So much is in the media about mindful meditation and apps for quick access to guided meditations are abundant. While I’m pleased to see a rise in awareness and access, it is important to realize that meditation is a skill which should be taught by an experienced instructor and practiced in a consistent and intentional manner to optimize outcomes.
While reading a review today:
Lynch, J., Prihodova, L., Dunne, P. J., Carroll, A., Walsh, C., McMahon, G., & White, B. (2018). Mantra meditation for mental health in the general population: A systematic review. European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 23, 101-108.
I came across the authors’ quote in the discussion section, “All studies make reference to the fact that meditation is a skill that requires expert instruction and time dedicated to practice – this is something that should be taken into consideration, both for future trials and for programmes implemented in occupational settings.”
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs are offered in most communities and can be accessed virtually as well – this program is an evidence based program was developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society™.
MBSR is not the only approach and meditation may be taught from a more scientific lens or a more spiritual perspective. The key is finding an instructor who is experienced and allows for a safe experience introducing you to a range of meditation practices and providing encouragement and support to allow you to become consistent in your practice and bring mindful living concepts into your day to day life.
Keep up your breath counting and use that app if they helpful tools…but perhaps this year find some time to take a course or attend a retreat to bring your practice to a new level.