Eating right and exercising are good for one’s overall physical health, and physicians often prescribe drugs to treat various ailments. But one of the best ways to care for your body as well as your mind doesn’t come from a store or an orange bottle.
Meditation has long been used as a method to calm and relax the body and soul, takes very little time and costs virtually nothing.
Marietta resident Catherine Bigley, a mom of five, finds herself meditating at various times throughout the day.
“It’s usually in a moment when I know something is coming at me,” she said. “I use it at stop lights when I know I have at least anywhere from 30 seconds to three minutes. And then I can deal with the kid in the back seat that just spilled something. It’s a grown-up timeout.”
Bigley also keeps busy as an owner of two businesses on Front St., S.W.A.G.G. and P.R.I.D.E. Dojo and Training Center, where she is a tai chi practitioner and offers classes. Bigley refers to the art of tai chi as “meditation in motion.”
“I think the word ‘meditation’ scares some people,” she said. “A lot of people get caught up in the ‘om’ sound. They think you have to change the way you dress and your religion.
“It really is just about getting your body to drop down a couple notches, calming and reducing your heart rate.”
Meditation can be practiced anywhere, according to Bigley, and the most basic technique is to take at least five deep, calming breaths.
“Five to 10 deep breaths will affect your heart rate, begin to slow it down, and when your heart rate responds, your nervous system will start to respond as well,” she said.
Miriam Keith, consumer support coordinator for the Washington County Mental Health and Addiction Recovery Board, recommends meditation for the psychological benefits.
“There are a lot of different names for meditation, but they all have four things in common: You need a quiet place, a comfortable position, something to focus on – a sound or a visual image – and poised awareness,” she said. “Poised awareness is when the amount of relaxation and alertness are perfectly balanced, and you can keep yourself from falling asleep.”
Meditation can be practiced most anywhere at anytime, however, Keith says some studies suggest the most benefit comes from 10- to 20-minute sessions, twice a day, usually morning and evening.
“Meditation has been shown to be really effective in decreasing mental illness,” she said. “It really does have a profound effect on the brain.”[via Marietta Times]