Meditation brings me instantly to my personal center from where I can focus on anything I want, from troublesome problems to happy events. I want to ward off the bad feelings and embrace and internalize the good. Medication is an art to be sure that one has to learn to practice so you can enter “the zone” faster each time. You recite your mantra, whatever it might be, to the point where you practically hypnotize yourself into a peaceful, calm state. It feels euphoric and if you have been experiencing any stress or anxiety, it brings instant relief.

You can learn to go deeper into your relaxed state with various techniques. I like the image of descending a ladder so that with each rung going down, you are more and more focused. You can also use numbers. You can count to ten backwards such that when you arrive at one, you are deep into your desired state. When here, you can make suggestions to yourself that will improve your mood and therefore your life.

Meditation isn’t for everyone, but I say it is for most. Everyone can benefit from controlling and directing negative emotions. You can learn to evoke positive ones with little mini sessions in which a few recitations of your mantra take immediate effect. This is an advanced application that works for me when I am stressed, as before giving a speech, in the doctor’s office, or on an interview. You can sit and close your eyes wherever you are and put yourself in a better frame of mind.

Because it is so effective, I meditate quite often: at least once a day. My family understands this need for quiet escape and avoids bothering me at such times. You could definitely say that they are supportive. Some of my friends experience mocking and derision and I am lucky that it is not the case for me. In fact, my family is so with me about my meditation that they gave me a great pair of bike shorts as a gift for my birthday so I could be comfortable and stylish while journeying along the path of self-discovery. Because I am into guided imagery, I use the analogy of a bicycle that is carrying me into the distance which I set as a mental goal or target. I see myself in my new shorts gliding along peacefully and easily as I relax and unwind. Wearing them helps re-enforce the road imagery and brings me to my destination faster. The more you meditate, the quicker you arrive at your desired level of depth.

I think my life would be vastly different if I did not meditate. Discovering this ancient art changed my life forever. Therapists use it in conjunction with hypnosis to help people conquer bad habits and negative thinking. It is something of great value to be praised. I enjoy meditating with close friends as we seem to great a kind of synergy together. Open yourself to a really great experience.

Meditation is inspiration in principal and the best way to get in touch with your inner self. Our lives are hectic and busy and most people do not take the time to pause to reflect. They often don’t know the meaning of the word. There are emails, texts, and other extraneous matters that dominate life. Meditation is not something you jump into blindly, but it is a learned process that takes concentration and some know how. It is best if you have a mentor or guide to get you started and on the right track. You usually have an image or a mantra that you repeat to get you into the target zone. You must discard thoughts that interfere with your ability to relax and go deeper into yourself. Once you are in the right frame of mind, you can make suggestions to yourself to alter your mood and behavior. There is nothing like it to calm the nerves, enhance creativity and reach new mental heights.

You can meditate most anywhere it is quiet and conducive to the process. One place I enjoy meditating is at the beach. I can always find a secluded spot near a view of the water which is a wonderful atmosphere to select. It is best if there are not throngs of people around so I like to do it in the early morning or even the late afternoon after the beach clears. I take my favorite jumbo size beach towel and a beach umbrella to keep me sheltered from the sun so I don’t get burned while I am in the throngs of meditation.

Some people like to read, some prefer to take long walks along the shore, and some explore the rocks and reefs. For me, it is meditation. Sure, I do it daily in many different places such as my special den at home. I can pull the drapes and darken the room to set the mood. It is different at the beach given the sunny environment. It gives the meditation a different result. It is no less effective or pleasurable, just different. There are times of the day when the sky is captivating and you want to soak it all in before you close your eyes and become self-absorbed. The umbrella sometimes blocks the sky and I have to reposition it this way and that so I have a glimpse of heaven. I am lucky that I live near a beach so I can make the trek as often as I want when I need the special mood that the shore enhances. Meditation is very personal and you have to find what works for you. Maybe it is under a tall tree in the park, by the duck pond down the street, or at a friend’s house s you can meditate together. No, it doesn’t always have to be done alone. People have been known to enjoy it in groups and receive particular inspiration this way.

