Superheroes meditate…(Now will you do it?)

Dr. Brett HowardMental Health, Performance

The internet searches have been completed, and the results confirm that every major superhero (and most super-villains) can be found doing some sort of meditation. Wonder Women meditates, Superman meditates, most X-men & Magneto meditate, Yoda & other Jedi meditate and I’m pretty sure Darth Vader was sporting some serious lotus pose just prior to the opening of that big black soccer ball.

Not to suggest that all our resilience skills be modeled after the self-care activities of fictional characters, but there must be some value within a practice that is so commonly portrayed among our superheroes, no?

Turns out…there is.

Meditation is just darn good for you, and there are a grip of benefits that can come from a regular meditation practice. As stated in The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook, meditation has been used successfully as a treatment, adjunct treatment and preventative of:

• High blood pressure
• Heart disease
• Migraine headaches
• Diabetes
• Arthritis
• Obsessive thinking
• Anxiety
• Depression
• Hostility

And the stress management science literature says that meditation has been shown to:

• Lower the heart rate
• Induce adaptive improvements in the endocrine and immune systems
• Mediate the experience of pain
• Reduce stress hormone levels (i.e., cortisol)
• Improve self-concept & self-acceptance

“…yes, I would like these effects, please.”

Agreed! And one of the easiest ways to begin a meditation practice is to schedule time for it each day in your planner (or Google calendar). Start out with just 10 minutes a day of meditation and work up to 20 or more minutes over time.

Much of the research that has been done on the benefits of meditation have focused on the type called “mindfulness meditation.” Mindfulness meditations are often practiced through continuous, non-judgmental attention and focus on one’s own breath. Step-by-step directions are found at Psychology Today.

And focusing mindful attention on your breath is only one of the many ways you can incorporate a meditation practice into your daily routine.

No matter what method you choose, meditation is a self-care practice that can provide profound benefits to your physical and mental health. It’s no longer an activity relegated to the gurus and alternative practitioners of the world, it’s something superheroes do (and Darth Vader, at times too).