Meditation and Mindfulness, a form of meditation, are now well established in the American lexicon and can be heard in almost all areas of life from television advertisements to corporate America. Meditation, in all its forms, is a growing trend as people seek to live healthier and grounded lives in a busy and stressful world. So what is meditation and how can it help you?
Many strange and fantastical images may arise when we think about meditation so it may be easier to begin with what meditation is not. Meditation is not just some exotic man in robes meditating in a remote cave abandoning the world. It is not difficult, inaccessible, or a means to escape from life’s problems. It is also not only practiced in the confines of religion or spirituality though it can be if that is what you are seeking.
Though some of the images that arise may be accurate, it is not complete without including images of business professionals who need to reduce stress and increase clarity, or an athlete wanting to improve performance, or even a friend who wants to reduce anxiety and be more present in life. Meditation is a means of transforming the mind that goes back at least 5,000 years. It encourages and develops positive qualities like concentration, clarity, positive emotions, and calmness. It is a means to take responsibility for our own states of mind and improve them by acting as an antidote for our fears, anxieties, and confusion. Meditation also cultivates positive thinking in negative situations which helps to increase coping skills. It also fosters awareness, being present with life as it is, and being open to life as it unfolds.
“Meditation is the ultimate mobile device; you can use it anywhere, anytime, unobtrusively.” -Sharon Salzberg
There are many meditation traditions that use different skills to help the meditator relax and be still. You are welcome to explore the traditions or simply learn to follow the breath and just “be.” Whatever the method you use, meditation trains you to be present with whatever is happening as well as observing thoughts, feelings, and sensations in a nonjudgmental way. This process helps experience thoughts, emotions, and situations with more balance and acceptance.
The benefits of meditation are inclusive of the mind/body dichotomy. It has to potential to increase our physical and mental health. Physical health benefits founded in science include lower blood pressure and hypertension, lower cholesterol levels, restful sleep, increased oxygen intake, and increase in the anti-aging hormone DHEA.
Meditation – Backed by Research
Cognitive and emotional benefits of meditation and mindfulness meditation backed by research are improvements in memory and stress regulation, provides a sense of calm and peace, and brings new perspectives on stressful situations. Meditation, including mindfulness meditation, also helps us to be more present and let go of distressful thoughts, prevents “worry” while increasing “problem-solving,” and help to manage anxiety, depression, and pain.
Mindfulness meditation has been researched extensively and is now included in many clinical interventions and becoming more popular in clinical settings. Boca Raton therapists find that Mindfulness can enhance the tools learned in the therapy session and is a skill that brings its own rewards. One of the many goals of meditation, or mindfulness meditation, is developing “witnessing awareness” which means to watch our actions and thoughts as an observer. This is beneficial because it allows us to take a step back and look at the larger picture. It helps us to recognize negative patterns and behaviors so we can make more nourishing choices.
Meditation is a gift that keeps on giving. It is an oasis in an increasingly busy world. Invest in your own wellbeing and reap the benefits. Whether anxiety, depression, or other difficult situations in your life are leading you to seek assistance, be open and know that change is possible.
Mindfulness is one of the many skills that Morgan Center teaches to enhance a client’s capacity for change and wellbeing. For more information about our treatment approaches, visit Morgan Counseling. For more information about mindfulness or therapy in Boca Raton, contact Jody L. Morgan, LCSW or visit http://morgancounseling.net.