handsome businessman with eyes closed meditating in Lotus Pose on office desk

Finding time to relax is a struggle for many. We underestimate our need to unwind and decompress, and our busy lives sometimes make it impossible – but just 5-10 minutes a day can help you form better, new habits and enjoy relief from stress.

What is meditation?

Meditation is a practice of concentrated focus on a sound, object, visualization, breath, or movement. This ancient Chinese tradition was initially used for religious purposes, but there are many benefits. Meditation can help with:

  • Stress management
  • Pain relief
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Insomnia
  • Improving focus
  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Breaking addiction

Meditation also allows you to relax and be mindful and in tune with yourself and your surroundings. It uses slow, controlled breathing that directs air into your abdomen instead of your chest (chest breathing can trigger the stress response).

Where do you begin?

Choose a time of day that works best for you, and practice meditation daily at the same time. Begin with an open mind – free of judgment of yourself and your thoughts. As your thoughts stray (as they often do), simply bring your focus back to your breath. You’ll find that your focus gets better with practice.

Beginners may want to start with guided meditation. A class setting prevents distractions that can pop up at home and helps you focus on the instructor’s voice. When you’re ready to take it to the next level, you’ll be able to meditate anywhere.

Find a practice you enjoy

It’s important to find a type of meditation you like, which may mean trying different ways to meditate to see what works best for you. If you choose to meditate outside of your home, find an instructor who is patient and willing to work with you. As you become more seasoned, you can experiment with other forms of meditation. It’s a very personal experience, so no two people will have the same exact response.

General meditation guidelines to follow

  • Find a quiet space where you won’t be distracted – no phones or laptops.
  • Set a timer to ensure you aren’t worried about how long you’re meditating. Start with 5 minutes, then build to 10, then to 15 minutes or even longer. Frequency is important to become proficient and maximize the effect. It can become a daily practice or even several times daily.
  • Make sure you’re in a comfortable position: cross-legged, sitting in a chair, or even walking.
  • Aromatherapy or essential oils can help you relax and calm down. Consider scents like lavender, bergamot, or ylang ylang.
  • Try adding calming/relaxing music to your routine to maximize the effect.

The idea is to focus to the point where you no longer notice the things around you. It may help to recall relaxing images, but it’s important to avoid mental chatter and/or be distracted by your thoughts and worries.


Source: Virtua Health

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