Vision for a person involved in guided imagery is somewhat metaphoric. After all, words are what help create the visual scenarios for someone undergoing such meditative treatment. It is the imagination that makes the words come alive. It is the skill of the person guiding the imagery that makes the process viable and worthwhile. I remember one of my favorite sessions. The therapist or person directing me to enter another realm started out with soft-spoken descriptions of a beautiful garden complete with leafy green trees, beds of coordinated flowers, and fountains spouting gentle water sprays. There were vast expanses of lawns upon which birds alit in pretty patterns. The success of a guided imagery tour is in its ability to captivate the listener and to hit something within that resonates with strength and power.

So vision is part of my life in more ways than one. No wonder I rushed off to the eye doctor the minute I felt that it was failing me. My usual clarity wasn’t there and no doubt I need a new pair of glasses with a stronger prescription. I told the doctor I am having trouble reading even large street signs. Forget the small ones; they are impossible. I feel like I could use a magnifying glass.

I made an appointment for a complete eye exam and was surprised upon arrival that the doctor pulled out a pocket Snellen eye chart. You know the standard chart with rows of letters, each row getting progressively smaller. No more of those charts posted on the wall that you can re-read before the doctor asks you to. Who hasn’t cheated at least one time before? It seems that the pocket size is practical an easy to use in a flash for a preliminary assessment. For a major one, you have to sit in front of the professional lenses and tell the doctor which version of what he is showing you works best. It takes a lot of time. Hence the quick pocket version that started off the appointment just so the doctor could see what was initially wrong.

My sight had indeed changed and I was growing more nearsighted. I was given a new prescription to take to the optician. Two weeks later I was wearing the new pair. I was ecstatic as I exclaimed, “I can see clearly now!” Something as basic as upgraded lenses can make such a big difference in your life. I also enjoyed selecting a more attractive pair that suited my face and enhanced my features. I had the old glasses so long that I had completely forgotten about this important facet of fitting eyeglasses. If you look like a schoolmarm, you have not made a good choice. If you look like Marion, the librarian, you have aged yourself by years. If you look modern, you may have hit the right mark. Glasses are very much in vogue and there is no stigma to wearing them. Plus, contacts are uncomfortable and expensive.

When you travel, you don’t always expect to encounter the conveniences of home. That is simply asking too much of the experience. You can take some with you, however, like a portable humidifier. I kid you not. Along with your toothbrush, travel iron, blow dryer, and electric shaver, you can control your hotel room air in a flash. Anyone who has been uncomfortable in certain climates will appreciate making room for this appliance. It is one item I always pack.

Traveling can be a challenge at times, with long hours on the road and less than pleasant nutrition. You put up with adversity when there is no choice. If you can take action, why not do yourself a big favor. If you want to at least control overly dry air, a humidifier is a must have on your journey.

You may be like me and suffer from super dry skin in the desert, for example. When you feel itchy and irritated all over, it is time to turn the unit on. No one wants to be peeling and red while traveling. In addition, my breathing can be labored in dry heat. I like to meditate on the road, as I do at home, and it isn’t always easy.

I discovered portable humidifiers after a particularly difficult trip to the heart of Africa. After experiencing cracked lips and occasional nosebleeds, I knew it was time to enquire. A travel misting humidifier that fits into a small carrying case is available under fifty dollars. You can add comfort to most any space by reducing dryness in the air. It emits an ultra-fine vapor without soaking the unit or anything in the vicinity. The one I elected to purchase has a rotating nozzle that can be repositioned without having to move the appliance. It also has a dimmer know that controls the frequency of mist delivery. For example, on the high setting, I get more than five hours of powerful ultrasonic vapor. The system comes with a 16 ounce water bottle that more than does the job.

