Can Meditation Improve Your Health? Here ’s What to Know

When you hear the word meditation, you may think of sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed—breathing deeply and trying to clear your mind. While it’s true that meditation often involves quiet and focused contemplation, the whole “empty your mind” thing is a misconception, says Dr. Judson Brewer, director of research and innovation at Brown University’s Mindfulness Center. “Meditation is not about emptying our minds or stopping our thoughts, which is impossible,” Brewer says. “It’s about changing our relationships to our thoughts.” Doing so may help some stress-related health conditions, including those related to the gut. Here’s what you need to know about meditation and what to expect from the practice. What is meditation? Meditation practices come in many forms, some of which date back more than 2,000 years. The specifics of each differ, but they all have one thing in common. “All the various practices train or cultivate attention and awareness,” says Miles Neale, a clinical instructor of psychology at Weill Cornell Medical College and author of Gradual Awakening, a book about Tibetan Buddhist meditation. There are three main types, Neale says. The first and most common is one he calls single—pointed meditation, “where you try to anchor your mind to one point of attention, like your breath or a candle or a mantra,” he explains. The second type, “open focus meditation,&...
Source: TIME: Health - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Uncategorized Mental Health/Psychology Source Type: news

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