MEDITATE TO RELAX THE BODY
Before diving into this week’s topic, I want to take some time to provide some definitions and answer some questions to ensure that we are all on the same page. Meditation: thinking deeply or focusing one's mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation Mindfulness: the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one's thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis
WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT MEDITATION? Because it has a direct connection to health benefits such as lower blood pressure, improved blood circulation, lower heart rate, less perspiration, slower respiratory rate, less anxiety, lower blood cortisol levels, more feelings of well-being, less stress and deeper relaxation.
WHO SHOULD MEDITATE? EVERYONE! You don’t have to have some enlightened, spiritual abilities to practice meditation. You don’t have to be a yogi and go around saying namaste to everyone. You don’t have to know someone within the meditation community to be invited into it. Literally anyone from toddlers to elders can do and benefit from meditation.
WHERE SHOULD I START? Take your time in trying out all different types of meditation and mindfulness activities to figure out what suites you best (resources provided below). After more and more time is spent meditating you will become more and more comfortable with the idea of being still and focusing your attention to your breath.
Quick Practice: Let’s Give It A Go! 1. Find a quiet space 2. Sit or lie down and get comfortable 3. Close your eyes 4. Breathe natural. Make no effort to control your breathing 5. Focus your attention on your breath. Observe your bodies movements with your breath. Focus your attention on your breath, remembering not to control it and allowing it to flow in and out naturally. When your mind wanders, that’s okay, just thank your thoughts and return your focus back to your breath. a. Start with doing this for a few minutes, and then add one more time as your practice progresses.
RESOURCES: Books: The Mindful Twenty-Something Wherever You Go There You Are How to Walk, How to Sit, How to Eat, Reconciliation Coming to Our Senses Real Happiness Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness Mindfulness Self-Compassion Online: KORU Mindfulness UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley Wildmind Meditation Oasis YouTube: Jon Kabat-Zinn Pema Chodran Sharon SalzBurg Tara Brach Apps: Koru Mindfulness Insight Timer-Meditation Timer Mindfulness Calm Headspace
relax verb re·lax | \ ri-ˈlaks \ relaxed; relaxing; relaxes DEFINITION OF RELAX transitive verb 1: to make less tense or rigid : SLACKENrelaxed his grip 2: to make less severe or stringent : MODIFYrelax immigration laws 3: to deprive of energy, zeal, or strength of purpose 4: to relieve from nervous tension
If you are having difficulties relaxing certain muscles and find yourself tensing, try clenching your muscles tightly as you breathe in, and then releasing all the tension and relaxing as your breathe out. Try it out now: Guided Meditation – Blissful Deep Relaxation – Listen here Compassionate Body Scan – Listen here
Written by: Shannon Gonter, LPCC
I specialize in working with men and young adults. I am passionate about my career and want to work with you to create positive change. I also strive to create a counseling environment where men and young adults can relate, feel heard, and find new solutions to their negative patterns. Some issues that I most commonly work with are stress, relationship issues, difficulty saying “no” to others, difficulties recognizing emotions and emotionally connecting to others, anger, and intimacy issues, among others.
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