Fend Off a Foul Mood

Most people may feel like they have to be happy all of the time, but the late-fall decrease in natural light and colder weather doesn’t exactly make for a cheerful mood. If your attitude plummets at this time of year, perhaps meditation is the key to a happier winter – and a happier you!

According to a release issued by the nonprofit Center for the Advancement of Health, scientists have demonstrated a link between a good mood and meditation. In one study, people who meditated regularly for eight weeks had “increased activity in areas of the brain related to positive emotion.” In other words, the emotional benefits of meditation aren’t just in your head.

Natalie Kowalski swears by it. “I actually started meditating to cope with my anxiety,” says Natalie, who was having panic attacks on a regular basis 10 years ago. Today her anxiety is under control, and she says she experiences more emotional well-being now than she thought possible when she first gave meditation a try.

Natalie began meditating on her own, but soon found her way to Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California. “Meditation can be hard at first,” she says, “so I really recommend starting out slowly. A few minutes a day is great.”

At first, Natalie attended short seminars in which leaders taught the basics of meditation. “They were always a challenge,” she remembers. “My back would hurt or I’d lose focus. I’d forget what I was doing completely and then remember – oh, right, I’m supposed to be meditating. Okay, back to the breath.”

She persevered because meditation calmed her anxiety. “It didn’t work right away, but after a few weeks of meditating a little bit most days, I realized I was feeling better.” Two years ago, she spent a month in silent meditation at Spirit Rock. “I would never have imagined such a thing when I started out,” she remembers with a laugh. “I was ready for it, though. That was an amazing month for me.”

Meditating doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time. To get started, just find a quiet place, sit comfortably, and close your eyes. Take a deep breath, then let it out slowly. Continue to inhale and exhale, drawing the air all the way into your lungs and focusing as much as you can on your breath. Worries and daydreams are likely to pop into your mind – they should be welcomed! Just release them as they come and go and concentrate again on your breath.

Meditation is traditionally a Buddhist practice, but people of all faiths can use it. “It’s really about being aware,” Natalie says. “[Meditating] doesn’t have to be about a particular set of beliefs.” For her – and many others – it’s about staying healthy and happy.

Has the cold weather got you down? Get a psychic reading to get rid of the winter blues. Call 1.800.573.4830 or click here now.

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