What Meditation Can do for Your Mental Health

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Meditation is an interesting concept.

Reaching a calm spot in your mind can be hard, especially if life is busy. Your mind is racing with thoughts and slowing down can seem almost impossible.

There are meditation apps on both Apple and Android platforms, even on YouTube. It’s up to you. I prefer an app, Insight Timer. I like the selections- some are led by a person, some use music. I prefer the person.

I started meditating as part of running a group at a former job. I got really into the quiet time to gather my thoughts and just relax. Everyone knew that was my group. The patients also loved it- the group was usually packed.

I’ve gotten out of the habit and need to restart.

Less than five minutes can change your whole day.

Feeling Good All Over

Meditation can help your mind get into a better place, which can help the rest of your body.

How can you get to that place?

  • Find a comfortable space. I prefer sitting on my bed or couch, but this is entirely up to you. Some like sitting on a yoga mat on the floor as part of a yoga practice. It’s all about what makes you comfortable.
  • Quiet is a must. It is hard to meditate if there is a lot of noise in the room you are in, so try to find a good time/place to try this. It can be an almost impossibility with children, pets and/or other people, events, etc, but it’s possible.
  • Do you need a timer? Some do, some don’t. I’ve tried untimed and timed, and I prefer timed. Otherwise, my mind tends to wander off and it defeats the purpose.
  • It’s okay if your mind wanders. If you’ve never tried meditating before or you are coming back to it, your mind will tend to wander. It’s natural. It’s hard at first to let your mind just be. If you’re listening to meditation with words, it can be hard to listen to and connect to the meditation. This is why I suggest short ones at first. As you get deeper into practice, you can work up to longer ones, if you decide it is for you. Everyone has different needs and preferences.
  • Don’t force it. Meditation isn’t for everyone. If it isn’t for you, you will realize it.

Calm sky

Meditation can help you in the following ways:

  • concentration
  • relaxation- as you meditate, your breathing slows and deepens, helping you relax. Also, your mind clears. This is helpful in many situations.
  • pain management- keeping your mind off severe pain, even if for a short while
  • anger management- thinking through things before adverse actions, using relaxing breaths
  • stressful situations/anxiety
  • can help children and adults
  • sleep

Self-care is vitally important. I’ve covered this topic many times on this blog. It’s not just a passing fad or something to do when we’re bored or just when we have time, but something we should find time to do every day, even if it’s just five minutes. I entirely need to get better on the meditation- I love it. It helps me center my thoughts for the day. Restarting an old habit can be a pain sometimes. How do you do it?

For further reading:

Self-Care Isn’t Just Bubble Baths

Alone Time Is A Wonderful Thing

Is It Time for A (Mental Health) Break?

Mental and Physical care are important

Making Connections for Better Physical and Mental Health

This question has been debated for years- is there a connection between physical and mental health?

If you ask me, yes. When I’m having a bad pain day, I’m not in a great mood. I try to pick myself up a bit, but I don’t feel 100% happy. It’s kind of hard to feel that way when your hips feel like they’re broken and/or your knees feel like someone kicked them out of places and they are throbbing.

This is about the same if I’m a bit more anxious and/or depressed than usual. My limbs feel twice their actual weight, I move slower and sometimes my stomach hurts. I know I’m not the only one that feels this way in either circumstance.

Mental and Physical care are important

I’m Not Sure How This Works But…

When you don’t feel mentally healthy, your body follows behind. In the case of depression, it can be difficult to get out of bed. If you can barely get out of bed, it’s not exactly easy to take a shower, brush your teeth, eat or drink. Self- care takes a huge hit. You can read a bit about this in The Hard Days of Mental Illness

Depression can also appear after a serious illness or medical events like a stroke or heart attack. It is sometimes missed by treating physicians because they are primarily concerned with treating the main diagnosis.

They don’t so much do this on purpose, but it isn’t their main focus. Less severe depression can be assisted by lifestyle changes like sleep, exercise, or even therapy. Anti-depressants can be prescribed depending on the patient’s needs and other medications. This information can be found at Psych Central

Chronic stress, for example, can increase heart rate, tighten muscles, and raise blood pressure. This also leads to symptoms like headaches (sometimes migraines, if you’re really lucky), stomachaches, chest pain, fatigue, and even changes in sex drive. Those are potentially dangerous changes. This is why so many people are trying to reduce their stress- plus, who wants to be stressed out all the time?

Relaxing is good for your health

How Can I Change The Patterns?

There are a few things you can do to change your mind/body connection.

  • Get in touch with your emotions. Recognize your emotions then figure out what’s going on behind them.
  • Express your emotions in a healthy way. This can be a bit of a change if you haven’t done this in the past, but this change is worth it. Try writing, drawing, even coloring. Talking to someone can be very healthy. If you can, find a therapist or someone else you can trust with your thoughts. Getting unhealthy thoughts off your mind can lift a huge weight off your shoulders without realizing it.
  • Try a bit of balance. This means living a life outside of work. Work and/or school isn’t everything in life. Try to find a way to relax- going for a short walk, yoga, reading, making pottery, watching a movie, anything that helps relax you. It may be time to look at the things that don’t make you happy and let them go.
  • Develop resilience. Building up resilience is good for your emotional health. Being able to bounce back from a negative event or stress can improve your outlook on life. This can include building a support system, being positive, accepting change and keeping things in perspective.
  • Take good care of yourself. This means eating well, sleeping, creating a safe space for yourself, and other things.

This information is from Family Doctor

Good food can boost your strength

Starting Small

If you haven’t been taking care of yourself lately in this area, here are a few ideas to restart that plan:

  • Make a doctor’s appointment. This can be your yearly physical with a physician, OB/GYN, even a dentist if you haven’t been in a couple of years.
  • Face masks are the best. Try one if you haven’t in a week.
  • Buy or update a planner.
  • Take a long, hot shower or bath.
  • Read a daily inspirational quote (if you have social media, this is very easy to do. There are many pages for these.)
  • Spend some time in nature.
  • Meditate, even if it’s for 5 minutes. (It may take some time to fully get into it, and this is okay.)
  • Journal. If you need ideas on where to start, see The Joys of Journaling
  • Watch a funny YouTube video or one with cats.
  • Do something creative- puzzles, painting, sketching, anything you can think of.

What do you think about the connection? Do you think it’s there? It is incredibly important to take care of ourselves in all ways possible.

For further reading: Can Stress Kill You?

“Mrs.AOK,