The roots of meditation can be traced as far back as the 3rd and 6th centuries, B.C. Chinese and Indian cultures practiced meditation, heeding it as a way to “train the mind” and “guard tranquility.” Today, meditation has been thoroughly researched as a highly effective coping mechanism for such mental health disorders as depression and anxiety. Those who practice meditation daily enjoy the relief of a relaxation response, which elicits the following benefits to the body’s nervous system:
- Reduced blood pressure
- Improved blood circulation
- Reduced heart & respiratory rate
- Reduced perspiration
- Reduced anxiety
- Lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol
- Heightened feelings of general wellbeing
However, while the physical benefits to the nervous system are impressive, ancient Buddhist philosophy leverages meditation for an entirely different set of benefits, namely the mental liberation from situations that we have no control over. Meditation makes a relaxed and calm mind possible. It enables us to live in the moment, without worry.
The practice of meditation is simple. It simply requires stillness and breathing. However, it does require patience, diligence and consistency. Here is a brief beginner’s guide to meditation:
- Sit or lie down in a comfortable place, and close your eyes.
- Bring your attention to your breathing. Breathe naturally at first, placing one hand on your stomach.
- Notice how your breath feels as it rises up and down with your body.
- Notice the movement of your body as you breathe. Notice your chest, rib cage, and belly expanding and contracting as you inhale and exhale.
- Keep breathing slowly, focusing just on your breath and nothing else. However, if your mind wanders, be patient with yourself. Accept and acknowledge your wandering mind, and then bring your attention back to your breath.
- Meditate for only 3-5 minutes at first. Then, extend your practice to 10 minutes as you get better at focusing on your breath.
- Notice how you feel after meditation. Is your body more relaxed? Do you feel less anxious?
Meditation is a great daily practice—anyone can reap the benefits of this tried-and-true mind-body practice. At Elev8 MD Wellness Center, our reiki master and massage therapist can help guide those interested in practicing meditation. However, for those who suffer from severe levels of depression or anxiety, professional help may also be needed. Talk therapy, antidepressants and ketamine infusions are just a few options for treating more severe cases of depression and anxiety. If a mental health issue is taking a negative toll on your day-to-day life, please contact your primary care or mental health physician to discuss your symptoms and needs.
Contact Elev8 MD Wellness Center
Elev8 MD Wellness Center offers a wide variety of treatments for those suffering from depression or anxiety. Our treatment options range from psychotherapy and ketamine infusions to reiki, acupuncture, massage and IV hydration therapy. Contact our Charlotte, NC wellness center today and let us know how we can meet your health and wellness needs.