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Benefits of meditation

Miel+Bogart+takes+a+break+to+look+at+the+snow.+Bogart%27s+meditation+practices+have+changed+her+daily+life.+%22Ever+since+I+was+really+young+I+remember+just+taking+a+moment+in+the+day+to+be+more+present%2C%E2%80%9D+Bogart+said.
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Benefits of meditation

Miel Bogart takes a break to look at the snow. Bogart's meditation practices have changed her daily life.

Miel Bogart takes a break to look at the snow. Bogart's meditation practices have changed her daily life. "Ever since I was really young I remember just taking a moment in the day to be more present,” Bogart said.

Miel Bogart takes a break to look at the snow. Bogart's meditation practices have changed her daily life. "Ever since I was really young I remember just taking a moment in the day to be more present,” Bogart said.

Miel Bogart takes a break to look at the snow. Bogart's meditation practices have changed her daily life. "Ever since I was really young I remember just taking a moment in the day to be more present,” Bogart said.

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Fifteen-year old Miel Bogart stares out the window, reflecting. Bogart sits on the second floor ledge processing the day she just had. She practices meditation and for her, it makes a difference.

“Ever since I was really young I remember just taking a moment in the day and be like ‘hey, today is the day, here’s what’s going on, to be more present,’” Bogart said.

Bogart has been setting time aside for meditation since fourth grade. For her, meditation helps her process both negative and positive emotions as well as things that have happened throughout the day. Taking moments throughout the day to just breathe can help her manage stress.

Siobhan Norman, a 42 year old, has been practicing meditation for around 10 years. For Norman, daily meditation helps her relax and not let her mind run wild. Meditation is helpful for her when she’s feeling stressed, overwhelmed or sad.

“Meditation has helped with my own happiness so therefore I’m more aware of the things in my life that I’m thankful for and that bring me joy,” Norman said. “And so I share that with the people around me. I think that it makes my life fuller and it also helps me feel more happier and more joy or more calm when there needs to calm in a situation and it also helps me pay attention to how other people are feeling and being able read when something is going on without having to have that person tell me.”

Meditation has many benefits, which both Bogart and Norman acknowledge.

“When people think of meditation they usually think closed eyes, totally zoned out and everything, sometimes I do that and sometimes its just means like sitting somewhere and just breathing which can help a lot, just like you know if your upset or have a lot of anxiety, which I do,” Bogart said.

According to NPR, meditation can help people manage anxiety. The practice of mindfulness meditation is to train the brain to stay in the moment. To be able to stay in the moment you have to be able to let go of things that have happened in the past and things that make you anxious about the future. Types of mindfulness practices can help switch your attention away from anxiety causing thoughts.

One benefit that Norman mentioned is that meditation can lower blood pressure as well as increase digestion. According to Norman, there are lots of studies that link bacteria in your stomach to brain activity, so the way your stomach feels can affect your mood and your cognitive thinking in your brain. One big aspect of meditation is deep breathing and calming breathing. The air in and out of your lungs help blood flow and all of that is linked to digestion and blood circulation.

Norman also finds that practicing meditation sporadically throughout the day helps a lot.

Norman meditates everyday right when she wakes up and right before she goes to bed and also throughout the day whenever she feels it’s needed. Some of her practices include deep breathing, listening to guided meditations, which take you through guided visualizations of sights and sounds and she also sometimes does body scans from head to toe.

“Sometimes for me, it’s meditative when I’m just sitting somewhere or sitting in the dark or with a candle,” Norman said. “Sometimes meditation for me, can be walking on a path in county farm park, going for a run, journaling or drawing.”

For people who would like to start meditating, Norman recommends doing things that make you feel the most calm.

When people ask me about it I always ask them what are the times they feel the most relaxed or what are the things that truly bring them happiness or the times that their mind isn’t running wild with thoughts,” Norman said. “When are times they feel most quiet, most still, or most reflective. What are they doing during those times? Are they sitting quietly? Are they doing something? Are they outside? And I suggest that doing more of that and making it a practice, because that is just as good as what they think traditional meditation is.”

Meditation and mindfulness practices have made positive impacts on both Norman’s and Bogart’s lives. Setting a time to just breathe is something both find very helpful in their day to day lives.

“Meditating throughout the day has helped with my own happiness so therefore I am more aware of the things in my life that I’m thankful for and that bring me joy,” Norman said.

 

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