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5. Meditation

Meditation can have a positive effect on our attitude towards life. To many people, however, meditation appears complex and often includes religious or mystical connotations, being in a trance or being in some strange body contortion. Meditation, at its very simplest, is an enjoyable and powerful way to lower your stress and anxiety levels and improve concentration and general well-being.

Today there are many guided meditation apps to download. However, you can also simply follow these steps to start enjoying the health-giving benefits of peaceful meditation.

  • Make time to meditate. Set aside 5 to 10 minutes and start building meditation into your daily routine. First thing in the morning is considered best as your brain will be free of distractions. However, the end of the day is also good as it is a way of unwinding from the day's stress.

  • Choose a quiet space for yourself away from the distractions of people and noise (TV, phone, traffic, children etc). Some people find it helpful to play quiet, calming music in the background.

  • Make sure you are comfortable. You can sit on a cushion on the ground, or on a chair. Make sure you keep your back straight so you can breathe properly. Relax your arms and legs and make sure you are warm enough.

  • Relax. Close your eyes and become aware of each part of your body. Notice which parts, which muscles aren't relaxed and release them. Keep your focus moving up and down your body until each part feels relaxed and balanced.

  • Focus on your breathing. Breathe in slowly through your nose and out slowly through your mouth. Focus on the in and out flows of your breaths as each breath becomes slower and deeper. Keep your attention on your breathing, ignoring any other thoughts that may pop into your mind. If you find your attention strays away from concentrating on breathing, just bring it back each time. This will take practice but over time it will become easier and you will find the easier it becomes, the longer you will meditate and the more your mind, body and soul will reap the benefits.

  • End the session by opening your eyes and stretching slowly.

This week, take relax. Start by thinking about meditating. When will it be a good time of the day for you? How long will you be able to spend doing it? Where is the best place for you? Just thinking about meditating is a good start.

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