Find Your Zen

Want to achieve a new level of calm in as lit­tle as four min­utes a day? Use these easy med­i­ta­tion tips to rest your mind

Singapore Women's Weekly (Singapore) - - INSPIRE -

Do you think of med­i­ta­tion as some­thing deeply spir­i­tual prac­tised in a serene space and in the lo­tus po­si­tion? While it can be that, it doesn’t have to be. Ac­cord­ing to ex­perts, med­i­ta­tion re­ally comes down to the prac­tice of be­ing mind­ful – and that sim­ply means pay­ing at­ten­tion to what you’re do­ing and us­ing all your senses. You might fo­cus on the rhythm of your breaths, the sound of the wind in the trees, the sen­sa­tion of the air on your skin, or the beauty of the clouds in the sky.

Med­i­ta­tion is not about emp­ty­ing your mind of all thoughts, but ac­cept­ing that thoughts will come your way and, with­out judg­ing or dwelling on them, let­ting them go and com­ing back to the present mo­ment.

Re­search shows med­i­ta­tion has mul­ti­ple ben­e­fits, from re­struc­tur­ing your brain to boost­ing your im­mune sys­tem. It can...

CALM YOU DOWN The slow, steady con­trolled breath­ing that is prac­tised dur­ing med­i­ta­tion trig­gers your parasym­pa­thetic ner­vous re­sponse – your ‘rest and di­gest’ state – which low­ers your heart rate, re­duces stress and eases mus­cu­lar ten­sion. It’s like tak­ing an in­stant chill pill!

RE­DUCE STRESS The ‘fight or flight’ area in your brain ac­tu­ally shrinks af­ter reg­u­lar med­i­ta­tion, mean­ing that the longer you prac­tise, the more con­trol you’ll have over your body’s au­to­matic re­sponse to every­day stress. Also, by stay­ing in the mo­ment you can tame your chat­ter­ing ‘mon­key mind’ and let go of the ran­dom neg­a­tive thoughts that wind you up or get you down.

IM­PROVE YOUR SLEEP You can learn to ac­cess your re­lax­ation re­sponse more eas­ily, so ef­fec­tively you de­velop the skill to switch off your wor­ries at bed­time; plus low­ered stress and anx­i­ety lev­els add up to bet­terqual­ity slum­ber over­all. MAKE YOU A NICER, HAP­PIER PER­SON Med­i­ta­tion lights up the part of the brain’s em­pa­thy ‘cen­tre’, mean­ing that your com­pas­sion lev­els get a ma­jor boost. It can also strengthen the brain cir­cuits con­nected to hap­pi­ness. KEEP YOUR BRAIN YOUNG Long-term prac­tice can re­duce in­flam­ma­tion – as­so­ci­ated with most ma­jor health con­cerns in­clud­ing heart dis­ease, arthri­tis, stroke and di­a­betes. Med­i­ta­tion has also been found to in­crease the thick­ness of the part of your brain as­so­ci­ated with mem­ory, cog­ni­tion and learn­ing, mean­ing it helps to keep your brain sharp and young.

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