CHAMPAIGN, IL – CHAMPAIGN–
Jolie Carston, Clinical Director with the Elliott Counseling Group joinds is for Motivational Monday.
What is meditation:
* Intentional focus to increase feelings of peace and decrease feelings of stress.
* Exercise for the brain to reduce atrophy and improve neurological functioning.
* Attention – intentionally focusing on something for even one minute is meditation.
* Concentration – intentionally focusing on a word, a phrase, an object, a sound, or an image.
* Awareness – intentionally focusing on the present moment as it comes without judgment.
What meditation is not:
* Not a relaxation technique: meditation can lead to relaxation, but it is not the goal.
* Not emptying the mind: meditation is developing awareness of thoughts.
* Not a goal to achieve: meditation is focusing on the present rather than the past or future.
Benefits of meditation:
* Reduce feelings of stress and increase feelings of mental preparedness.
* Decrease negative health issues:
o Irritable bowel syndrome
o Chronic pain
* Positive effects on brain:
o Increased gray-matter density in various areas of brain associated with learning, attention, concentration, memory, empathy, and self-reflection.
o Reduce or even reverse effects of aging on brain, such as mind-wandering and decreased senses.
o Decreased amygdala area – less anxiety, fear, and stress
Simple ways to practice meditation:
* Eating: try to sit alone and focus on enjoying your food with all of your senses and gratitude.
* Breath awareness: focus on breathing fully and deeply, from your belly rather than your chest.
* Body scan: focus on each part of your body, from your head to your feet, noticing any tension.
* Rainbow Walk: focus on things around you that match each color of the rainbow.
* Perspective: focus on at least one positive quality within each person you encounter for a day.