In today’s world of deadlines, demands and a general desperation to create more time in our days, in order to get more done, it can be very easy to believe that there is no time to stop and meditate. However, if that’s how you feel than you’re the very person who needs to consider meditation or mindfulness. We understand that for physical fitness, we need to train our body – we can’t just get up one day and run a marathon. The same is true for for our mind – it requires a daily practice of ‘training’ and meditation can be part of that.
Meditation helps you to calm your mind, increases focus and help with time management – in other words, a short daily meditation practice will allow you to be more productive with the time you are given. A simple ten to fifteen minute breathing meditation can help you to activate your parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for rest and repair) and find some calm.
For centuries people have used meditation to move beyond the mind’s often stress-inducing thoughts. Today the variety of meditation techniques, traditions and technologies astound me, but the core of meditation remains the same: to bring peace to the mind and body and increase consciousness.
Meditation gives us the space to better understand our own mind. We can actively learn how to transform thoughts from negative to positive. It also teaches us how to overcome negative mindsets and plant constructive thoughts. Some people are drawn to meditation by recommendation from a health professional, to lower blood pressure and help with stress and restful sleep. Others find meditation as they’re seeking transformation for the unhelpful emotions they are experiencing. While the purpose and intention of meditation depends on the meditator – anyone who meditates regularly will benefit mentally, emotionally, physically and even spiritually.
Here are just some of the benefits of a regular meditation practice:
- A reduction in stress and anxiety and the ability to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for rest and repair).
- Better clarity of thought or less mental clutter.
- Regulation of high blood pressure (stress induced).
- Improved breathing (particularly with shallow breathers).
- Improved sleep (typically more restful and deep).
Try meditating early in the morning – perhaps before others in your household get up – as often this is the most peaceful time of the day. Appreciate it’s an active process, it’s hard to bring quiet to your mind and focus your attention to a single point. If you find your mind wanders, be kind to yourself and bring your focus back. Create the most nurturing environment you can, perhaps even light a candle. It’s also important you’re comfortable, you don’t have to sit cross-legged, and you can lie down or sit on a chair, whatever works for you.
Although many people try meditation at some point in their lives, typically only a few actually stick with the practice for the long-term. Read a few books on mediation or listen to instructional CDs. If you don’t feel like it’s something you can do by yourself sign yourself up for a course and have someone guide you in finding the right style of meditation for you. As with anything often one size doesn’t fit all, it can take a little bit of exploring to find the practice that works for you – but your mind, body and soul will love you for it!