Spring Clean Your Mind
You can always tell how busy I am by looking at my room. If it’s cluttered, I’m busy… and it’s usually cluttered! The mind is no different. Have you ever heard the expression “Monkey Mind?” The first time I heard it was when I was learning to meditate. Monkey Mind refers to all the thoughts that jump around in your head when you’re trying to clear it for meditation. In other words, a busy mind is a cluttered mind.
Did you know that Integrative Acupuncture hosts a guided meditation every month? This month the focus is on “Spring Cleaning for Your Mind.” So, if you have a cluttered, excuse me, “busy” mind, read on about why we think meditation is so important.
You can meditate. Everyone can meditate. If you’ve tried, and you couldn’t turn off that “Monkey Mind,” you were still meditating. Everything you want to do well, including meditation, takes practice. When your mind is used to being busy, conscious, daily effort can help you to separate busy from mindful. Once you master mindfulness then you can focus your efforts on clearing your mind. Meditation can help you in many valuable ways.
The Benefits of Meditating:
1. Stress/Anxiety/Panic Reduction – Research concludes that mindfulness meditation may be effective to treat anxiety to a similar degree as antidepressant drug therapy. Doctors refer patients to mindfulness programs for anxiety, panic, job and family stress, and sleep disturbance.
2. Inner Transformation – meditation helps patients find an increased awareness and appreciation of their lives.
3. Pain Relief- in hospitals, businesses and communities around the country, meditation is being offered as a coping mechanism for physical pain and mental strain associated with many medical conditions.
4. Mood Improvement – studies have proven that following a mindfulness program reduces the likelihood of developing depression-like symptoms. Another study concluded that mindfulness meditation decreases ruminative thinking and dysfunctional beliefs.
5. Healing Powers – The body’s stress response, also known as “fight or flight,” is triggered more frequently than ever. A trigger that does us no physical harm now, activates what was originally intended to protect us. These triggers wreak havoc on our mind, causing physical effects to our body that can make us sick. Long-term effects can cause disease. The opposite of that reaction is what meditation triggers- the body’s relaxation response. By consistently practicing the relaxation response, the triggers that once caused dis-ease, can be avoided and even healed.
How to Meditate
Meditation ranges in practice from closing your eyes and clearing your mind, to keeping your eyes open and focusing on one object, such as a candle. Some people sit up, some lie down. Others prefer guided meditation, visualization, and music.
The time you want to devote to meditation is up to you. It can be as short as three to four minutes or up to hours at a time. They key to your success is consistency.
When to Meditate
Meditation is a very personal practice. You can meditate for an hour when you wake up or twenty minutes before you go to sleep. Five minutes in your car of breathing meditation, before a high-pressure event, can completely change your experience. The time and place is up to you, it’s just a matter of getting started.
If meditating is new to you, starting with guided meditation is a great way to go, because you are given a focus which helps lead you into a meditative state. Contact our office to join us for our next guided meditation.