The Mindfulness Meditation Hype04/09/2019
Why meditation should be a part of your daily routine
When we hear the word meditate, we often think of an ashram in some foreign country full of peaceful monks and ‘yogis’, sitting silently for hours on end. For those who have not yet experienced meditation, the thought of sitting silently can be daunting and uncomfortable. Especially if you are the type who is constantly on the go, thinking about spending time doing NOTHING seems a bit pointless and counteractive.
So, what’s the hype about mindfulness meditation these days?
Well, meditating, or in other words sitting and doing nothing, has many amazing benefits for not only your mind but also your body. Taking just 5 – 10 minutes a day to mindfully meditate will improve your focus, reduce stress and anxiety, and give you mental clarity.
Mindfulness and Science
Mindfulness meditation has been proven through scientific study, to weaken the neural pathways that are connected to stress and anxiety, while strengthening the neural pathways that calm and stabilize our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system(fight or flight). When our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are stabilized, this results in lower blood pressure, better lung capacity and better digestion. Not to mention it has also been proven to grow the grey matter (size) of the brain when practiced for a length of 28 minutes daily for 8 weeks. Yes, this seems like a lot of meditation for a long time, and this might not even be your goal, especially if you are a beginner, but benefits of meditation (even just 5 minutes a day) are exponential and life-changing, to say the least. So, now you can understand why there is such a big hype for mediation in today s world.
How do you begin to mindfully meditate if you’ve never done it before?
I will admit, your first-time meditating might feel a bit awkward and attending a meditation class for the first time can make anyone feel out of their comfort zone. Attending just any meditation class is not something I recommend as a first-timer – unless of course, it is a beginner’s class.
So, here are a few tips on how you can begin to meditate on your own:
- Create a space – this can be a corner in your house, a specific room, a favorite chair, basically anywhere you feel comfortable.
- Start with 5 minutes – if you are learning how to swim you wouldn’t jump off the deep end would you? No? I didn’t think so. Start small, start with 5 minutes and after a few weeks bump yourself up by 1 minute per week, soon you’ll be a pro!
- Use an app – There are a few good apps for beginner meditators that will guide you through how to meditate. I always recommend downloading at least 2 of them and finding which one you like the best. When it comes to guided meditations it’s all about personal preference. Calm and Headspace do an amazing job at guiding you into how to meditate. If you are looking for an app that focuses on meditation and breathwork, the Oak app is another great one! And finally, Insight Timer is another great app for those who feel a bit more adventurous and want something different – it has thousands of different meditations by instructors from all over the world.
- Treat meditation like brushing your teeth – make it a must in your daily routine, so much so that it is just something that becomes effortless, just like brushing your teeth.
- Find the best time of day that works for you – whether you do it right when you wake up, on your lunch or before you go to bed, find the right time it works for YOU and fits best into your schedule.
Mindfulness meditation is all about taking a moment to sit in stillness and find space in your day to allow thoughts and feelings, both emotional and physical to come through. Allowing these thoughts to come through will heighten your body awareness and help prevent injury in the future and promote a healthier and happier mind. So just begin with 5 minutes and make a habit out of it, your mind and body will thank you for it.
Below is a simple self-guided meditation that you can do at home!
Self Guided Meditation
Begin by finding a space where you are comfortable, either lie down or sit up tall with an alert but relaxed spine (sit up if you might fall asleep).
Close your eyes, and allow your focus to stay on your breath.
Breathing in and out.
Inhaling and exhaling, letting your body relax and sink down into the ground or seat beneath you.
Begin to count your breaths down from 30
As you inhale and exhale, 29… 28… 27…. continuing to count.
If you lose your count, or your mind wanders know that this is the nature of the mind and just bring that awareness back to your breath when you can and continue to count from the last number you remember.
When you reach 1, begin to gently wiggle your fingers and toes, and open your eyes.
You did it! You completed your first meditation! It is a lot easier than you would think and make it apart of your daily routine will improve your health.
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