Don’t worry about maintenance. This kind of portable model has no filters or wicks. It, of course, also comes with an essential universal power adaptor that can be used most anywhere in the world that has 120-240V power. I like the nylon carrying case that doesn’t show the dirt and is easy to wipe down.

I think you get the picture. This is the perfect solution to air quality problems during the dry season as you travel. You can make room in your suitcase or backpack to accommodate the appliance. I simply do not go anywhere without mine. It is one of the best personal investments I have made. I would rather leave the travel iron at home if space is limited. I certainly don’t want to compromise my ability to relax and meditate. This is a great gift, by the way, for a fellow traveler. They probably would never think of getting one on their own. It is one of the best secrets of convenient travel that I know.

I usually write about guided imagery and meditation: the essential things that make for a wonderful, relaxed life experience. I don’t usually raise my ire by complaining about what I cannot control. I have to make an exception in this blog, as something is on my mind.

I ordered a new wine refrigerator recently online. I love wine and it is the perfect complement to rest and relaxation. It unwinds the body and the mind. So I read all the specs and reviews and was careful about which model and at what price. I got one that met my needs for 32 bottles, not too big or too small, complete with dual temperature control for both white and red wines. The cheaper ones can handle only one at a time. The modern design is compact and fits either under the counter or freestanding according to your kitchen layout. It all seemed easy enough.

I got the item a short week later, thinking that it was a good sign. Not so. I did love the bright LED display and the quality stainless steel structure. It had a glass door that allows you to see your inventory at a glance. Inside were removable shelves for easy cleaning and stocking. I chose wooden racks for a bit of an authentic feel. They were not stained so there would be no emanating odors to harm the wine’s taste.

I also loved the cooling system that is state of the art and the way the door frame was quite seamless. Great engineering here. The toe kick to open the unit was also masterful. So far so good I thought as I complemented myself on the good foresight. In front was a towel bar that complemented the décor—a nice added décor touch. I knew I will be able to adjust the temperature perfectly for my assortment of stored wines. Need I have asked for more?

What was not okay and seemed to be missing was any kind of insulation to make the unit quiet. I wanted one that purred, not roared. Having a noisy machine running during meditation time is not my idea of relaxation. The thing never stopped! In fact, it was anxiety producing to say the least. I had three possible choices: to put up with it, move it, or get a new one.

After fussing over these options for a time, I rejected moving it. I like to meditate in the open space near the dining room where the unit is housed and I wasn’t going to change my habit. Sure, I could put it in the kitchen, but why compromise? I certainly did not intend to put up with the noise for a second longer. I opted to call the manufacturer and got customer service in a flash. Why send it back, they cooed. I was thrilled and complied.

I got a different noise-free model by the same company in another week, and now am happy as a clam. I wrote them a glowing review and a letter of thanks. I was too quick to lose faith in humanity. I am now meditating on that subject.

Sleep is blissful. It is special in spite of the fact that we do it every night, like clockwork. It is a permanent, perennial part of everyone’s life. We know this because if it is disrupted, we feel less than our best. We can feel down right bad. Thus, along with diet and nutrition, enough sleep is a prerequisite for mental and physical good health. Even little naps now and then are very restorative.

It is a normal body function to fall and stay asleep. Illness, anxiety, depression, achiness, and other ailments will suppress it. They say that you can’t die from lack of sleep, but anyone who doesn’t get a regular eight hours, knows this might not be true. Even people in extreme pain will fall asleep at least for some time. It is important to find out the right duration for your needs and to stick to it. For some, however, regularity is a gift and not an assumption.

Our minds can control our sleep patterns even though they are physical in nature. That’s why getting tips for a restful sleep are so important. They can make the difference between success and failure: insomnia or sleep. Some of these are obvious such as dimming the lights, not eating before retiring, not texting and emailing right before bed using a brightly-lit screen, and not relying on medication. Sooner or later they take their toll and you are addicted.

