Healthy Living: More people turning to meditation

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Health experts say we are seeing a big increase in depression, anxiety, and stress right now, and with it, the amount of people practicing meditation is skyrocketing!

Allie Henderson, Wellness Consultant with Regence, says back in March when we saw our first round of lockdowns, there was a 25% increase in downloads for popular meditation apps.

Henderson says most people think relaxation is the biggest benefit and while that is one of them, the benefits are more focused on being in control of our thoughts and emotions, “During this year, we are feeling a lot of difficult emotions, things like fear, anxiety, stress, frustration, anger, depression, loneliness, all of these things that sometimes we label as bad, and we feel like we shouldn’t be feeling this way and we try to shove them aside. Any emotion is there to tell us something.” 

Henderson says meditation is a way to sit and experience those emotions.  So, how can you practice meditation at your home right now?  Meditation is a broad term and there are multiple ways to practice it.  Henderson says mindfulness meditation is focusing on being in the present moment, acting with intention, and removing judgment. Imagery or visualization meditation is when you immerse yourself in another environment to relax. Mantra meditation is repeating a word over and over to stay focused and then there are movement-based meditations like yoga or Tai Chi.

Henderson says when it comes to people who practice, they also see improved overall psychological benefits, improved self-esteem, decreased pain, and meditation can even help when coping with illnesses.  

Here are a few free apps that Henderson recommends if you want to get started:  

  • Calm
  • Headspace
  • eM Life

Henderson says don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to commit to 30 or 60 minutes when you get started, she says to look for 2 to 5-minute meditations instead, “Your mind is gonna wander but this is a practice and even those who have been doing it for years, are still learning, so give yourself grace and just enjoy the process.”

Find a quiet spot, if possible, sit with one of the apps, and regain some control in a world that feels so very out of control right now.

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