If you experience days when you feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, you're not alone.
Meditation may be the answer.
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years. Today it is commonly used for relaxation and stress reduction. Some of the world's largest corporations like Google are implementing daily on-site meditation programs to help its employees better deal with stress, depression and anxiety.
Caregivers too can benefit from meditation. A recent study out of UCLA suggests that using yoga to engage in very brief, simple daily meditation can lead to improved cognitive functioning and lower levels of depression for caregivers.
Benefits of Meditation
Meditation helps clear away the information overload that builds up every day and contributes to your stress. The emotional benefits of meditation can include:
- Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
- Building skills to manage your stress
- Increasing self-awareness
- Focusing on the present
- Reducing negative emotions
These benefits don't end when your meditation session ends. Meditation can help carry you more calmly through your day.
Force yourself to "unplug" 15 minutes a day - no cell phone, TV or computer. Follow these four simple steps to clear your mind:
Focus your attention - Focus your attention on one thing - an object, image or your own breath - to clear distractions from your mind. Naturally, your mind will try to clutter itself with various other thoughts. If you become distracted, place your focus back on your object, image or breath.
- Relax your breathing - Take deep, even breaths. This will help you slow your breathing down to a relaxed pace. Try breathing through your nose: inhaling to the count of four, and then exhaling to the count of four. This technique, known as "Equal Breathing" is helpful when you are just beginning to learn how to relax your breathing.
- Find a quiet setting - The world is filled with distractions. Noisy television sets or loud conversation can be extremely distracting – particularly for the beginning meditator. A quiet setting will improve your ability to focus while meditating.
- Get in a comfortable position - You don't need any special clothing or tools to meditate. Just make sure you're as comfortable as possible.
For more information about support and resources available to caregivers, visit barnabashealth.org/caregiversupport.