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Improve your health – one breath at a time

When you’re stressed, your body releases adrenaline, a hormone that speeds up your heart rate and breathing, and increases blood pressure and blood flow to your muscles. Meditating can counteract the effects of adrenaline by producing a deep state of relaxation. Other benefits of meditation include lower blood pressure, reduced muscle tension and prevention of heart disease. It also increases mental focus, which can help with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

New to meditation? Here are 4 tips to get you started:

  1. You can go it alone. You don’t need an organized group or meditation center to get started. If you want to start a meditation practice on your own, it’s easy to find meditation apps, meditation music apps, CDs and online videos to guide you through the process.

  2. Set the stage. There is no one right way to meditate. But it helps to do it in an environment with minimal distractions, in a comfortable, seated position.

  3. Focus on your breathing. Try focusing on measured breathing (breathe in for a count of two; breathe out for a count of two) while trying to quiet the thoughts that race through your mind. If you get distracted, quickly acknowledge the distraction and bring your focus back to your breathing.

  4. Consistency is key. A meditation practice of just 10 minutes per day can make a big difference in your long-term physical and emotional health.