oversee antabuse canada What is it?
Meditation really just means ‘calming the mind’. There are many forms of meditation, but a basic form is to be still and quiet and focus on your breathing. You might focus on the air as it enters and leaves your nostrils, or you might focus on your belly rising and falling. By focusing on the breath, your thoughts slow down and the body begins to relax. But meditation is more than just a temporary feeling of calm, it literally re-wires the brain! Check out this study of the effects of meditation on brain structure and function – using MRI scans https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4471247/ (1)
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Meditation has been around for thousands of years. The benefits of meditation (and similar mind-based techniques) include:
- Reduces stress
- Reduces anxiety
- Reduces depression
- Slows down aging
- Improves mood
- Improves concentration levels
- Improves immune system function
- Improves self-awareness
Often there is a lot of stress, anxiety and fear that accompanies living with a cancer diagnosis. I believe that meditation can significantly reduce stress and aid healing. In fact, meditation would be my number one recommendation for everyone (with or without cancer)!
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I usually meditate once a day, but sometimes I will do a second shorter meditation later in the day. I tend to do this while laying down (because I tend to faint if I sit still for too long due to the POTS). But it can be done sitting on a chair, on the floor or on the sofa.
I lie down, close my eyes and I do a progressive muscle relaxation. For each part of my body, starting with my head, I say to myself (not out loud) “feel the back of your head touching the pillow, really feel it, let the head relax into the pillow, allowing the pillow to take the full weight of the head, let it relax, sinking deeper and deeper”. I repeat this for the neck, shoulders, arms (both), back, bottom, upper legs (both), knees and lower legs (both), ankles and feet (both).
Then I focus on the breath. I like to see the breath enter my nose and fill up my belly, and then my belly relaxes and the breath leaves my nose. Or I visualise my heart breathing in and out. I do this for as long as feels right (usually about 25 minutes). Thoughts often pop into my head and I try to let them float away, without engaging with them or judging them or judging myself for having them.
Sometimes, after a few minutes of the initial breathing meditation, I do a different meditative exercise such as visualisation, talking to my body (or to the cancer) or connecting with my intuition. Or instead of the breathing meditation, I might do a guided mediation where I listen to someone else guide me.
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Meditation is free unless you want to purchase a guided meditation / relaxation / visualisation track to listen to (which is how I started). These usually cost between £5 and £10 – or you might be able to find some for free, such as via YouTube.
You might also consider joining a meditation course (some cost £10 – £50 per hour depending on the content and class size). Or you could join a meditation group, some are free, others are £5 – £15 per session. I haven’t personally tried any of these (yet).
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When I started, I found it difficult to meditate because I assumed I was supposed to have no thoughts! Once I realised that everyone has thoughts, I settled into meditation, and started to just let my thoughts float in and out. Now I find meditating easy and I feel better for doing it. The trick for me is to make time for it every day!
Reference (1) Boccia, M., Piccardi, L., & Guariglia, P. (2015). The Meditative Mind: A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis of MRI Studies. BioMed Research International, 2015, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4471247/