healing of the mind, body and spirit, is to use an affirmation. Adding an affirmation or moment of gratitude can help shift our overthinking minds. 

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