Meditation is a practice that involves focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity to achieve a mental clarity and emotionally calm state. It has been used for thousands of years in various spiritual and religious traditions and has more recently been studied for its potential benefits in physical and mental health. Research has shown that meditation can reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression, improve focus and concentration, quality of sleep, decrease pain and improve overall well-being. Additionally, it has been found to have positive effects on blood pressure, heart rate, and immune function.
One of the ways meditation help with mental health is by changing the activity levels in certain areas of the brain. Studies have shown that regular meditation can increase activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is associated with attention and emotional regulation, while decreasing activity in the amygdala, which is associated with stress and fear.
Starting a meditation practice can be easy, here are a few steps to get you started:
- Find a quiet and comfortable place to sit or lie down. You can sit on the floor or lie in your bed.
- Set a timer for the amount of time you want to meditate. You can start with 5 minutes.
- Close your eyes and focus on your breath. You can count each inhale and exhale, or simply observe the sensation of breathing.
- Try to keep your mind focused on your breath. If you notice your mind wandering, gently bring it back to your breath.
- When the timer goes off, take a moment to notice how you feel before getting up and continuing with your day.
You can also try different techniques, such as guided meditation, which is a meditation where an expert guides you through the process, or try different apps that offer a variety of guided meditations.
It’s important to remember that meditation is a practice and it takes time to develop. It’s common for the mind to wander, especially in the beginning, and that’s okay. The more you practice, the more you will be able to stay focused and bring your mind back when it wanders.
Finally, be patient with yourself, meditation is a skill that takes time and practice to develop, don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results.
Meditation can be a valuable addition to a treatment plan for mental health issues, and it’s important to find a technique that works best for you, and to practice it regularly. It is important to note that meditation should not be considered as a replacement for medical treatment or professional care. People with a history of mental health issues should talk to a healthcare professional before starting a meditation practice.
About The Author
Dr. Coco is a highly-educated and well-qualified primary care physician who graduated from the University of the Philippines Baguio with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center. She completed her three-year residency training in Family Medicine at Brokenshire Medical Center. She passed her diplomate exams in Family Medicine, given by the Philippine Academy of Family Physicians in 2018.
Dr. Coco is dedicated to providing comprehensive and holistic care for her patients. She is a primary care physician who believes in delivering continuing comprehensive health care for all. To her, patients are not just a number as she takes time to analyse how she can improve their overall health every chance they can get.