Meditation means different things to
different people, and there are many ways to do it. This topic focuses on a
kind of meditation called mindful meditation. This
practice may help you relax and relieve stress.
Mindful meditation is
when you sit without "doing" anything and you focus on the present moment. As
you do this, you let go of thoughts about the past and the future.
After you practice this meditation, you may find it easier to be mindful
even when you are not meditating. Being mindful means to focus your attention
on things that are happening right now in the present moment.
People's lives are busy. A person often does many things at one time. For
example, you may be walking to the grocery store, making a shopping list, and
talking on the phone all at the same time. But when you are mindful, you do
just one of those things, such as walking, and you pay close attention to that
For example, as you are walking, how does the air feel
against your skin? Is it warm, cool, dry, or moist? How do your feet feel as
they hit the sidewalk? Do your shoes create pressure on your feet, or do your
feet feel comfortable and supported? This is what it means to walk
Being mindful means to be aware of only one thing at a
When you are mindful, you are aware of all the
things that are happening around you right now. There may be many things
happening at this moment. For example, when you take a shower, you may be aware
of the temperature of the water, how your body feels as the water washes over
you, and the dampness of the air in the shower.
Continue to Why?
People have used meditation to help
treat a number of problems, including:
Meditation may help with these problems, but it doesn't
take the place of treatment you receive from a doctor or other medical professionals.
One of the
great things about meditation is that you can do it on your own whenever you
want, and it may help you relax and feel better. Also, you don't need any
special tools or equipment to practice meditation.
to be aware of the present moment in meditation may keep your mind sharp and
help you focus better in other areas of life as well. For example, you may be
able to react faster to road conditions when you drive if you focus solely on
driving, rather than being distracted by talking, thinking about other things,
or listening to the radio.
I can use meditation to help treat some health
Meditation does not take the place of treatment
from a doctor, but it may help with anxiety, stress, depression, pain, and
Continue to How?
If my mind wanders during my meditation, I must be
doing something wrong.
Meditation is a practice. And part of that
practice means being kind and patient with yourself and returning your focus to
the present moment. This process of returning your attention to the present
moment can happen over and over again during a meditation session.
Continue to Where?
Ready to give it a try?
Remember that it takes time to train your brain to focus on the present, so be
patient and gentle with yourself.
If you want to try another relaxation technique, see:
Return to topic:
Other Works Consulted
Anspaugh DJ, et al. (2011). Coping with and managing stress. In Wellness: Concepts and Applications, 8th ed., pp. 307–340. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Freeman L (2009). Meditation. In L Freeman, ed., Mosby’s Complementary and Alternative Medicine: A Research-Based Approach, 3rd ed., pp. 158–188. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.
May 15, 2012
Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine
& Steven Locke, MD - Psychiatry
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