Can meditation and mindfulness practices reduce stress?


Mental Health Monday: Mindful Meditation

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Recent research shows that more Americans are meditating – and that’s a good thing, experts say.

Meditation is known to lower blood pressure as well as symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, according to studies evaluated by the National Institutes of Health. It can also relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression and may help people with insomnia.

There are many types of meditation techniques according to the NIH. Most have these four elements in common:

  1. A quiet location with as few distractions as possible.
  2. A specific, comfortable position such as sitting or lying down.
  3. A point of interest. A specially chosen word or sequence of words. An object or a breathing pattern can also be a point of interest.
  4. And an open attitude. Let distractions and thoughts come and go naturally.

Art of Living is an international organization dedicated to helping millions of people relieve stress and anxiety through breathwork and meditation. Here the process of meditation is explained.

Mindfulness is another technique that can help you focus. University of Miami associate professor Amishi Jha explains it best in her video from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

She likens the ghost to an MP3 player. “Our minds are very good at time travel,” she said. “We can put the button on fast forward and think about the future, and we can rewind and think back to past experiences and even ruminate on those experiences.

Mindfulness keeps that button in play, Jha said, “so we’re fully present and aware in the present moment.” The Mayo Clinic has advice on mindfulness exercises here.

There are several paid and free apps for meditation and mindfulness. “Calm” offers guided and unguided meditation programs for $70 a year.

“Insight Timer” and “UCLA Mindful” are free apps. UCLA Mindful was developed by the Mindful Awareness Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The New York Times evaluated several apps and chose “Healthy Minds Program” as the best free app.

If you are interested in learning and participating in a personal meditation session, The Art of Living foundation will host a group meditation event with Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of SKY breath meditation on May 19 at the Irving Convention Center from 7:00 am o’clock until 9 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online.

Can meditation and mindfulness practices reduce stress?

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