Why you need to meditate

Meditation can help you find some calm during your morning commute.

Forget what you think you know about meditation: You don’t need to sit cross-legged, you don’t need to light candles and you definitely don’t need to be a Buddhist monk. All you need, according to Jeff Cannon, author of “The Simple Truth,” is a willingness to quiet your brain for a few moments.

“Most people think of meditation as having to sit for half an hour, or going away on a weekend retreat,” he says. “It’s really just a focus of the mind. You can meditate walking. You can meditate standing. Scientists have found that with as little as 15 minutes a day, your brain actually starts remapping itself. To meditate for a couple of minutes gives you stability.”

And it’s not just good for improving your mental health: Your physical wellbeing benefits from meditation, too.

“There are almost endless studies right now on lower blood pressure, ability to control anxiety. They’re using it for people with ADD, cancer patients — they’re using it for pretty much anything that stress can negatively affect. More and more in the medical community are finding that it’s an important part of healing [and] recovery. After a 10-hour brain surgery I was out of the hospital in about three days, and the doctors were stunned because I wasn’t taking any pain medication — I was going back to meditating.”

Indeed, Cannon’s interest in meditation reached its height while he recuperated from a 10-hour surgery that removed six tumors from his brain.

“In the six months I had to seriously recover, I not only watched my brain slowly reboot itself, but I started reading more and more about neuroplasticity. [Scientists] used to think the brain was just a static organ, it didn’t change. But what they started learning was the brain actually remaps itself all the time. I started exploring more and more to say, ‘Well, if the brain can change, then why can’t we change the brain?’”

Cannon swears that if you pick up the habit, you’ll see results “within the first week.”

“You start noticing that instead of making rash decisions or responding to issues by habit, you all of a sudden start pausing your life.”

Cannon’s guide to meditation
   
If you’re sitting, move to the edge of your chair and make your back straight. Or, stand up straight.
   
Close your eyes and breathe in through your nose, into your stomach and hold it there for a couple of counts. Then breathe back out.
   
Slowly breathe in for a count of eight and then hold it for a count of two, then breathe back out for a count of eight. Place your attention on your breath, either on the tip of your nose, at the feel of your stomach as it moves or at the travel of air coming through your throat into your lungs and then back out.
   
Repeat the process.

Distractions will happen: It’s OK

“Your mind is there to be distracted. Just acknowledge that you have a thought. You can tell yourself, ‘Not now, this is my time to meditate,’ and come back to focusing on your breath. This morning I was meditating and you could hear a fire engine go by. You just acknowledge, ‘That’s a fire engine, OK, that doesn’t bother me right now.’”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

News

Mets mascot Mr. Met target of Bill Clinton…

Mets mascot Mr. Met has told how he ended up in the crosshairs of a Secret Service sniper rifle. The man behind the Mr. Met…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

NHL

Rangers draw first blood against Flyers in Game…

Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals 47 seconds apart to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.