Thursday, August 1, 2013

3 Meditation Techniques for Beginners

Find your focus. These exercises work for just about everyone at anytime, anywhere



Gold stars to those who can make it through this article without wondering about dinner or unattended emails, mindlessly scrolling through Instagram or scanning half a page before realizing you have no idea what the heck you just read.

Amit Sood, author of the upcoming book "The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living," calls this autopilot daze, in which we're physically here, but mentally elsewhere – our "default mode." And it's not a great place to be. We spend about half of our day in default mode, in which we're typically unhappy, he says, adding that too much time in this mode can lead to increased risk of depression, anxiety and attention deficit.

Our brain's counter to default mode is its focus mode. Imagine if, as you were reading, a giraffe walked up to you. Chances are, you'd stop reading and thinking about emails, dinner and Instagram, and focus entirely on the giraffe. A perhaps more realistic example: You're driving home from work, thinking about who knows what, when a police car pulls up behind you. Even if you're obeying the law, your attention may now shift to the rearview mirror and speedometer, as recollections of the workday are replaced with silent urges for the police car to change course.

We may not want a police car (or a giraffe) following us, but it is helpful to engage that focused attention these experiences beckon. Meditation is essentially the process of doing just that – cutting through our brain's static and finding focus. The practice not only offers a slew of health benefits, from stress management, to possibly helping with high blood pressure, heart disease and depression, but it's also something you can weave into your everyday life. If you simply want to give it a try, there's no need for a trip to the doctor's office or a monastery. "Meditation is nothing mystical," Sood says. "It's basically your trained attention." (MORE)

Source US News Health

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