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Is meditation right for you?

Hurricanes, wildfires, pandemic restrictions and election battles heaped on top of life’s regular problems can be overwhelming. This year will go down in history as being a challenge to both our physical and mental well-being. As part of World Mental Health Day on October 10, the World Mental Health Organization is challenging everyone to address mental health issues. One way to meet this challenge is meditation.

What is meditation?

Meditation is a technique of focusing the mind on a single object, thought or activity in order to achieve mental clarity. There is no single correct way to meditate. There are numerous variations that are effective depending on each person’s needs.

Why meditate?

One of the main reasons for meditation is connected to mental health. Meditation can be used to reduce stress, control anxiety and find a positive outlook on life. By focusing attention on one thing, it is possible to reduce how much the stream of stressful life occurrences fill your mind. The end result is a calmer sense of being.

Meditation also has health benefits. It can improve sleep by reducing stress, allowing for more restful sleep. The improved focus experienced during meditation may also increase mental clarity and decrease memory loss or dementia. Some people use meditation to control pain by focusing their thoughts on other things instead of pain. Finally, since meditation can reduce stress, it can lower blood pressure when regularly practiced over time.

What are the different kinds of meditation?

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Most meditation techniques don’t require special equipment or large blocks of time to be effective. One of the most popular forms is mindfulness meditation. Basically, this technique involves giving attention to each thought as it pops into your mind. In most cases, this is done in a quiet place while sitting upright in a chair or on a cushion on the floor. Maintain a single forward focus instead of looking around the room. Breathe evenly and let the thoughts come. It is important not to get involved with the thoughts. Just acknowledge each thought and let the next one come. Start with 10 to 15 minutes and increase over time.

Focused meditation involves placing attention on a single object using any of the five senses. For example, focus can be placed on listening to your breathing or staring at a candle flame. When your mind begins to wander, try to bring it back to that point of focus again. This method is challenging, but it can help to strengthen focus.

If sitting still is challenging for you, movement meditation might be an option. In this form, the focus is on fluid, repetitive motion. Be aware of the movement while you let thoughts flow through your mind. Walking a labyrinth path, hiking through the woods or even gardening can all be used to practice movement meditation.

The importance of accepting help during recovery

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Recovering from a surgical procedure, medical event or other hospital stay can be stressful with pain, limited mobility and unknown outcomes. This anxiety can negatively affect blood-pressure levels, restful sleep, proper eating and other important recovery factors. Therefore, it is wise to pay attention to both physical and mental health for an effective journey back to good health. Instead of hoping to tackle recovery alone, many wisely choose to stay in a short-term care facility where there is an attentive, experienced staff ready to help with every step from medical issues to depression.

Looking for an effective recovery experience where the goal is to get you back to your independent lifestyle? Glenview Terrace offers health care expertise combined with an unrelenting commitment to comfort, dignity and guest satisfaction, making it one of the area’s finest choices for care following surgery or another medical event requiring a hospital stay. Awarded the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval certification for post-hospital and post-surgical care, Glenview Terrace also provides routine COVID-19 testing, monitoring and the latest infection-control precautions. For more information about their recovery services, visit or call 847-729-9090.

— J. Buchenot for Glenview Terrace