Practicing meditation and mindfulness helps create a safe space for communities of color.
Meditation is a technique used to enhance awareness and focused attention. Meditation is a great way to relax and reduce stress. It helps people cope with everyday stressors, and it also improves overall physical and emotional well being.
For communities disproportionately exposed to stress, specifically the Black community, meditation is an effective way to deal with the daily stressors in life.
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, across many different cultures. Almost every religion includes some form of meditation as part of their practices. Many people practice meditation independent of any religion, and there are different types of meditation people choose to practice.
Types of Meditation
Meditation takes on various different forms. The two main ones are:
- Concentrative Meditation
- Mindfulness Meditation
This type of meditation is focused on putting all your attention towards one specific thing. You tune out everything else around you, aside from this one specific thing. You may choose to focus on your breath, a specific word, or a mantra. The ultimate goal of this form of meditation is to really experience the thing you’re focusing on.
The two main mindfulness meditations are mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). The main focus of mindfulness meditation is to target a specific issue, such as depression. It’s main goal is to make you aware of the present moment, open yourself up to new possibilities, and overall make you more aware and accepting of things around you.
The Benefits of Meditation
There are many benefits to meditation.
One of the biggest is it reduces stress levels. Stress is one of the leading causes of illness and disease, and it can cause serious health issues such as high blood pressure, headaches, insomnia, and anxiety.
Studies show stress-related health conditions disproportionately impact the black community and other communities of color. Since stress can lead to many health issues, it’s important people in these communities find healthy ways to cope.
Meditation is a cost effective and easily accessible way to help cope with life’s stressors. It has been proven to present many benefits, including:
Meditation helps your body gain physical and mental rest. It also helps positively impact your entire nervous system. When your nervous system is well regulated, your body is better equipped to deal with stressful situations.
Meditation is a simple practice that anyone can do. You don’t need any special equipment or training to start meditating. All you need is a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Sit comfortably in a chair or lie down on a bed or couch. Close your eyes and take three deep breaths. Focus on your breathing as you inhale and exhale. As you breathe, imagine yourself relaxing completely. Imagine your body becoming heavy and relaxed. Let go of everything else and just relax.
Studies have actually shown that those who meditate tend to live longer! Meditation can help you slow down the aging process, because you’re reducing the amount of stress you’re exposed to.
Improves Total Health
Meditation will improve your health by making your immune system stronger, reducing your blood pressure, and decreasing your cholesterol levels. It is a powerful natural form of treatment to improve many health conditions.
Meditation quite literally has the power to make you a happier person! People who meditate are shown to be less stressed, sleep better, healthier, and generally have a more positive outlook on life.
Resilience is especially important for communities of color. As a person of color, the sad reality is you will face many microaggressions in life. Practicing mindfulness helps us grow to be more resilient to these microaggressions, within ourselves. It’s similar to when we exercise and our muscles need time to rest so they can grow stronger. Mindfulness helps our minds rest after experiencing harsh realities in the real world, so we can cope better.
Before you can have a strong relationship with anyone else, you need to build your relationship with yourself. Mindfulness helps you pay attention to yourself, your thoughts, and show up in your life as the most authentic version of you. When you learn to practice authenticity in your daily life, you will attract new relationships and strengthen existing ones that add immense value to your life. Meditation helps you recognize what you truly want out of relationships, and makes you empowered to walk away from ones that are no longer serving you in your season of life.
Mindfulness requires you to take time out of your day to acknowledge your own self-sabotaging behaviors. When you take time to sit down with yourself, you’re processing those difficult emotions. But by processing these emotions, you’re also giving yourself a chance to practice compassion, respect, and love towards yourself.
Strengthens Mind-Body Connection
As someone in the Black community, experiencing racial trauma impacts your mental health and in turn causes your physical health to suffer. This is a huge reason why those in the Black community are disproportionately likely to suffer from stress-related health conditions. Far too often, the hustle culture of modern day society causes you to feel the need to always work and never rest. And when you do rest, you get sick because your body is exhausted. Mindfulness helps us build a mind-body connection. It helps you recognize that your emotional and physical health are largely intertwined, and you cannot have one without the other.
The list of benefits associated with meditation go far and wide. When addressing health related concerns for those in the Black community, meditation is a very effective way to improve overall health.
Black health and wellness is crucial to address when looking at overall health, so it’s important we talk about it. Ready to connect with a mental health provider who can help you incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine?
Then Connect2Heal is here for you! We make it simple for you to find a healthcare provider who shares the same racial/cultural background as you. Get started today.