Meditation is widely known as a form of mental exercise that calms the mind and can have a variety of benefits. One of these benefits is the reduction of stress and depression, as found in studies on PTSD patients. However, it has also been shown to benefit the elderly. One study aimed at seniors attempted to evaluate the impact of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) training, a program similar to meditation, on the mood states of older adults. Following an eight-week MBSR training program, the participants’ depression and other mood measurements were found to have improved significantly.
If people who have gone through traumatic experiences, or simply suffer from depressive moods, can benefit from meditation, then think what meditation could do for the average Joe. Think of what it could do for you. This eastern tradition has been known to bring a sense of tranquility to all who take the time to practice it. Additionally, meditation doesn’t take much effort or time. Some say you can find clarity of mind and insight after performing simple breathing exercises for five minutes. Even in today’s busy world, everyone has five minutes to spare for meditation, and this simple how-to article will walk you through it.
This is a breathing exercise that can be used as a foundation for beginners. It is not fancy, it requires no solid technique, and it can be done in as little as five minutes. If you wish to further your “bliss,” find yourself a mantra or chant you wish to vocalize while breathing. Giving the mind a single point of concentration is sometimes easier than blanking it out.
- Find a comfortable place to sit where you will not be interrupted or aggravated by external stimuli (chatter of passerby, loud sounds, weather, etc.).
- Take a deep breath to clear your mind.
- Close your eyes and focus on your thoughts.
- Do not hold onto your thoughts. Allow them to slip by unnoticed, with as little detail as possible.
- Now the breathing exercise starts. Take a deep breath, inhaling for a count of five or more seconds, as long as you are comfortable.
- Hold your breath for the same amount of time that you inhaled, or try to. If you can’t hold it for the same amount of time, or if you feel uncomfortable, go onto the next step and consider inhaling for a shorter amount of time on your next breath.
- Exhale for the same amount of seconds that you used for your inhale and holding your breath.
- Wait for five or more seconds, or the number of seconds you have set for yourself.
- Repeat steps five through seven ten times.
- Take another deep breath, inhaling for as long as you can without causing discomfort. Then let it out.
Whenever you need some “me time,” find a place to sit down, perform the above breathing exercise, and find your moment of clarity, no matter which odds you’re facing.
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Staples, J. K., Abdel, A., Jamil, A., & Gordon, J. S. (2011). Mind-body skills groups for posttraumatic stress disorder and depression symptoms in Palestinian children and adolescents in Gaza. International Journal of Stress Management, 18, 246-262. doi: 10.1037/a0024015
Young, L. A., & Baime, M. J. (2010). Mindfulness-based stress reduction: Effect on emotional distress in other adults. Complementary Health Practice Review, 15, 59-64. doi: 10.1177/1533210110387687