As an important Zen master once said,
“Quiet the mind, and the soul will speak.”
As discovered by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 8% of adults in the United States – 18 million people – practice meditation each year. With meditation, a person learns to focus their attention on an object, thought, or activity to reach a certain emotional state. A variety of benefits have been linked to the practice of meditation, including: reduced stress, improved concentration, increased self-awareness, increased happiness and acceptance, improved cardiovascular and immune health, and more. Perhaps you’ve sought to reap these benefits for your own mental health but have found difficulty in following through with various meditation practices. “How do people sit still?” you may ask yourself.
The truth is, it can be challenging to sit still for extended periods of time with meditation if you’re new to the practice. Don’t attempt to achieve the length of time that Zen masters employ – 45 minutes to an hour of meditation is bound to make any beginner uncomfortable. When it comes to meditation, it’s best for you to start small – try 5 minutes, then 10, then 15 – as you become more comfortable with sitting, you will be able to take on longer periods of time. You may even wish to try some meditation practices that don’t involve sitting, such as:
- Eating meditation – practice with a small food item, such as a grape. Before you eat the grape, recognize its color, shape, size, and texture. Imagine the process that it went through to get to your plate – it had to be grown, picked, transported, packaged, and picked up by you at the store or market to be eaten. Pick up the grape and begin eating it. Notice it’s taste, the sound it makes as you crunch into it – this form of meditation really slows and simplifies a daily process that we often forget to appreciate – eating.
Walking meditation – with this form of meditation, you can go to a park or simply walk around your neighborhood – find a relatively quiet area to focus. Take very small, focused steps and feel your body work as you move with each step. Do you feel a breeze while you’re walking? How does it feel as your leg moves, and your heel touches the ground, followed by the base of your foot?
Sensory meditation – this may involve sitting, but it nonetheless will have you focused on your surroundings. Select one or several of your senses and recognize what’s around you. What do you see? Explore the vibrant beauty of the colors that create your world. What do you smell? Using your senses, appreciate your present reality.
Therapy is a primary component of treatment for rehabilitation from a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder. Attending treatment with certified clinicians and counselors is critical for a full recovery. At one of New Vista Behavioral Health’s treatment providers, you are receiving exceptional care, held to a higher standard. Our programs result in better outcomes, ensuring a better recovery. For information call us today: 888-316-3665.