Meditation and Mindfulness
The Science of Meditation and Applications for Daily Life
— Cailey Halloran, L.Ac., Dipl. O.M., and Noah Goldstein, L.Ac., Dipl. C.H.
We all need breaks. If you are reading this you most likely know the deep calm and restful feeling after an acupuncture treatment. You can experience a similar calm through focused effort with meditation and you can consider acupuncture as meditating with training wheels. With responsibilities and obligations (work, family, community) tugging on us in multiple directions it can be difficult to stay calm and centered. Meditation and acupuncture can help!
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health regards meditation as having four elements: “a quiet location with as few distractions as possible; a specific, comfortable posture (sitting, lying down, walking, or in other positions); a focus of attention (a specially chosen word or set of words, an object, or the sensations of the breath); and an open attitude (letting distractions come and go naturally without judging them).”
Like Chinese medicine, meditation is an ancient Eastern tool with profound modern applications and proven benefits for psychological and physiological health. Increasingly, studies are showing its incredible benefits: reduction for anxiety, cravings and addictions, improvement in concentration and grey matter in the brain, lowered blood pressure, and an elevation in immune system function and mood/well being levels,.
All of these studies indicate there is wisdom to sitting in stillness, focusing on breath, and being mindful for five to twenty minutes. A brief slowdown has even been shown to boost productivity.
The verdict is in, meditation is wonderful for us! Now, we only need to develop a meditation practice. Common barriers to meditation are a lack of familiarity and understanding about the practice as well as the challenge of setting aside time. As with creating any new good habit, there are a number of things we can do to increase the likelihood of follow-through.
- Get clear on reasons you want to develop your meditation practice, i.e. stress reduction, decrease blood pressure, being less reactive to your partner or kids.
- Plan a meditation that works for you, a sentence, a word, listening to a guided meditation, or focus on keeping your mind free of thoughts.
- Set a time commitment and put it in the calendar: I will meditate for “x” minutes, “x” days week.
- Create a system of accountability. “If I miss my morning meditation, I will have a backup time set aside in the evening.” and “I will text my friend every morning after I meditate to stay on track.”
Meditation can improve your quality of life whether you are seeking to manage pain, decrease stress, or improve your productivity. Acupuncture can be a great way to start or enhance your meditation practice by reinforcing the state of mind meditation evokes. We are also here to offer guidance and advice if you have any questions or need for clarification.
Additional resources and how to:
- Book: Mindsight http://www.drdansiegel.com/books/mindsight/
- App: Breathe
- Local Groups:
Shambala Center : http://boulder.shambhala.org
Nalanda Bodhi : http://boulder.nalandabodhi.org
Dharma Ocean: https://www.dharmaocean.org/about/boulder-meditation-center/
Movement Mass: http://bdanced.com
We collaborate with our patients and healthcare community to provide Traditional Chinese Medicine that renews, encourages, and inspires optimal health and vitality. To schedule your appointment call 303-665-5515.