Who isn’t feeling stressed out these days?
Everyone is busy, a situation that has been complicated by more than a year of living through a worldwide pandemic.
And while some realize mental strain can lead to physical symptoms such as high blood pressure, many don’t know that taking a moment to intentionally pause the bustle of daily life through meditation can help them feel better, emotionally and physically.
Studies show mindfulness meditation can reduce pain up to 90 percent. And meditation is easier to do than most people think.
It’s the art of attention. It’s the art of not-doing. It’s focusing on awareness, presence. Taking time to tune in to your body, thoughts and feelings.
Intrigued? Wondering how to try it?
In this episode, host Mark Gomez, MD, and his guest, Todd Fink, CADC, break down some common misconceptions about meditation, and explain how it’s good for well-being and how to get started with your own practice.
Myths vs. Facts
"Meditation is a religious practice." – Myth
A lot of religions incorporate meditation, but it can also exist in non-spiritual context and doesn’t require a spiritual belief to practice.
"It takes a long time to learn to meditate and years to master it." – Myth
You can improve in your awareness training instantly. In one deep, present breath you can calm your thoughts. Mastery isn’t something to worry about, because there’s no goal. It’s just a practice.
"With patience and practice, anyone can meditate." – Fact
Meditation can be an individual practice, or a whole family can meditate together. Kids can meditate. Adult partners can meditate.
"You must chant to meditate." – Myth
You can use your awareness in a variety of ways. Chanting or having an affirmation or mantra is another way to focus the mind, but it’s not necessary.
"There is no single posture you need to adopt to meditate." – Fact
Walking, being in nature, is one way to meditate. Meditation is personal, and there’s no set of rules on how to do it.
"The goal of meditation is to clear your mind." – Myth
There isn’t a specific goal, meditation is just a practice. Treat it like hygiene. Nobody rates themselves on their ability to shower. If you leave out the goal, you eliminate the performance anxiety. Just practice being present.
"Meditation is not working if your mind wanders." – Myth
The mind will continue to think, like the heart will continue to beat and your breath will go in and out of your lungs. It’s a matter of noticing it, being aware of it.
"Meditation is only selfish if sleeping and exercise are also selfish." – Fact
Meditation, sleeping and exercise aren’t selfish. Self-care is not selfish.
"Meditation sharpens our focus and heightens our performance." – Fact
Many athletes and other successful people visualize themselves doing well in a crisis or during a challenge. The visualization builds confidence.