How many of you are waking up to another snow day? Besides those living in the ski-friendly state of Colorado, raise your hand if you are excited for more snow, ice, sludge and cold? When I lived in Seattle I experienced six weeks of no sun. Winter and fall were all gray with an occasional peek of light until the arrival of summer. Fortunately, I found that my meditation practice protected me against the mood dips associated with diminished sunlight, a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
The American Psychiatric Association defines SAD as “a subtype of major depressive episode.” Like regular depression, it is characterized by general sadness and lack of energy, weight loss or gain, inability or excessive desire to sleep, mood swings and the urge to withdraw socially.
The difference is that it’s seasonal, hence the “Winter Blues” nickname. Thankfully, the blues-busting power of meditation is easy to tap. And this is not my personal bias. Medical and academic institutions from Harvard to the Mayo Clinic have acknowledged meditation’s health and mood enhancing benefits.A few conditions it’s been noted to help include:
• Endorphin Production
How can one tap this goldmine of benefits? I recommend a 3-Step Process:
1. Balance Your Energy
- Inhale through the nose for 10
- Hold the breath for 10
- Exhale through the nose for 10
- Repeat 3 to 6 times
- Why: Regulated breathing helps harmonize brain waves.
2. Third Eye Meditation
- Sit up straight
- Close the eyes and gaze up to the point between the eyebrows
- Keep the eyes relaxed yet focused
- Watch the breath:
- With each inhale repeat a focus word like “peace or joy”
- with each exhale repeat a focus word like “calm or love”
- Keep awareness at the forehead or top of the head
- Remain passive – don’t seek outcomes
- Do 10 – 20 minutes twice daily
- Why: Concentration on the frontal lobes and crown of the head stimulates the pineal and pituitary glands and mood-elevating, mind-enhancing hormones.
- Recall a joyful event
- Focus on the feelings
- Bathe in the joy; bring it to the rest of your day
- Why: Mental imagery reproduces the same chemical processes as actual events.
Practicing this 3-Step process – Balance Your Energy, Third Eye Meditation, & Visualization will raise your energy, enhance your emotional state and life quality. These are not pills but time-tested skills … and they will deliver. Practice them and you’ll be a happier, healthier, more life-affirming person for it!
Originally published on GenConnect.