Monday, April 15, 2013

Relax and Meditate

Have you heard of Happify? I was invited to test the beta version of Happify a few weeks ago. I am happy to say that it's pretty darn cool. I've been learning a lot on how to help increase your own happiness. Something they strongly believe in is the power of meditation. Here's a short article from the site:

"Studies [S-5] found that meditation actually alters the brain in ways that help you support a sunnier outlook, increase empathy and feel less stressed. 
You can practice too. Meditation is easy and inexpensive, and requires nothing but you and your mind. Here’s how:
• Focus your attention on your breath, on a sensation in your body, or on a word such as, “relax.”
• When thoughts, emotions, or background noises enter your mind, which they inevitably will, just take note of them, and get back to focusing on your breathing.
According to brain imaging studies, meditation can lower high blood pressure and lessen chronic pain, anxiety and depression. Brain imaging studies show that meditation actually alters regions of the brain associated with memory, self-awareness and compassion.[S-5] [S-6]
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison [S-6] found that even beginners were able to increase activity in the brain region associated with positive thoughts, although experienced meditators showed a greater level of activity.
Bottom line: the more you practice meditation, the more you benefit."

That sounds nice, right? I am going to start setting aside some time to meditate, starting this morning. I don't know about you, but I'm not very good at sitting still. If I sit still and just try to meditate, it's almost like an alarm goes off in my brain and I hear my own voice shouting, "Warning, warning... you can't take a break to just simply sit here! You must think of something to be productive. Maybe you can go over your grocery list, or remind yourself about the chicken you need to take out of the freezer to thaw, or that bill that needs to be paid!" My mind doesn't like to be quite, but I will start practicing if it means lower high blood pressure and lower anxiety levels!

Something else that helps lower high blood pressure and lower anxiety levels... looking at this picture of my puppy when he was a puppy last year:

Something else that helps is exercise. I will be doing a little of that today. I am scheduled for a mile run on the treadmill.

Do you meditate? How long do you typically mediate? Any tips for a newbie?

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