Despite its popularity, not everyone truly knows what meditation is. Meditation is a state of thoughtless awareness. It is a state of consciousness, when the mind is free of scattered thoughts. This does not mean that we have to “stop our minds”, but rather to be present in the moment with our surrounding and ourselves.
Scientific Benefits of Meditation
- Stimulates crucial parts of the brain which results in improved immune function
- Decreases inflammation in the body
- Decreases depression and anxiety
- Reduces stress
- Improves attention and focus
- Improves sleep
- Weight loss
- Reduces risk of Alzheimer’s
- Reduces blood pressure
- Betters hear rate and respiration rate
Evidence suggests that our thoughts and moods are transmitted to our immune cells. That is why, it is crucial for those suffering with an autoimmune disease (or any illness really), to minimize stress, and cultivate positive thoughts and emotions in order to heal. One way we can achieve this is by meditation.
10 Easy Tips to help you start a daily meditation practice
- Find a quiet space: you can meditate anywhere, but at the beginning; aim to find a place and time when no one will interrupt you.
- Meditate at the same time every day, preferably in the morning on an empty stomach
- Sit tall and comfortably on the floor or a chair
- Start small: begin with 2 minutes and increment time each week until you build up to 30 minutes (or more) at a time.
- Focus on your breath. You can count them or just focus on the feeling of each inhale and exhale
- Use objects such as a candle to help you stay present. Take your attention to the candle flame and breath normally (this particularly helped me when I began meditating)
- Come back when you wander: It is ok for your mind to wonder. When this occurs, do not resist your thoughts and just bring back your awareness to the present; to your breath, the sounds around you, etc.
- Use a timer or a soft alarm
- Follow a guided meditation for the first weeks if need be
- Most importantly, enjoy it and smile! Just being able to sit quietly and breath for a few minutes makes a huge difference.