The positive power of meditation has made the news once again. Research from Carnegie Mellon University states that practicing mindfulness meditation for 25 minutes per session for three consecutive days can alleviate psychological stress. An analysis of previous studies compiled earlier this year showed this type of meditation—which involves paying attention to your surroundings while concentrating on your breathing—to be “moderately” effective in battling depression, anxiety and pain.
“One of the most important benefits of mindfulness meditation is the ability for us to more fully live our lives,” states Janice L. Marturano, executive director of the Institute For Mindful Leadership and the author of "Finding the Space to Lead: A Practical Guide to Mindful Leadership." “We become more skillful at noticing those times when we aren't present for our lives, and, more importantly, we know that we are able to redirect our distracted mind.”
And if you’re assuming that the act of meditating means needing to clear your mind of every worry, every judgment and every item on your to-do list, think again. “It’s not necessarily about quieting the mind, because the nature of the mind is to think, analyze and compartmentalize,” states Ashley Turner, a California-based yoga and meditation teacher. “It’s normal for our minds to be overactive, so because you’re thinking and taking in the sounds around you doesn't mean that you’re doing meditation wrong. It actually means you’re doing it right! The goal is to create more focus.”
Here’s some more soothing news—chanting for hours on end is not required, either. Turner advises to start small, at just five minutes a day, and add one minute per week until you reach a time that fits best with your lifestyle. “It is better to meditate for a short time each day than it is to meditate for an hour on Saturday,” adds Marturano. (MORE)