Other tips are less well known. I know, for example, that people don’t pay attention to their mattresses and pillows. They make do with what they have fearing a big impending expenditure. They virtually never toss them out. The news here is to wake up and face the music. An old bed that sags and stays indented will mar your otherwise peaceful night. You may find that tossing and turning becomes your norm.

To combat bed fatigue, I recommend a buying a pregnancy pillow like these to cuddle in to while you sleep. It is like being wrapped in a cloud. If you select the right softness or hardness, this will be the ultimate finish. You don’t have to spend a bundle, if that is what is holding you back. On most every major holiday, and even minor ones, there is a sale. Once you adjust to sleeping with a pregnancy pillow, even if you’re not pregnant, you will wonder why you waited so long.

A new mattress is sort of a treat since buying a new one does not come around often. You have to start thinking about sleep in a practical way if you feel less than fully rested. You can follow all the tips and tricks in the book, but if you are short-changing yourself on the mattress front, you are bound for more disappointment. There are many manufacturers and it is a big subject for another blog. Suffice it to know that there are modern materials like memory foam that are begging for your attention. There is Tempur-Pedic, Sleep Number, Sealy, Serta, Sterns and Foster, all with a good reputation and shelf life. My final tip today is to check out the many guides on line to help select the best one.

Rare Conditions and the Power of Meditation

Power of Meditation

However, it isn’t just people with relatively common conditions like high blood pressure that can benefit from meditation. Many people with comparatively rare, chronic conditions have been able to benefit from meditation as well. The fact that meditation can help people with high blood pressure is particularly important, since such a wide swath of the population is going to be able to benefit from the practice.

However, many of the people who have suffered with rare, chronic conditions like psoriasis and fibromyalgia have struggled in order to find any treatments for their conditions. They may have suffered in silence, waiting for an effective treatment. Some doctors still insist that fibromyalgia is a purely psychosomatic condition, despite the evidence from blood tests. It’s a truly unfortunate situation, given the pain associated with fibromyalgia and the fact that patients will usually have it for their entire lives. In the meantime, however, these patients could at least take advantage of what meditation has to offer.

The fact that meditation is helpful for conditions like fibromyalgia and psoriasis seems somewhat counter-intuitive. Psoriasis primarily manifests itself as a skin condition, and fibromyalgia is a condition that involves severe muscle pain. However, people with both of those conditions have shown remarkable improvements as a result of adopting the practice of meditation. The unifying factor in this case is that both psoriasis and fibromyalgia are autoimmune disorders. The fact that meditation can be so instrumental in addressing these sorts of conditions indicates that it has a positive effect on a person’s immune function in general. Anything that can boost a person’s immune system, or perhaps help to regulate an immune system that has become too active, can have all sorts of wide-ranging benefits on that basis alone.

It is true that many scientists are still arguing over the exact causal relationship between meditation and many of these fantastic health benefits. Some scientists argue that these health benefits are simply extensions of the general psychological health benefits of meditation. They will point to the physical benefits that therapy can have for many people, arguing that the same principle will apply to meditation and its cluster of health benefits.

Other scientists will stress that the cultural distinction between the mind and body isn’t actually biological. People are their minds and their bodies, and their mental states will often affect their bodies directly. People can alter their mental states through the use of meditation, which is going to have an effect on their bodies one way or another. Meditation promotes mindfulness and stress reduction, and stress affects the body in so many adverse ways that reducing stress is already going to give people a whole host of health benefits.

The Very Real Medical Benefits of Practicing Meditation

Young woman meditating outdoors
Young woman meditating outdoors

Many people today are wary of all forms of alternative medicine, which is understandable. Many types of alternative medicine have absolutely no scientific evidence backing them up, and they will give people few reasons to really trust in them. There have been scandals in the world of alternative medicine as well, and some of these scandals may have made people a bit skittish with regards to trying some of the new medicinal treatments on the market today. What people should know is that there is absolutely nothing new about the art of meditation.

