Fairfield County Integrative Family Medicine, Trumbull, CT
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  Home » Newsletter » Meditation to Match Your Personality, September 2012
 

Meditation to Match Your Personality

The fast-paced demands of living in today’s society can leave most of us stressed, tense and anxious. While many people are drawn to the physiological and psychological benefits of meditating, they never seem to get around to trying it. While there are many reasons why people don’t regularly meditate, the most common reason given is: “meditating isn’t for me. I don’t have the patience to sit still for ten minutes with my eyes closed.” What many people don’t realize is that meditation takes many forms. While sitting still with your eyes closed is one form of meditation, any activity — from gardening to cooking — can become a meditative experience if you’re really present in the moment. The benefits of meditation abound and have been linked to lowering blood pressure, reducing stress and anxiety, relieving chronic pain, strengthening the immune system and treating insomnia, to name only a few. With so many therapeutic benefits linked to meditation you can’t afford not to meditate. The good news is there is a style of meditation for everyone. Experiment until you find what works for you.

If You’re the Outdoorsy Type, Take a Walk or a Hike

This type of meditation is perfect for those who find it difficult to sit for a long period of time. For beginners, try walking for 10 minutes and gradually increase your time. Walk at a relaxed, normal pace. Focus on your body and how it feels. Does it feel tense or relaxed, light or heavy? Focus next on your visual surroundings — the shapes of the leaves on the trees, the colors of the flowers and the shapes of the clouds. Bring your attention to your physical sensations — can you feel the breeze on your skin? What’s the texture of the terrain you’re walking on? Is it rocky or smooth? Be present in the moment by focusing completely on your surroundings. When your mind starts to wander and you find yourself thinking about your to-do list, gently bring your attention back to the outdoors. If your mind continues to wander, it’s not a sign of failure. Do not get angry or frustrated with yourself. Just acknowledge the presence of these thoughts and let them drift away.

If You’re a Foodie, Meditate While You Eat

Eating meditation, or mindful eating, can be one of the simplest, yet most profound mindful experiences. By focusing on the taste, texture, colors and aromas of the foods you’re eating, you focus on the present moment and clear your mind of cluttering thoughts. Begin by focusing on the colors and shapes of the food on your plate. Imagine what the food will taste like before you taste it. Shift your focus to the aromas. What does the food smell like? Can you smell the different ingredients and spices? After taking your first bite, be aware of specific flavors, e.g. sweetness, sourness, saltiness, or bitterness. Focus on the textures as you chew — is it soft, tender, crispy, or stringy? If you’re going to eat the food with your hands, how does it feel? Is it hot or cool to the touch? Practicing mindful eating not only helps to relax the mind, it prevents you from mindless eating which can lead to overeating.

If You’re Artsy, Focus on a Painting

Pick a painting or other piece of art that you find pleasing. If you’re focusing on a painting, begin by quietly looking at the painting. How does the painting make you feel? Does it make you feel relaxed, happy, or serene? Are the colors strong or muted? Notice the different brushstrokes and the small details. Is there a message the artist is trying to convey? You can even imagine yourself in the painting.

Contrary to popular belief, meditation isn’t only about sitting in a relaxing position while repeating calming words. There are many different forms of meditation. Any activity can become a meditative experience if you’re really present in the moment and engage your senses. The key is experimenting and exploring the possibilities to find the meditation technique that works for you.

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