Meditation and Lupus

January 29, 2016

Today “mindfulness” and meditating are being written about everywhere, and there’s good reason.  By taking a few minutes during the day to pause, breathe deeply, and relax, we can “quiet our minds.” This can have a positive effect on muscle tension and the activity of our nervous system.

While scientists are still trying to find a way to conduct definitive studies, those who meditate regularly say they feel calmer and that they can control their emotions a little better.  Some even say they see improvements in their circulation, their blood pressure, their heart rates, and their digestion. That’s all good!

While the traditional method of meditating involves 20 minutes or more twice a day, this belief has been re-thought to make it easier for people to fit meditation into today’s busy lives. If you start with a shorter length of time and benefit from it, you may find that you want to extend it. Here’s how to begin:

  1. Sit or lie down, either is fine. If sitting, sit with your back upright and your feet planted side by side.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Focus on your breathing. Don’t try to control it at first. Just notice your pace. Are you breathing deeply? Shallowly? Slowly? Quickly?
  4. Next take an inventory of your body. Where is the tightness? Where is the pain? As you think about it, try to imagine letting go of some of the tension.
  5. Now come back to your breath and just think about breathing. Many people like to say, “in” and “out” as they breathe to help with focus.
  6. As you breathe, you may be aware that other thoughts are entering your mind. Let them. Watch them come in, then imagine them going back out again. Return to thinking about your breathing.
  7. Start with a five-minute meditation goal. Use the timer on your phone, and choose a pleasant-sounding ring.
  8. Many who meditate choose a word to use as their mantra. If a word comes to you, then use it. If not, don’t worry. Saying “in” and “out” works just fine.
  9. At the end of your session, open your eyes slowly and try to spend another minute enjoying the stillness.

Experts remind us that meditation is not a task where you succeed or fail. It’s something you just do. Some days your mind may remain on overdrive, despite your intention to meditate. That’s fine. At least you had five minutes of sitting down. That alone can be helpful.  The next day try again…there’s no need to feel frustration or anger… just be okay with whatever happens during the time you’ve set aside to meditate.

Just as exercise helps tone the body, meditation helps tone and strengthen the mind.