Archive for the ‘Meditation Articles’ Category
Some people find, particularly if they are new to meditation, that they tend to drift off to sleep while meditating. It’s easy to understand as meditation is extremely relaxing and reminiscent in many ways of the early stages of sleep. Still though, it can be frustrating to be meditating and then wake up realizing you must have fallen asleep. There are ways to avoid this though, here are five ways to avoid falling asleep during meditation.
1. Meditate in the Middle of the Day
If you meditate before you go to bed or as soon as you wake up then you’re already tired and prone to falling asleep.
Instead try meditating at midday when you are most alert. This will also allow to recharge your batteries after a busy morning.
2. Experiment With Different Positions
Rather than choosing a reclining position try a more upright position such as the lotus. As the lotus position requires balance this will stop you from drifting off to sleep.
3. Don’t Meditate in the Bedroom
The mind associates the bedroom with sleep, amongst other things, so if you meditate in the bedroom you’re naturally more likely to fall asleep.
Meditate in different rooms instead like the kitchen where you’re less likely to fall asleep. Even better you could meditate outside if you have a nice garden.
4. Try a Walking Mediation
There are certain kinds of meditation that involve movement, traditional yoga for example. However if you can’t find a suitable yoga class you could just try a walking meditation. There are many different kinds of walking meditations but the easiest is to go for a walk in the park and focus on taking deep breaths at a regular rhythm.
5. Drink Water Before You Meditate
Drinking a cold glass of water will refresh you and waken up your system if you’re feeling drowsy.
The benefits of meditation for mental tranquility and maintaining a calm and even-tempered outlook are well known. Because of this, meditation has often been relegated by the mainstream of American culture to a less-respected fringe area also occupied by acupuncture and other eastern influences. While meditation and yoga have made significant incursions into the mainstream milieu, they still don’t always get the respect they deserve. Recent studies though are beginning to show what practitioners of these eastern imports have suspected for a long time.
Meditation Can Make You Physically Healthier
It makes perfect sense that yoga would result in better physical condition. All the stretching exercises certainly look like they’d be beneficial. But researchers who have engaged in studies of long term meditation practitioners have begun to discover some surprising results. People who have made meditation a significant part of their daily routines for more than a few months have far fewer incidents of physical ailments than do their non-meditating peers. These aren’t folks who are practicing yoga either. These studies focused merely on measuring meditation benefits. Surprisingly, meditators have healthier immune systems than non-meditators. It’s hard to imagine a more profound physical phenomenon than the ability to ward off disease and infection.
Rewire Your Brain
Long-time meditators have better memory, fewer cases of anxiety, depression, anger and fatigue. This isn’t just because meditation makes a person feel better either. The same studies which indicated healthier immune systems in those who meditate also point to the brain’s ability to actually change neural pathways in the brain. This could mean, incredibly, that long-term meditation actually changes how the brain is wired. Perhaps our bodies and our future health scenarios are less biologically determined than we thought. And if individuals realize that they aren’t necessarily resigned to suffer inevitable physical and mental infirmities just because we all eventually age, more people may begin to practice meditation. And it’s never too late to start.
Meditation in College Context
Many folks encounter meditation through college physical education classes. Yoga and stretching classes often feature meditation as part of the curricula. Continuing these non-academic educational components as part of university life is key to ensuring that a wider swath of the general public will eventually tap into the health benefits inherent in long-term meditation. When students experience meditation as an effective method for reducing anxiety and maintaining a positive outlook as undergraduate students, they’re much more likely to continue the practice into adult life. Someone who meditates frequently will likely be a better employee, spouse and parent than someone who doesn’t. But you don’t have to begin meditation as a college student to capitalize on its health benefits.
Meditation for Older Individuals
The rubric which researchers used to produce their findings about meditation changing immune systems and brain functions involved people who meditated regularly for more than eight weeks. That means that a mere two months of regular meditation may be all it takes to produce such significant positive results. Older folks who wish to forestall health problems that may have plagued their parents and grandparents might find that meditation results in benefits that they never imagined. And unlike some forms of physical exercise which might be too high-impact for seniors, meditation has no negative side effects.
Jesse Langley lives near Chicago. He divides his time among work, writing, meditation and family life. He has a keen interest in meditation and blogging and also writes on behalf of Colorado Technical University He writes for www.professionalintern.com.
For many years meditation has been seen as a very good tool for helping control stress. However this was more speculation, based on observations, thoughts and feelings. In more recent times, research and scientific theories seem to back up the notion that meditation can help with stress.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “Practicing meditation has been shown to induce some changes in the body…Some types of meditation might work by affecting the automatic nervous system.” The sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system are two divisions of the autonomic nervous system of the body. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for our reaction to stress or fear and is more commonly known as the “fight-or-flight” system. The parasympathetic nervous system is active during times of rest and associated with “rest and digest”. The NIH goes on to say, “It is thought that some types of meditation might work by reducing activity in the sympathetic nervous system and increasing activity in the parasympathetic nervous system.”
One theory, presented by Daniel Goleman & Tara Bennett-Goleman suggests that meditation works because of the relationship between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex. In very simple terms, the amygdala is the part of the brain that decides if we should get angry or anxious, and the pre-frontal cortex is the part that makes us stop and think about things.
The prefrontal cortex is very good at analyzing and planning, but it takes a long time to make decisions. The amygdala, on the other hand, is simpler and older in evolutionary terms. It makes rapid judgments about a situation and has a powerful effect on our emotions and behaviour, linked to our survival needs. For example, if a human sees a pretador leaping out at them, the amygdala will trigger a fight or flight response long before the prefrontal cortex responds.
But in making snap judgments, our amygdalas are prone to error, such as seeing danger where there isn’t any. This is particularly true in our modern society where social conflicts are far more common than encounters with predators, and a basically harmless but emotionally charged situation can trigger uncontrollable fear or anger, leading to conflict, anxiety, and stress.
Therefore meditation can not only help us reduce our stress levels in the short term, but it can also improve our brains in order to more effectively deal with stressful situations in the future. Regular practice of meditation can help reduce our stress levels to very manageable levels.