Once known as spiritual discipline practiced in Eastern cultures, meditation has now found itself in the mainstream, with many touting its health benefits.
“Meditation is becoming much more widely accepted,” says Di Billick, who teaches meditation classes at East Wind Studios in Chesterton. “People seem to be more interested in alternative ways to deal with stress and health issues, and meditating regularly can help these issues.”
While meditation may seem time-consuming or complicated, Billick says it’s anything but. Meditating just 15 minutes a day can dramatically drop stress levels, she says.
“Blood pressure levels can decrease once stress is lowered and anxiety can disappear completely, which also may help reduce anxiety-related disorders,” she says.
Beginners often face the biggest challenge of learning how to relax and letting go of self-judgment. Classes like Billick’s offer beginners a place to leave their worries and hectic lives at the door.
Here are some tips on how to get started in practicing meditation.
- Find at least 15 minutes of free time and go to a calm and quiet place. Remove any distractions, such as your phone and computer.
- Get comfortable. The National Institutes of Health says meditation can be done in any position, including sitting, lying down or even walking.
- Begin to focus. Let your mind and body settle and begin to focus on something, whether it’s your breathing, an image or a word.
- Stay focused. It’s inevitable that your mind will wander. Bring it back to the item you picked to focus on, and don’t get frustrated if keeping your mind focused on that one item is difficult.
- Close out your meditation. Slowly allow your thoughts to return to your day, and repeat as needed.