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The Healing Power of Meditation

What is meditation and how can you use it to your advantage?

Meditation is an ancient practice that focuses on an individual's well-being and self-improvement. This practice goes hand in hand with mindfulness. One is a skill that can be learnt and improved like any other skill, whereas being mindful is a way of being and facing the outside and inside world within us. Some health benefits of meditation include: decreased blood pressure, reduced stress and chronic pain symptoms, improved sleep, focus and memory.

In Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jon talks us through some different ways of practising meditation and mindfulness, as much as incorporating them into our daily routine. He worked with many people, who were either facing trauma, anxiety or depression or some chronic physical pain and most of them succeeded to improve their quality of life, while being at and after leaving his stress clinic. The first thing you would be asked to do at Jon’s clinic, would be to learn to stay present in everything you do, wherever you are; fully taste every bite of your food; feel the wind on your face, skin, hair and let it be.

Your body is your home

“Whether we are basically healthy at the moment or have a terminal illness, none of us knows how long we have to live. Life only unfolds in moments. The healing power of mindfulness lies in living each of those moments as fully as we can, accepting it as it is as we open to what comes next—in the next moment of now.”

With that in mind, we can proceed to the next step of your healing journey. Whenever you start feeling anxious, overwhelmed or in pain; whenever you start noticing the spiral of thoughts getting out of control in your head; take a deep breath and let it ground you. Think of that, as if with every deep and conscious breath, you get to your safe place, you get home; wherever that may be, but in this case, your home will be your body, as you inhale and exhale slowly. In comparison to material things, no one can take your body away from you, it is always yours and it is always there for you. Therefore, another thing to keep in mind is a relatively healthy diet, which will ensure that your body and your brain are getting plenty of nutrients and vitamins.

Awareness and acceptance

As we should already know, meditation and mindfulness work together perfectly. With meditation being more of an exercise for your mind and body connection; mindfulness is being aware of your surroundings, circumstances and accepting them as they are. There are some things in our lives that we can't control or influence; such as mental and critical illnesses, trauma or bad life experiences etc. These things could easily make us think less of us or even give up on our happiness. Although, this is where you need to ask yourself, if that's really how you want to live? Do you really want to go about your days, punishing yourself and not letting yourself be happy?

Your answer to these questions will be crucial for your well-being, because you can either keep trying to think "what if", see yourself as a victim or accept whatever happened, whatever you're struggling with, because it is happening already. Next time you experience racing thoughts, don't try to stop nor deny them - let them be. Most of the time these thoughts are far from reality and so, there is no need to pay attention to them. Look around your surroundings, change whatever you can change and accept what you cannot.

“Awareness is not the same as thinking. It is a complementary form of intelligence, a way of knowing that is at least as wonderful and as powerful, if not more so, than thinking.”

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