Actress Halle Berry has described her meditation practices on Instagram. She puts on comfortable clothing and goes to a secluded spot in her garden. For 30 minutes, she focuses on her breath and repeats a chosen phrase over and over to set her intentions for the day.
Berry’s meditation technique, called mantra meditation, is popular with people who are auditory learners. But it’s not for everyone. You may find you’re more comfortable with another style.
Visualization meditation has you bring to mind an image or scene that fills you with calm, peaceful contentment. It may be something abstract, like a color, or something specific, like a landscape.
Motion-based meditation may be done while you’re walking in a serene environment — perhaps taking one step with each breath in, and one as you exhale. You can also do it while performing slow yogic stretches.
In all forms, you’re combining measured breathing (for example, four seconds for an inhale, four to eight seconds for an exhale) in combination with a mindful approach that has you acknowledge whatever thoughts cross your mind, and then let them float away.
Regardless of your style, even a few mindful minutes each day can significantly reduce stress, control anxiety, improve self-awareness, sharpen mental focus, boost memory and decrease your risk for chronic disease. People who meditate also report better sleep and improved cardiovascular health.
If you’re a meditation newbie, try the three forms to see what suits you. And check out Sharecare.com to access a variety of guided meditation practices.
©2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.