In the midst of your busy, fast-paced life, what if the best solution was to sit still? It may seem counterintuitive, but carving out some time for quiet contemplation might actually free up some brain space and help you feel more productive throughout the rest of the day. As the saying goes: “If you have time to meditate, sit for 30 minutes; if you don’t have time, sit for an hour.”
What Exactly is Meditation?
Meditation, also called imagery or visualization, refers to full concentration of the mind. The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices designed to control and discipline the mind so that it is not overrun with useless thoughts, fantasies, and fears. Many meditation techniques are designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy, and develop compassion, love, patience, generosity, and forgiveness.
Meditation has been shown to strengthen the immune system, improve memory and concentration, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, improve sleep, improve general well-being, and much more. In a nutshell, it provides a simple escape from the stress and anxiety of the outer world. In fact, it has even been shown to slow brain waves.
How to Meditate
There is no one right way to meditate. In fact, there are countless meditation techniques, some of which have been passed down through ancient traditions. You don’t need any special tools to meditate—all you need is to take the time to sit still and enter into the quiet space of the mind.
If you’re new to meditation, you may want to start by sitting quietly for five minutes and focusing on the breath. Some people like to count to 10 on each inhalation and each exhalation. And if you want some guidance, our resident expert, Ryan Redman, offers guided meditation and all levels yoga three times each week: