Mind exercise: good for the body and soul
Posted July 30, 2010 by Katie
There’s a lot to say for the power of silence—especially when it may be good for your health. Lately, more is being said about the benefits of the silent practice of meditation.
Meditation has become more mainstream with many research studies showing its positive effects on the health of the mind and body. Research done through the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester has shown significant positive results for meditation, including reduced symptoms for many types of chronic pain conditions, anxiety and depression, psoriasis and cancer—improving quality of life.
Many types of meditation
There are many different forms of meditation, but most practices are performed in a quiet location with attention focused on either an image, a sound (mantra) or breath.
Mindfulness meditation, the form of meditation that the UMass center teaches, is the practice of paying attention to what’s happening right now—in the mind, in the body and in our environment—without passing judgment.
Mindfulness can be practiced in many ways, including lying down, sitting in a chair, walking and through gentle yoga.
Thinking of giving it a try?
- Decide what type of meditation might best suit you (walking meditation, mindfulness, mantra meditation)
- Start slowly—like 5 minutes before bedtime—and make it a daily habit.
- Seek out a teacher or group to learn from.
- Don’t worry if you have trouble easing your mind. Our minds are naturally active. In meditation, imagine your thoughts like monkeys, swinging from branch to branch.
Not sure you’re doing it “right”? As long as you’re not settling on any one thought, you are meditating.