By: Madeline Elkin-Aquino, Health Educator and Outreach Specialist at Little Red Door Cancer Agency, AmeriCorp Public Ally
Meditation can mean lots to things in this crazy world of ours. Sometimes people use it to describe deep thinking. Others assume meditation is sitting down and doing nothing. But the practice of meditation was originally used as a technique for quieting the mind in order to discover a different state of consciousness. This may sound like a waste of time in your busy day, but recent research has shown how meditation can actually change your brain—for the better!
For cancer patients, who tend to experience depression and anxiety at higher rates, it can be beneficial to incorporate regular meditation practice into your life. Some studies have shown how mind-body practices such as meditation and yoga can positively affect cancer patients’ quality of life.
There are many ways to meditate, so the trick is finding what best fits with your personality and lifestyle. For a full guide check out Yoga Journal’s A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation.
After you have found what you like best, use these tips to help you establish a routine.
- Create a habit: do it the same way every time (same place, same time, same everything!) in order to create a natural rhythm, or what neuroscientists call a “habit loop”, which will help to reinforce all the benefits of meditation.
- Be patient: it takes time to create a habit. Remember to love yourself by giving space to try new techniques in order to find what fits best for you.
- Get a good seat: finding not only a seat, but also a position that is comfortable to sit for at least 20 minutes is a must!
- Always start and end with the breath: no matter what your preferred method (guided, counting, alone, etc), remember your breath is your best and most essential tool.
Looking to get started? Check out these guided meditations!
Want to learn more? Check out TED Talk’s page on meditation.