Meditation is a time-honored method of improving health and a sense of well being. Meditation is not only associated with religious practice, but can also be adapted to suit people from all backgrounds and ages. Some people spend their entire lives pursuing meditation as a discipline, while others simply take a short break in their day to count breaths and to clear their minds.
Counting breaths is one of the most basic types of meditation, and is quite effective in relieving stress. The counting breaths meditation has been discussed by health guru, Andrew Weill, as a quick and effective way of improving mental and physical health. Anyone can perform this type of meditation, and it can be done in as little as five minutes.
First, close your eyes and try to clear your head of all extraneous thoughts. Concentrate only on your breathing, the way you inhale and exhale. You can count your breaths if you want to. As with many types of meditation, it is best to breathe in through your nostrils and out through your mouth. Try to think only of your breathing and the course of air as it goes through your body.
Another form of meditation used mantras, or specific words, to direct one's thoughts. You can use any word you wish, such as “Peace” or “Joy”, or simply a comforting sound. The mantra should be said over and over again while breathing evenly. It is said while exhaling, and you should direct your thoughts to the sound of the word.