By Dan DeMuth, Personal Trainer
Achieving Mental and Physical Wellness Through Meditation
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness and promote the importance of mental health and well-being. One effective way to improve mental health is through the practice of meditation, which has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, while promoting overall emotional balance and well-being.
Meditation: to engage in mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness.
While meditation was originally a practice to help deepen the understanding of the sacred and mystical forces of life, in present day, the practice of meditation has become a way of life for many and has proven to provide countless positive impacts on people’s mental and physical health.
Meditation is especially beneficial in reducing stress and studies show that it can also reduce depression and anxiety, as well as help people manage chronic pain. Even five minutes a day of quiet meditation allows one to disconnect from their external environment, connect to their inner self and inner athlete and connect to their basic and inherent goodness. The simple act of focusing on one’s breath, and eliminating outside noise and thoughts and calming one’s nervous system can bring your body and mind into healthy alignment. Physically, mediation can lower one’s resting heart rate, lower resting blood pressure and can improve sleep quality. This can and will lead to increased physical capacity for success in performance activities, both mentally and physically.
Simple instructions for meditation: find a quiet place where you can sit upright comfortably. Set a timer for five minutes, and gently close your eyes and begin by simply taking a deep breath and slowly scanning your body and noticing any sensations. Be aware of any thoughts you are having and when your mind wanders, focus on your breath. With each breath, focus only on the inhale and then on the exhale, focus only on the exhale. When the five minutes is up, gently open your eyes.
Personally, I meditate daily. My mediation practice is greatly supportive to my overall mental and physical health. I am experienced in the ways of guided meditation, Buddhist meditation, loving kindness meditation and I welcome a conversation with anyone interested in incorporating meditation into their daily lives. If you’re not sure of where to start, try a guided meditation or a Yin/Nidra yoga class at Club Greenwood. Happy (positive) Mental Health Month!