Medical science has repeatedly demonstrated that meditation can genuinely help people solve many of their underlying physical health problems. It is true that psychological problems are genuine health problems, given the lack of genuine separation between the mind and the body. However, people can solve many different physical problems directly thanks to the practice of meditation. There have been a number of people over the years who were suffering from severe high blood pressure who managed to turn everything around just because they managed to adopt the practice of meditation at the right time during their treatment.

People who have tried all sorts of different types of blood pressure medication in many cases were still able to achieve some rare success thanks to the practice of meditation. High blood pressure is a potentially serious condition, and the risk of developing high blood pressure will only increase as the patient in question gets older. The people with a family history of high blood pressure are going to be in a particularly bad position. People who lead very stressful lifestyles are going to face a particularly high risk of developing high blood pressure. They might want to consider the possibility of practicing meditation at one point or another.

The people who start meditation at a comparatively early age may actually be able to prevent problems with high blood pressure down the line as long as they are willing to commit to it thoroughly enough. Meditation is instrumental in taking care of the health problems that have already taken shape and the health problems that are already affecting people. Since prevention is worth even more than treatments ever can be, meditation becomes even more valuable.

Meditation Defined

meditation_sun

When many people think of meditation, they picture someone in a seated position who is making some sort of humming sound in a sustained manner. Indeed, that is how some forms of meditation will look from the outside. However, it is important to note that the majority of what meditation is will occur internally for the person who is engaged with it at the time. It makes sense that meditation is going to appear to be a fairly modest exercise from the outside. All of the interesting and groundbreaking stuff is going on inside of the heads of the practitioners, so it doesn’t translate very well to the physical or the visual world.

Meditation is all about directing one’s attention and one’s thoughts. The humming and the other vocal exercises that people will usually perform during their meditation practices will typically be devices that are used to help center the minds of the practitioners in question. The seated position that people will usually adopt during meditation allows people to focus entirely on their thoughts and their breathing, since their bodies will remain in that one relaxed position consistently.

Some of the other traits associated with meditation are going to relate to different religious or spiritual traditions. For instance, many Eastern religions or Eastern philosophies focus on the importance of being centered emotionally and mentally, the seated positions that people are supposed to adopt during meditation are supposed to encourage that particular state. Some secular people will adopt those positions anyway out of a sense of familiarity, and because the positions will work just as well one way or another.

During meditation, people will spend a lot of time focusing on their breath and their breathing patterns in general. This is also partly a matter of people trying to center themselves during the meditation process. Focusing on one’s breath direct’s one’s focus inward, which can make all the difference for the people who are used to focusing on what is going on around them at the exclusion of everything that is happening internally at each passing moment.

Many people try meditation in order to live in the moment and appreciate the present. The people who manage to accomplish that are automatically going to relieve themselves of a great deal of stress. Contemplating the future is exceedingly stressful. People will worry about what they should be doing now in order to ensure that they will experience anything resembling a favorable future.

Worrying about the past, in some ways, is even more stressful. People can’t do anything about the past. They have to live with the consequences of it every single day, and it’s something that they cannot control. Meditation pulls people out of the past, since they are going to be making an effort to avoid accessing their memories when they are engaged in meditation. Meditation pulls people out of the future that hasn’t happened yet as well, since it pulls people out of the parts of their brains that are always engaged in planning. Living in the present and being mindful of what is happening now is often the best way to truly relieve stress. The people who engage in meditation are partly learning how to truly exist in the present, and they are using a wide range of techniques in order to get to that point.

Even the people who are somewhat skeptical of the direct medical benefits of meditation will usually acknowledge that meditation can help people feel better psychologically. Many therapists will recommend meditation to their patients specifically. People with anxiety disorders in particular will usually be told that they should start practicing meditation if they’re interested in getting themselves back to a more restful state of mind. Meditation can already work wonders for the people without anxiety disorders, quieting their minds in the process. It stands to reason that it can work wonders for the people who have a particularly difficult time getting their minds to rest.

