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  • Emily McGuire

Finding Calm in the Chaos: Meditation for Mental Health

Life throws a lot at us these days. Whether it's constant deadlines or never-ending to-do lists, the stressors of life can leave us feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and exhausted. During these times we often seek out ways to distract ourselves from the stress, scrolling endlessly on social media or binge-watching TV shows. These distractions only put a temporary pause on those looming thoughts; what if we could dispel those thoughts and find a better way to cope?  


Meditation might seem like a difficult task at first, but it's a surprisingly simple and accessible practice. It's not about achieving some unattainable state of perfection, but rather about taking the time to live in the moment and quiet the noise within. This intentional recentering of the self will allow you to approach life’s challenges with a greater sense of calm and confidence. In this blog, we will delve into the benefits of meditation, and then explore some meditations you can try to get started. 


woman sitting in her bedroom meditating


Understanding Meditation 

At its core, meditation is a practice of cultivating present-moment awareness and inner stillness. It involves intentionally directing attention to the present moment, whether by focusing on the breath, observing bodily sensations, or repeating a mantra. While the techniques may vary, the overarching goal remains the same: to quiet the incessant chatter of the mind and connect with a deeper sense of peace and clarity. 

 


Benefits of Meditation for Mental Health 

  1. Stress Reduction – chronic stress is a common concern that contributes to a variety of physical and mental health issues. Meditation serves as a powerful antidote. By activating the body's relaxation response, it lowers cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and promotes a sense of calm and equanimity. 

  1. Anxiety Management – for those living with anxiety disorders, meditation offers a well-studied tool to manage symptoms. Meditation can break the cycle of spiraling thoughts and constant worrying, fostering better mental and emotional resilience. 

  1. Enhanced Emotional Regulation – it can be difficult to navigate our emotional landscape at times. Meditation can be used as a tool to gain greater emotional awareness and regulation, as it empowers you to observe your feelings without judgment and respond to life's challenges with greater compassion. 

  1. Improved Focus and Concentration – in an age of constant distraction, maintaining focus can be a challenge. Meditation enhances cognitive function by sharpening focus, improving concentration, and fostering mental clarity. Think of it like a mental reset – clearing out those nagging, distracting thoughts so that you can move forward with a clear mind and better composure. 

 


When Should You Meditate? 

When deciding when to meditate, think about what you want to get out of the meditation. If you want to use meditation to help you focus on a task ahead, you might carve out some time in the morning or before working to recenter yourself and shake off any distractions. You can also use meditation to help unwind from a particularly stressful day – try meditating when you get home from work or school so that you can let go of the stress of the day and enjoy your evening with a greater sense of peace. If you struggle with insomnia due to racing thoughts, try meditating before bed to help usher your mind into a state of relaxation. 

 

 

Ready to Try Meditation? 

Meditation is very easy to start, you don’t need any special training. Begin by carving out a few minutes each day to sit quietly, you can even turn on some meditation music to help you settle in. It might feel awkward at first, but that's okay! Here are a couple of easy meditations to try: 

 

Breath Awareness Meditation 

  • Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit. Close your eyes gently, or soften your gaze if that feels more natural. 

  • Bring your attention to your breath, feeling it moving in and out of your body. 

  • If your mind wanders (and it will!), simply acknowledge the thought without judgment and gently bring your attention back to your breath. 

  • Start with a 5-minute meditation and gradually increase the duration as you like. 


Body Scan Meditation 

  • Sit or lie comfortably and close your eyes. 

  • Begin by bringing your awareness to your toes. Notice any sensations present, without judgment. 

  • Slowly scan your body upwards, one body part at a time, noticing any sensations of tension, relaxation, warmth, or coolness. 

  • If your mind wanders, simply bring your attention back to the body part you were focusing on. 

  • Continue scanning your body all the way up to your head. 

  • Rest in a state of awareness for a few moments before gently opening your eyes. 


More Meditations 

If you would like to expand your horizons beyond these introductory meditations, there are many options to explore. Other avenues you can explore include visualization meditations, guided meditations, mindfulness meditations, and more. At Resolve Wellness, we offer sound bath meditation sessions, which involve the use of singing bowls and chimes to help carry you into a meditative state. 

 


Embark on Your Meditation Journey 

Meditation is a journey, not a destination. Be patient with yourself and celebrate your progress, no matter how small. Meditation can be your sanctuary in a busy world. Imagine yourself feeling calm and centered, even amidst the chaos. Take a deep breath, let go of the noise, and embark on a journey of self-discovery and well-being. 



 


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Emily McGuire is a Marketing Associate and staff writer for Resolve Wellness. With a Bachelor's degree in International Business from UC San Diego, she is a California native with a passion for writing, digital marketing, health, and wellness.


Reviewed by: Erynne Hill, MS, ATC, HHP, BFRC, a Nationally Certified Athletic Trainer and Massage Therapist who has been a part of the healthcare field since 2002. She is the Director of Resolve Wellness, specializing in manual lymphatic drainage and prenatal massage. Erynne has extensive knowledge of both massage and physiology, even receiving her Master's degree in Exercise Physiology from San Diego State University.

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