Carving out short periods of down time to keep yourself feeling healthy and ready to take on the daily challenges of parenting young children is important. One perfect way to relieve stress and improve your health is meditation. Two short time periods of meditation a day can have many mental and physical health benefits.
Meditation helps you relax, improving your physical health. Studies show that when you relax, the nitric oxide that is released opens blood vessels, which then reduces blood pressure. A study of people who meditate also showed a connection between meditating on a regular basis and an improved immune system.
Meditation relieves anxiety and helps you stay focused. In studies, meditation causes increased volume in the area of the brain responsible for controlling emotions and memory. Meditation helps you feel centered and clears out emotions that get in the way of concentrating and organizing tasks. It is much easier have a productive day when you feel in control of your emotions and your thoughts.
By meditating a couple of times of day, you become more self aware and able to tackle challenges with confidence. Spending time meditating can help you gain clarity and insight about what is truly important to you and put any issues into perspective.
Learning to meditate does take practice. Here are a few tips to get started:
- Choose a place that is not too noisy and is a comfortable temperature. You don’t want to be distracted by being too hot or too cold. Wear comfortable clothes. Decide how long you want to meditation and set a timer.
- Sit down and close your eyes. Make sure to use good posture and keep your back straight. Sitting on the floor on a meditation cushion or bench is a common practice.
- Breathe normally, but focus on your breathing. When your mind starts to wander, bring it back. Some people use a mantra (a repeated phrase) to help them focus and others might use a mental image to help them focus.
Simple Beginner Poses for Meditation
Some people may shy away from the idea of meditation because they associate it with difficult yoga poses. However, there are several poses that are stable and promote good posture but are simple enough to serve as a starting point for beginners. As you become more practiced and increase your flexibility, you will be able to work your way up to more advanced poses.
- The easiest pose for meditation is sitting in a chair, with your pelvis tilted slightly forward. A wooden kitchen chair is better to use than one that is cushioned. Put a small pillow under your behind to help slightly tilt your pelvis forward and focus on keeping your spine straight. This is a good pose for those who are not yet ready to kneel or sit on the floor.
- In some part of the world, meditation is done in a kneeling position, which is a good pose for beginners. Use a meditation bench or use a cushion for your knees and one for your behind.
- If you are ready to try sitting on the floor, consider investing in an actual meditation cushion, which is designed to help you keep good posture. The Burmese position is regarded to be the easiest of all the unsupported seated meditation positions. First, sit on the floor, and then bend your knees until both of your feet are in front of you and the heel of your left food is touching the top of your right foot. However, your legs are not actually crossed.
How to Stay Focused and Quiet Your Mind while Meditating
There are pros and cons to closing your eyes while meditating. Some feel it blocks out distractions but closing your eyes could also make you feel sleepy. If you decide to meditate with your eyes open, keep your eyes loosely focused on the horizon in the distance or a candle that is placed in front of you.
Many try mantra meditation to keep their mind from wandering. Repeating a simple phrase over and over again keeps your mind busy, so that you can stay focused. In some religious traditions, the mantra has a sacred, spiritual meaning and it is best to use the mantra without translating it, to preserve its intent. If your meditation is more secular in nature, you can choose a phrase that reflects something you wish develop in yourself and guides you away from negative thoughts.