If there was a piece of food out there that guaranteed to have no negative side effects, but through its consumption you were able to relieve stress and anxiety, reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, use oxygen more efficiently, increase production of the anti-aging hormone DHEA and give you a more restful sleep - it would be a something taking pride of place in everyone's pantry. Particularly if it tasted great!
If we stretch our mind a little and extend beyond food as the source of these wonderful changes, you already have access to something that can provide this. Plus it is free.
No hippy pants required. No candles or incense.
I for one have been overwhelmed at where to start - I understand the benefits of meditating, I have read the research and watched the documentaries.
When it comes to the implementation, I fizzle out in uncertainty. "But what do I ACTUALLY DO?". The variety of meditation techniques is immense (as you'd expect from something that has been around for a looooong time) but the essence remains fairly constant: trying to cultivate a mindful awareness.
With that in mind here is a simple three-step place to start:
1. Find somewhere to meditate. Ideally somewhere away from others, like the foot of a tree or the loo.
2. Sit upright and focus your attention on the area of your face where your breath comes in and out of your nostrils. Count: the first breath is "one, one" all the way up to "ten, ten", then start back at one. The counting itself is not meditating, but is a useful aid when starting.
3. When you get distracted, which you will as your mind is most likely very crafty in getting your attention, go back to step 2 and start counting from one again.
So how long should I do this for? The short answer is any meditation is better than none. Aim for 5-10 minutes if you can. Some days might be less, some more.
A study of participants over an 8 week period who showed amazing improvements in brain functioning and their immune system meditated for an average of 23 minutes per day. Something to work towards!
Ciao for now,
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