NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Monday, June 8, 2009

The Benefits of Meditation

I usually recommend meditation to my psychotherapy clients. If they don't already have a regular meditation practice, I go over basic meditation techniques and suggest that they start by meditating for 10-15 mins. each day and then, if they wish, they can expand the practice over time.

The Benefits of Meditation

There Are Many Ways to Meditate
For the most basic form of meditation, you can begin by closing your eyes and focusing on your breath (always practice when you are in a quiet, safe place and never when you are driving or engaging in activities where you need to be alert). Just notice the quality of the air as you breathe in and out through your nose. Take a few relaxing breaths.

Most of us breathe in a way that is too shallow so, when you breathe in, take the time to feel your stomach muscles expand. When you breathe, out feel all the air leaving your body. You can put your hand over your stomach to help you become aware of breathing in more deeply and out completely.

Then, turn your attention inward and notice where you are holding onto any tension in your body. Then, picture yourself sending your breath to that area and feeling the tension melting away.

After a few minutes, most likely, you' ll feel more relaxed. If not, don't worry. Usually, with practice, you'll improve your meditative skill. When you open your eyes, you can wiggle your fingers and toes and focus on your surroundings so that you feel like you are alert and fully present in your environment.

People often ask me questions about when is the best time to meditate. I think the best time is when it is right for you, a time when you're in a place where you have privacy and there's less of a chance of having distractions. 

 Ideally, either the beginning or end of your day is a good time to meditate. When you start your day by meditating, it usually sets a positive tone for the rest of day. 

 Meditating at the end of the day can be very relaxing. If you meditate at night, I recommend that you don't do it while in bed because if you do, your mind will associate meditation with sleep, and that's not what it's about (although, meditating at night can help you sleep).

When you begin meditation, don't worry if you feel distracted or your internal "chatter" gets in the way. Usually, with practice, you're able to meditate with more ease and learn how to let go of these internal distractions.

I'll explore meditation practice more in future posts.

In the meantime, enjoy your meditation practice.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist. 

I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up an appointment, feel free to call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

Also see my article:  Safe Place Meditation