Meditate on This: Meditation can help reduce stress, boost memory and concentration, and even delay aging

meditation imageA study published last month from the U.S.-based National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine indicates meditation may be effective in reducing acute respiratory infections. Intriguing…but that’s not why I meditate. Other studies have reported meditation can help reduce stress, boost memory and concentration, and even delay aging. Now, those are the results I’m after.

Falling off the bandwagon

None of that is to say that I’ve found it easy to follow a daily meditation practice. Experts in the field usually advise practicing at the same time every day. Some even suggest meditating twice a day. When I’ve tried to follow that plan, I quickly fall off the om bandwagon.

Chopra Center 21-Day Meditation Challenge

What does seem to work is if I try to find 15 to 20 minutes in my day, no matter what time it is. What’s also been helpful is doing the Chopra Center’s 21-day meditation challenge twice. The meditation challenge is a free program offered a few times a year. It’s delivered via email, and offers 15-minute daily sessions from different experts, including Deepak himself. You don’t need to be a Deepak devotee or spiritual seeker to benefit, just have an open mind and the desire to calm it.

The Sitting Habit

The current meditation challenge (now on day 18) is focused on love in its various forms. I find it quite different from the first one I did about a year and a half ago, which seemed less structured. But they both have helped me kick-start the sitting habit. The guidance from the experts and the short length of the sessions is also ideal for beginners easing into the practice.

15 Minutes a Day

Have I had any epiphanies or noticed any dramatic changes in my life? Not so far. But I have observed a slightly less reactive tendency and even a little more positive frame of mind. And for that, I’m willing to devote 15 minutes a day.

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