Meditation is a staple of various religions, but America’s secular society has lost its taste for quiet contemplation. Scientific research proves that a consistent morning meditation schedule offers copious health benefits and could save your life. Are you game?
Unless adhering to a specific meditation-friendly faith, most any American associates the practice with chanting Hare Krishna faithful at the airport. Sure, once in a while there is the meditation music CD that catches the eye, but who can listen to 120 minutes of ocean sounds without falling asleep?
All kidding aside, there is a lot more to the kind of contemplation that offers the previously mentioned health benefits.
Generally speaking, common forms of the practice include transcendental- (or restive alertness), concentrative- (or single stimulus) and guided meditation; the latter relies heavily on the use of chants or repetitive mantras. Within the spiritual realm, morning meditation takes the form of contemplation that may include reading from sacred texts and connecting with the deity via prayer.
Science Proves That Morning Meditation is Healthy
A study from the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education (published in Current Issues in Education) shows that children diagnosed with ADHD greatly benefit from meditation when it is applied as “mindfulness-based stress reduction.” The practice enhances the youngsters’ self esteem, makes inter-familial relationships easier to handle and improves behavior.
Even children who do not fall under the ADHD diagnosis show marked improvements in their well-being, most notably in their ability to pay attention. Not surprisingly, these children evidence higher academic performance and accelerated conceptual learning experiences.
Adult subjects who practice transcendental meditation twice a day – 10 to 20 minutes in the morning and afternoon – greatly improve emotional stability and the ability to focus. Within the clinical setting, this form of meditation proves to be highly effective in subjects with anxiety-related conditions.
Dr. Michael McGee from the McLean Harvard Medical School explains in “Meditation and Psychiatry” that a review of literature highlights the usefulness of meditation in conjunction with the treatment for insomnia, chronic illness, addiction, depression, aggression, suicidal tendencies and overall stress reduction.
Meditation for Beginners
There is no one true way of meditating. Guided meditation works for one practitioner but does precious little for another. Meditation music is a must for one, while still another practitioner requires absolute peace and quiet.
The Personal Counseling Center at Brooklyn College suggests that first-timers should begin their morning meditation by choosing a phrase or word on which to focus. They are then to sit in an area where they are unlikely to be interrupted. Sitting in a chair with a straight back works fine.
At this time they concentrate on each breath. The goal is to relax. As the subjects succeed at calming the body through breathing, it is now time to close the eyes and repeatedly recite the word or phrase that will guide the morning meditation during each exhalation. They continue in this manner for about five to 20 minutes.
They finish the meditation with a deep breath, slowly open the eyes and take time to get up.