Meditation has been proven to increase physical strength, reduce negative emotions and bring inner peace. Research indicates that meditation can help recovery from conditions as varied as asthma, cancer, heart disease, pain, depression and insomnia. According to a 2013 study, breast cancer survivors who meditated felt calmer, slept better and hurt less than those who did not practice meditation techniques.
For Andy Puddicombe, an ordained Buddhist monk and the founder of Headspace, a meditation website and mobile app, the connection between wellness and meditation became vividly personal in 2013, when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Meditation helped him to maintain his emotional balance, to keep his perspective and to turn a traumatic experience into an enlightening one.
Puddicombe’s program starts with five minutes of meditation a day. He’s said that 10 minutes will turn the mindful trick. You can easily fit that meditation time into your daily schedule, whether aboard a bus, in a waiting room, between your morning shower and your cup of tea, or at your bedside as you ease into or out of your day. With all of its benefits, meditation may be one of the healthiest 10-minute choices you can make.
Go to it, take it home, or put it in your phone
If you prefer learning to meditate in a group, ask around for recommendations or search online for groups that share your experience or are located in your neighborhood. If you like working alone, there are plenty of books on meditation. Books by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh are easy and understandable; Pema Chodron’s “How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind” is, indeed, practical; and “The Mantram Handbook,” by Eknath Easwaran, offers mantras — simple words and phrases to focus the mind — for all faiths or none.
These days you don’t even have to sit to meditate.
Headspace has a meditation that plays on your phone while you walk, and there are scads of other meditation apps for Android and iPhone operating systems. It’s helpful to check reviews, which often come from new and experienced meditators.
Audiobooks are made for walking — just be sure you can relax into the reader’s voice. Thich Nhat Hanh has print and audiobooks on walking and movement meditations, which can get you started on moving mindfully. You can also simply walk and breathe, and develop your own practice.
With their soft, traditional patterns, Tai Chi, Hatha yoga and Qigong are moving meditations. Combine the inner exercise with a physical one for a dual benefit.
Science is proving what meditators have known for thousands of years: Meditation is good for your health.