Meditation for Moms
Benefits include lower blood pressure, less stress and increased energy.
I recently developed high blood pressure, a condition that often can be improved with diet, exercise and medication. There is also evidence that high blood pressure is linked to stress. So in addition to prescribing medication, my doctor recommended 15 minutes a day of meditation to help alleviate the stresses in my life.
Surprisingly, fitting in meditation came very naturally. It became a 15-minute hiatus that I needed, looked forward to and very much enjoyed. After all, I’m just following doctor’s orders.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is the stilling of all your conscious faculties in order to be present in the moment, writes Rosemary Clark in The Everything Meditation Book. Meditation is a way to use your inner self to connect and harmonize the body, mind and spirit.
Like anything that’s overfull, our mind needs to clear out life’s distractions on a daily basis. “In everyday life, your mind is constantly processing a barrage of sensations, visual impressions, emotions and thoughts,” explains Stephan Bodian, author of Meditation for Dummies. “When you meditate, you narrow your focus, limit the stimuli bombarding your nervous system and calm your mind in the process.”
It doesn’t take any special skill or years of training to begin meditation sessions. All you need is the will to try, a quiet place and 5-20 minutes of uninterrupted time. After turning your cell phone off and putting the dog out, find a private area where you won’t be disturbed. Don’t be concerned about meditating perfectly. It’s important to approach each session with a relaxed attitude. It’s not necessary to be perfect.
Sit in a position that is comfortable for you. The goal is to quiet the mind. There are several ways to arrive at this goal. Start by breathing deeply. Notice the rhythm of your breath and how your chest rises and falls.
Bodian says that meditation is a gradual process. He stresses that it’s important not to look for immediate results. “You probably won’t notice any flashing lights or sudden jolts of energy,” he says. “Just trust in the process and let the changes take care of themselves.”
Some traditional meditation techniques use mantras to help relax the body. A mantra is a prayer, meaningful word or phrase repeated over and over to aid in reducing stress and increase peace of mind. Common mantras include “inner peace,” “I am a good person” or my favorite, “I have all the time I need.”
Other approaches use visual stimuli called mandalas. You can gaze at a candle, look at an object or contemplate nature. Mudras — physical gestures — are also used in meditation to help link action with the body and mind. Common mudras include folding your hands or sitting with both hands open and cupped toward the ceiling.
Another popular form of meditation, known as mindfulness meditation, centers on breathing. In this version, the meditator allows her mind to wander, simply focusing on her breathing. “As the mind wanders, though, the mediator strives for a heightened awareness of each passing thought and image,” says spirituality author Deepak Chopra, MD.
Meditation is a time to empty your mind and clear it for the next day’s challenges and to train yourself to be present in the moment. It’s your trek to a peaceful oasis of relaxation and simplicity.
Plan for this time, as you would any other important appointment for your well-being. As you become more conscious, your inner light, love and wisdom will continue to expand.
Claire Yezbak Fadden is a freelance writer.