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
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

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…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

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…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

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.