For the new year, resolve to meditate

Space treeMeditation, or mindfulness practice, is well known to calm the mind, decrease the symptoms of stress, reduce anxiety, lift the spirits, and help with concentration and focus.  Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) practice can even help alleviate pain and other medical symptoms.   Many people meditate to increase self-understanding, achieve greater peacefulness and psychological healing.

But meditation typically requires time – many authorities recommend 10 to 45 minutes a day, although even 5 minutes can be helpful.  Keeping to a healthful meditation schedule requires discipline that many of us find difficult.

More and more people are finding that their smartphones, tablets or computers have the answer.  At Headspace.com, you can find a helpful series of meditation lessons, online or through an app you can download, which you can listen to for 10 minutes a day.  The narrator’s pleasant British voice takes you gently through the simple steps of becoming aware of your breathing and your body, and gradually learning to modify your habits of thinking and reacting.  He suggests that you begin by listening to these 10 minute lessons first thing every morning. You can try some of this program free; costs after that are inexpensive and “well worth it,” according to Psych Choices therapist Connie Opfell.  Headspace has a special New Year offer of 3 free months if you use the promo code CALMMIND.

A Google search reveals several online trainings in MBSR, such as the  Mindful Living Program. There are also many excellent books on meditation.  We highly recommend Full Catastrophe Living, by Jon Kabat-Zinn, who originally developed MBSR from its beginnings in Buddhist meditation practices.  Kabat-Zinn has other books as well as audio CDs, which are also excellent.

If you are someone who benefits more from in-person group lessons, you may want to check out Penn Medicine’s Program for Mindfulness, or a similar program in your own geographic area.  You also may enjoy trying classes, lectures, or group meditation sessions at a free or low-cost meditation center such as the Philadelphia Meditation Center in Havertown, PA. Man doing yoga

Many psychotherapists teach meditation practices as a way to help their clients manage stress and symptoms of anxiety and depression.  At Psych Choices, Dr. Fred McKinney, Ms. Connie Opfell and Mr. David Tomlinson are all highly trained in meditation practices, and often use these techniques with their clients.  To make an appointment with one of these therapists, you  may use our Make An Appointment page.

You owe it to yourself… resolve to meditate in 2015!


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