Many people think of Eastern religions when they think of meditation, and too often those who know little about meditation are greatly confused by what it really is and what it really does. We may hear how meditation is good for our well-being, but we fail to find a simple “how to” manual when we decide to incorporate it into our lives. The fact is, most people make meditation much more complicated than it needs to be. To meditate is to simply eliminate excessive thought, enter awareness and narrow our focus. Once thought of as an enhancement only to our spiritual being, medical research is also now touting the physical benefits of regular meditation. Doctors nowadays often advise the use of meditation as a way to reduce stress and fatigue, and studies have shown that it may provide positive benefits to the circulatory and respiratory systems. Since stress is linked to life-threatening disease such as diabetes, stroke and heart disease, it seems practical to make daily meditation a part of preventative medicine along with proper nutrition and regular exercise. While there is no one right way to meditate, it is the general consensus that one must do it consistently to achieve optimum wellness. Here’s a simple way to get started. Set aside 15 minutes of uninterrupted time, change into comfortable clothing and sit in an upright and relaxed position. Close your eyes and breathe consciously: in for a count of 4, hold for 2, and out for another count of 4. Concentrate only on the breaths you take, focusing solely on the air filling your lungs…and then leaving your body. As random thoughts enter your mind, acknowledge and release them, returning to your breath meditation. After just 15 minutes of this, you’ll be on your way to less stress and better health. Additionally, this same process can be used to enhance your mental and spiritual health. Simply by consistently releasing stressful thoughts and sitting quietly, you will clear your mind, strengthen your focus and get better connected with your spiritual core. Regular meditation can also help you to adopt a whole new way of thinking. For example, if you are typically in the habit of dwelling in negative thoughts, you can use your meditation sessions to begin changing that pattern to automatically become more positive. Try reciting empowering phrases (affirmations) like the following to yourself once you feel completely relaxed physically: “I always expect the best. Great things always happen to me. I am usually very lucky. I love myself and take good care of myself. I am a good person. I get along well with others.” Basically, you can include any type of positive message you want to sink into your subconscious mind. Because you will be very relaxed physically and mentally during and after a meditation session, it’s the perfect time to absorb some positive new messages because your subconscious mind will be less resistant to them. Likewise, you can do the same thing with spiritually empowering messages, like: “I am never alone. I am guided and supported by a loving universe. I am surrounded and protected by angels.” Even if you don’t initially believe these statements, consistent repetition will begin to change that! Keep working on it and before long you’ll find yourself feeling calmer, more centered and balanced from within.

Wellness Affirmation:

I am centered and peaceful in body, mind and spirit.

I enjoy caring for all aspects of my well-being.

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