Peace Through Meditation
In a world crammed with to-do lists, unread emails and incessantly ringing cell phones, it’s no wonder that we’re continually on the hunt for inner peace—or any peace for that matter. If you find yourself exhausted and disconnected, you’re not alone. Many people are turning to a regular meditation practice to achieve a sense of calm and well-being. Meditation can give you the strength and balance to get through even the toughest days.
Meditation is an ancient practice, a way of focusing your mind in order to become more aware and to achieve a higher state of consciousness. While meditation is commonly thought of as a spiritual practice because of its roots in eastern religions, it can be practiced by anyone who wants more peace and balance in his or her life.
You may be interested in learning to meditate, but think it’s not “you.” Rest assured that everyone from stay-at-home moms to Wall Street titans find it a helpful practice. You may also have concerns about entering into a “spiritual” practice if you are not a religious person. Meditation does not require you to adopt a particular faith, or any faith at all. If you’re ready to open yourself up to the possibility, meditation can help you find inner calm within the turmoil of daily life. With practice, you can experience greater peace at work, home and even while sitting in traffic or waiting on line for your morning latte.
During your first 30 days of exploring meditation, you can expect to learn more about the practice itself, find some resources to help you try it and maybe even experience greater calm, a feeling of more peace and more self acceptance. All these outcomes are reported by those who meditate frequently.
The Benefits of Meditation
Meditation has become such a common practice that it is now a dedicated field of study at some major medical centers. Preliminary research suggests that the structure of the brain changes in response to meditation practice, acccording to Sara Lazar, Ph.D., a scientist at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. That’s right. Meditation may make you smarter, more focused and can improve memory.
“The main conditions for which meditation has been shown to be effective are stress, pain, anxiety and depression,” says Lazar. Because meditation reduces the effects of stress—think high cortisol levels and increased blood pressure—your body stands to be in better overall health if you meditate. “The research suggests that 10 to 15 minutes a day, three to five times per week can be effective for reducing some symptoms, and those who practice more have greater changes,” says Lazar.