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Add a meditation practice to your routine with this guide

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Stress, even if you are unaware of it, can negatively affect your body, mind and energy. Stress can tighten your muscles and joints, raise your blood pressure and heart rate, and clutter your mind with unnecessary chatter. These effects can cause physical pain, can affect your sleep patterns, and can cause an overall feeling of anxiety.

Meditation is an effective way of dealing with stress that can be done anywhere. It is a way to relax the body and quiet the mind, as well as slow the internal body processes. Meditation can be as simple as sitting quietly or perhaps listening to a guided meditation. At first it will be difficult to clear the mind, but with practice the times of quiet in the mind will become more frequent and racing thoughts will slow to a halt.

If you are new to meditation try these simple steps:

  • Begin by sitting comfortably. Sit with the legs crossed, kneel around a block, or sit in a chair for back support. Consciously relax the entire physical body.
  • Focus on your breathing to slow down any racing thoughts in the mind. Notice the inhale, the pause when the lungs are full, the exhale, and the pause when the lungs are empty. Try to match the length of the inhale with the length of the exhale. Perhaps three or four counts.
  • As new thoughts arise gently acknowledge them and allow them to pass. Try not to let the mind get carried away processing the thought. Bring your attention back to your breath.
  • Perhaps repeat a word or phrase, or play gentle soothing music.
  • Try meditating for five to ten minutes at first. Gradually build up to twenty minutes per day.
  • If it is difficult to sit quietly for this amount of time, perhaps try downloading a guided meditation online. Follow the guided meditation to keep other thoughts from creeping in.

After one to two weeks of consistent meditation notice any changes you feel in your body, mind or energy levels.

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