Anxiety disorders are fairly broad in terms of their implications and their exact symptoms. Post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder are both anxiety disorders. Some people actually have both of them at once, and some people have one or the other. The effects of both of these anxiety disorders are very different, and yet they both belong to the same category of psychological disorders. Meditation will be able to help the people who are suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder, and it will manage to help the people who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Meditation has also shown to be effective at treating depression. Depression and anxiety disorders often go hand in hand, but clinical depression and anxiety disorders are very different from a chemical perspective. It can be difficult for depressed people to motivate themselves to complete almost any task, since one of the symptoms of depression in the first place is the feeling of listlessness. While people can often feel better after aerobic exercise, even if they’re depressed, motivating oneself to complete aerobic exercise even during the throes of depression is challenging at best.

Meditation may not be easy, but it does have the advantage of being something that people can perform in a seated position while they are being quiet and motionless. Many of the people who are suffering from anxiety disorders will feel anxious under a wide variety of different circumstances, especially if they have anxiety that’s connected with their specific surroundings. People with depression will often have a difficult time motivating themselves to even get out of bed. Technically, people can meditate while they’re still in bed or before they even get out of their pajamas.

There is plenty of skill involved with meditation, but the skills that people will need are all emotional and they are all internal. Many people who have anxiety disorders and depression more or less need to learn how to modify their thought processes, whether they do it through medication or through therapy. Meditation can certainly help people modify their thought processes, which is why it has so many implications when it comes to treating the psychological conditions that have plagued society for the longest time.

A lot of the people who meditate do it for religious reasons, especially if they are affiliated with religions from the Far East. Meditation is a crucial component of many different branches of Buddhism, for one thing. Some branches of Buddhism contend that people need to be able to meditate in order to truly release themselves from suffering. The people who practice meditation for these reasons are certainly going to be able to get all of the physical and medical benefits of meditation in the process, but they will get an additional set of personal benefits as well.

However, many people today do not see meditation as a purely spiritual practice. Plenty of people who consider themselves secularists or even atheists will still practice meditation for the sake of the health and medical benefits. There is nothing inherently religious about meditation, even though it is a key component of many of the oldest and most widely-practiced faiths. People shouldn’t be scared away from meditation because they’re under the impression that they are going to have to convert to any faith in order to practice it for themselves.

Naturally, many of the people who do practice meditation tow the line between viewing it as a purely spiritual practice and viewing it in a more secular light. Some people consider themselves spiritual but not especially religious, and they may specifically try to awaken their spiritual sides as a result of their meditative practices. Meditation can create very powerful emotional experiences, so it is not surprising that many people can view meditation as spiritual in its own right, regardless of whether or not it is directly connected to any sort of established, organized religion.

Many people all around the world today are more or less pursuing their own, private brands of spirituality. While lots of people still belong to more organized faiths, it has become more socially acceptable to pursue one’s own unique path to a greater extent. Many spiritual people are trying to find activities or experiences that make them feel connected to forces that are larger than themselves. For these people, trying meditation is often the first step forward on their own unique personal journeys.

Meditation certainly provides a very unique emotional experience. Being able to separate oneself from the chaos of one’s normal thoughts can make all the difference in terms of one’s ability to perceive other things. Many people will believe that they are literally experiencing something on a higher plane of reality as a result. Other people may believe that they are becoming connected with a spirit world of some sort. Some individuals will turn their spiritual focus inward somewhat, believing that they are connecting with their own souls to a much greater extent than they otherwise would.

One way or another, the emotional contexts that meditation creates can be so powerful that they will literally feel ‘out of this world’ to many people. Some people will interpret this set of emotions in a more religious context, and other people are going to frame it in more secular terms. A given meditation session is going to ultimately reflect the person who is actually doing the meditating. People from all over the spectrum in terms of religiosity will all be able to benefit from meditation, so meditation will take on multiple forms.