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Sit and Do Nothing

Can you imagine just sitting and doing nothing for thirty minutes every morning or before going to bed, or before entering your boss' office?

The month of May is Meditation Month: Being Mindfully aware of yourself with no judgement.

Meditation practices or culture-art started over 1500 years ago. One sits with in a comfortable position with their eyes halfway closed. It sounds easy right?

As a matter of fact, it is the most difficult but rewarding experience one can achieve.

Meditation is simply exploring within. When we meditate we venture into the activity of our mind: our sensations (a warm breeze or the smell of lilacs in the air), our emotions (love, hate, fear, joy) and thoughts (what to make for dinner and what to wear on the beach).

In meditation, we discover what we are holding on to and the ability to recognize it and letting it go by acknowledging the experience that no longer serves us today.

With new restrictions and isolations in place since Covid19 in 2020, there has been an increase in mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sleep disorders, and suicide.

The two studies investigating COVID-19 patients found a high level of post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) (96.2%) and significantly higher level of depressive symptoms (p = 0.016). Patients with preexisting psychiatric disorders reported worsening of psychiatric symptoms. Studies investigating health care workers found increased depression/depressive symptoms, anxiety, psychological distress and poor sleep quality.

(COVID-19 pandemic and mental health consequences: Systematic review of the current evidence. Vindegaard N, Benros ME.Brain Behav Immun. 2020 Oct;89:531-542. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2020.05.048. Epub 2020 May 30.PMID: 32485289

When groups with depression, anxiety, and other medical conditions begin to practice meditation daily symptoms reduced by 70%:

A group of inner-city residents suffering from chronic pain, anxiety, depression, diabetes and hypertension were trained in meditation. They experienced a 50% reduction in overall psychiatric symptoms, a 70% decrease in anxiety, and a 44% reduction in medical symptoms. (B. Roth, T. Creaser, “Meditation-based stress reduction: experience with a bilingual inner-city program,” Nurse Practitioner 22(3) (1997): 150-2, 154, 157).

So, how do we meditate?

5 Basic steps:

  1. Set aside time and space.

  2. Pay attention to the present moment.

  3. When judgement arises, make a mental note and let them go!

  4. Your mind can get carried away in thoughts, BREATH and let it go!

  5. Be kind to your mind! Be kind to you and place no judgement. Stay at the present moment.

The Practice:

  1. Sit comfortably in your space (favourite part of your home, garden, by water or by trees)

  2. Cross your legs comfortably in front of you. If on a chair, rest the bottoms of your feet on the floor, or lay down pose or Shavasana. Be grounded.

  3. Straighten your back but do not be stiff!

  4. Rest your hands on your legs. Both Thumb and index fingers touch. This is the Root Chakra for Survival. There are 7 chakra hand positions that you can use in your meditation practice. Click the link for more:

  5. Soften your gaze. You can open or close your eyes during your practice. Whatever comes natural. Some like to place a candle, flower, or religious figure in front of them at eye level to help focus.

  6. Feel your breath! Bring your attention the air moving through your nose at the inhale and your mouth at the exhale, the rising and falling of your belly and your chest.

  7. When your mind begins to wonder, bring your focus back to your breathing.

  8. Be kind to yourself: practice observing emotions them without reacting. Just sit and pay attention. Come back to your breath over and over again, without judgment or expectation.

  9. Bring your awareness back by opening your eyes (if closed) and listen to the sounds of the environment. Ask yourself, how do you feel right now? Thank yourself for taking the time and space for your mindful practice. Notice how your body feels. Notice any emotions. Notice yourself and be grateful today.

Just reviewing these steps just made me calmer!

Meditation can make you become kinder, calmer, and be more patience within yourself. The shift can help you experience more positivity in your life and generate healthy changes in all part of your life.

All you have to do is sit and do nothing!

Virginia Candelaresi RNCP

May 18th, 2021

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