What do chants, mantras, novenas, and meditations have to do with one another? They’re all spiritual expressions — seeking communion with a higher power. Studies suggest that prayer can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and encourage healing. But even if you don’t subscribe to a specific faith, you can benefit from introspection and meaning. The human condition begs for enlightenment and peace; the soul yearns to speak and grow. Use these traditions to tap into your own spirituality.
Contemplation: Try to consciously dedicate 10 minutes a day to slowing your breathing, calming your thoughts, and listening for revelations.
Relaxation: If stress is mounting, stop, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. Utter a simple, repetitious phrase — it can be a formal prayer or your own personal affirmation.
Altruism: One study found that people who practice meditation or prayer deactivate the brain area (right parietal lobe) that tethers self-centeredness. This can aid in spiritual experiences, psychological health, and ability to help yourself or others.
Appreciation: In any quiet moment — while driving, brushing your teeth, or showering — proclaim gratitude for your blessings. Prayer and introspection aren’t just requests; they’re a gesture of thanks for what you have.