In the 80’s and 90’s if one mentioned “meditation”, eyes would roll and corny jokes about hippie happenings and cosmic inner alignment would follow. It was a practice reserved for the special birds and weird people.
In today’s world, though, meditation has gained quite the following due to rising work loads and increasing noise / stress from being “plugged in” 24/7. It has become an acceptable go-to practice for many, especially now that there is scientific “proof” that meditation supports a variety of health benefits such as lowered blood pressure, anxiety / depression relief, and improved cognitive performance.
Over the last decade there has been a great shift… It seems that nowadays if you AREN’T meditating, then you are way behind the times.
Personally, I use meditation to quiet my busy mind and high rate of idea flow.
My mind has a bad case of monkey chatter, and some days it just won’t shut up. It can babble about irrelevant nothings, and is especially annoying at night when it wants to rehash every worrisome detail possible and all I really want to do is go to sleep.
Through meditation, I can quiet the chatter to be present for the important guidance that is just waiting to surface, not just for me, but for my clients as well.
Meditation was also one of the tools that helped me find relief during a time in my life when I was experiencing tremendous anxiety. I became much more connected to my spirit which gave me the strength and courage to make the changes needed to trade panic and overwhelm for fulfillment and alignment.
“If you don’t have time to meditate for 5 minutes, then you need to meditate for an hour.”
I think many still resist developing a meditation practice because they have this belief that it must LOOK a certain way. That you have to sit on a pillow for 30 minutes, with legs crossed, while joining fingers that probably mean something important but you have zero clue what. Or you have to take a class to learn how.
The truth is…
Meditation is less about a formal technique and more about a process that works for you to achieve the same result.
Frankly, I find taking a shower meditative. Some of my best ideas are born there.
For others its gardening in silence, washing dishes, or sitting for a few minutes on a favorite park bench during a morning walk. I sometimes get on the treadmill without any headphones or distractions, and just let the consistency of my pace lull me into a trance. And yes, every morning I do sit on my pillow and take 5 minutes to start the day focused and calm.
There are guided forms of meditation which can be helpful for beginners. Oprah and Deepak Chopra run free 21-day meditation experiences.
Or you can simply just focus on your breathing, or pick a mantra to repeat.
Meditation is healthy for the mind, body, and soul.
Here are some benefits of meditation:
- Reduces anxiety by helping you regulate your breathing, which impacts blood flow thus calming your heart rate and nervous system.
- Clears thought processes for increased productivity and focus.
- Improves your immune system through its ability to decrease stress levels in your body. It’s beneficial for those with allergies, chronic diseases, and for people who just had surgery.
- Helps you regulate weight by supporting the part of the brain that regulates behavior, thus improving impulse control.
- Helps women with infertility issues, again, due to its ability to reduce stress and relax the body. Stress can interfere with hormones that activate ovulation.
- Helps you gain confidence and improve emotional well-being by increasing serotonin levels. Serotonin is responsible for controlling your fears, insecurities, phobias and other negative attitudes, steering you toward a more positive outlook.
- Sleep improves as you gain the ability to quiet your mind quicker and more effectively.
Remember, meditation is not about following a specific format. Just pick something that resonates and start there. Commit to 5 minutes a day, and build from that.