There’s no magic potion to health and well-being, but if there was, meditation would be in it. Meditation is a powerful tool that improves both physical and mental health. It reduces stress and anxiety, calms the mind, improves focus and brain power, increases productivity and efficiency, increases relaxation, improves sleep quality, increases self-awareness, improves emotional regulation, increases resilience, positively impacts the immune system, and increases compassion and empathy. Talk about magic, right?
Here’s a quick guide to start meditating:
- Be patient with yourself. There is no “right” way to meditate. Simply focus on being present in the moment and cultivating calm awareness.
- Find a comfortable and quiet space, ideally one free of distractions, where you can sit comfortably for a few minutes. UNC Diversity and Inclusion has a list of campus meditation spaces.
- Focus on your breath. Notice the sensations of air moving in and out of your body.
- Let thoughts pass by like leaves floating down a stream. Notice them, and let them drift away.
- Start with a few minutes of time, and increase the length of time with practice.
- Don’t worry if your mind wanders, that’s normal! Just bring your thoughts back to your breath or the stream.
- Practice a few minutes a day. You can meditate while you brush your teeth, do the dishes, or walk in nature. You can meditate before you go to bed at night, or after you eat breakfast in the morning.
With the known benefits of meditation, we should all be doing it more! Consider joining a meditation group or club to support yourself in practicing more.