Meditation helps reduce stress, pain

Courier Post Online: Research has shown that 10 minutes spent in meditation once or twice a day “will make a huge difference in all aspects of your life — in your relationships, your memory, your creativity and your health,” says Jane Fox, a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker at Temenos in Moorestown. It’s good for reducing stress and anxiety, she says. It’s also useful for dealing with chronic pain. Read more here.

Some have told Fox it’s more relaxing than sleep.

She teaches people how to practice mindfulness meditation during a six-week course offered through the psychotherapy center. (The next session begins this spring.) It is simple to express and teach; the hard part is remembering to do it.

“People need to figure out how to integrate it into their lives,” says Fox.

The practice can be done while sitting in a chair or cross-legged on a pillow, or just sitting in a car. You can focus on breathing or on your own body, or on something external like a candle. The idea is to be still and aware of the present moment. Ideally, it should be done for 45 minutes a day, but shorter stints are also beneficial.

There is no right or wrong way to do it, Fox says. The mind constantly wanders, she said, and that’s just part of the deal. Like a glass of water dipped from a river, the longer the mind sits still, the clearer it will get.

However, it is important to do meditate with gentleness and loving kindness, says Fox. Meditation isn’t about fixing yourself or transforming yourself into something you aren’t. It’s about coming home to our real selves.

Mindfulness can be done, even in the midst of crisis, pain, fear or aggression. Though that’s when it’s hardest to do, Fox says, it’s also when it is needed the most.

“The present moment is the only place we can experience life and love,” says Fox. “If we’re religious or spiritual, it’s the only place we experience God.”

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