Using Meditation to Enhance Your Health
Meditation has been used to relieve stress and to attain peace and tranquility. It may also help relieve the symptoms of some medical conditions.
You may be working outside the home, raising a family or earning your degree. Or you may have medical, relationship or financial problems. Whatever the situation, the stress of your everyday life can affect your health.
Some people turn to meditation for these reasons. Meditation is a technique for focusing your attention and letting all other thoughts go. While meditating, your stream of thoughts may slow down. This helps some people manage stress and maybe some physical symptoms, too. Still others enjoy it as a spiritual activity or practice it as part of their religion.
Meditation is believed to provide relaxation, serenity and psychological balance for those who practice it. Known by Buddhists as “Samadhi,” this meditative state involves being both highly alert and deeply relaxed. Many people use it to enhance their sense of well-being.
Others turn to meditation to help deal with symptoms of various health conditions, including:
- Substance abuse
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Meditation should never be used alone as a treatment for any medical condition without first talking to your doctor.
How it’s done
Meditation involves focusing your attention on a word (often called a mantra), an object or your own breathing. Some people may move through yoga or Tai chi moves.
Most styles of meditation require you to:
- Find a quiet location. If you are a beginner, this will help prevent outside distractions. As you advance, you may be able to meditate in more public places.
- Assume a comfortable posture. Depending on the style of meditation you practice, you may sit, lie down, stand or even walk while meditating.
- Focus your attention. You’ll focus on a mantra, an object or your breathing, depending on the type of meditation you choose.
- Have an open mind. Let thoughts come and go without letting them distract you. Instead of suppressing these thoughts, bring your attention back to your mantra or other focal point.
Meditation is considered safe, but you’ll need to take precautions. It could possibly make your symptoms worse if you have a psychiatric disorder, such as depression or schizophrenia.
- Let your doctor know you meditate. This will ensure coordinated and safe medical care.
- Don’t use meditation in place of medical care. Talk to your doctor first if you have a medical problem.
- Find a qualified teacher. Don’t rely on books to show you how to meditate.
- Look for published studies. Try to find research on meditation related to your health condition.