Think of meditation as a powerful tool that you can use in a myriad of ways. This impactful practice can make a positive impact on your life in regards to both your body and mind, so learning how to harness its power is essential.
Perhaps you’ve heard of meditation from a friend who loves practicing it or from your favorite wellness blogger, but it seems intimidating. The truth is there are several different types of meditation, and it might take a while to take the one that’s intrinsic to your spirit. Once you do, however, you can use it to impact your mind and body.
We’re going to discuss all things meditation today. First, we’ll work out a definition, discuss how you can begin to meditate, and talk about the incredible impact it can have.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is widely discussed and revered in the wellness community, but if you’re unsure what exactly it is, we are here to help.
First, we want to dive into what meditation is about, and what it isn’t.
We don’t meditate to become a new person, to transform ourselves, or to become a better person. Instead, it’s about training yourself in awareness. Meditation will provide you with a healthy sense of perspective that can prove valuable in a variety of ways.
There’s a common misconception that meditation means turning off your feelings or thoughts. In fact, it’s the contrary. Meditation is about simply observing these thoughts free of attachment or judgement. Eventually, this could lead to a more robust understanding of them as well, but the practice is really rooted in observation and letting go.
Meditation is one way that you can become more mindful. Mindfulness refers to the ability to be present and in the space you’re currently in. People who are mindful are fully engaged in the moment and the people they’re with. They’re not concerned with the past or future. Instead, now is all that counts. Mindfulness is interesting because it’s not something that you can buy or acquire. It’s something that is already inside of you, innate to your being. Still, there are ways that you can work to cultivate it.
We invite you to think of meditation as a skill. Like any other skill, you likely won’t be the best at meditation the first time you do it. That is okay! Patience is a virtue, especially with this exercise.
Practice consistently and you’ll begin to see growth. Try to avoid judging yourself while meditating for the first time. Trust us, you’ll get better at it as you grow your meditation muscle. And if one type of meditation isn’t resonating with you, try another. Part of the experience of meditating is the journey it takes to get there. Embrace it!
How To Meditate
So you’ve decided you want to try meditation. If you’re wondering where to get started, you’ll be happy to learn that meditation isn’t an overly complicated practice. Here’s how to begin meditating.
First, find a place to sit. Locate a spot that feels calm and quiet to you. If you’re in a noisy location or one where you feel judged or uncomfortable, you’re not going to be able to lean into the practice as much as you’d like to.
Next, set a time limit. Choosing a shorter amount of time when you’re just starting out can help the practice feel more manageable. As you get acclimated to meditating, you might find that you want a longer period of time to meditate. For now, begin with five to ten minutes.
Once you’ve picked your spot and set your time limit, it’s time to dive in. Notice what your body is doing. Sit in a chair or cross-legged — any position you can stay in for a while.
Now that you’re sitting, notice and follow the feeling of your breath as it enters and exits your body. If your mind wanders, that’s completely understandable. Your attention will move to other places or thoughts. If you notice this happens, don’t judge or chide yourself harshly. Simply return your attention to the breath.
Finally, when you’re ready to wrap up your practice, lift your gaze up and open your eyes if they’re shut. How does your body feel? What thoughts and emotions are coming up? Tune into any sounds around you.
When you finish meditating, remember to do so with kindness. Rather than fixating on the moments where your mind wandered, be kind to yourself and give yourself a pat on the back for doing something positive for your spirit.
Why Should I Meditate?
There are plenty of reasons why you should consider meditating--and they’re unique from one person to another. If you’re even slightly curious about how meditation can impact your life, you should explore it.
Meditation is not a cure-all, but it has tremendous value and can give you some space in your life. In addition to this, it’s accessible. All you need is a little time and a quiet environment. The most essential tools you can bring to a meditation exercise are patience, kindness, and a place to sit where you’re comfortable.
We could create a list a mile long of all the reasons why you should meditate. Some stand out, however, and we want to dive into those. The interesting thing about meditation is that it can have both bodily and mental positive impacts. This is just one reason it is a well-rounded practice for anyone.
The Impact of Meditation on the Mind
The first way that you can harness the power of meditation to strengthen your mind is by gaining an intricate understanding of your pain. This can be both mental and physical.
When you meditate, you’re creating space to be present in the moment. This pushes pain out of center stage, if only for a few minutes. By spending time meditating, you’re creating space for your mind to think freely without judgement. This could allow you to gain a greater comprehension of your pain.
Next, meditation can also help reduce your stress. Meditation is buoyed by the idea of being present instead of thinking about the past or future. If you find that you’re often overthinking and that leads to anxiety, meditation is a powerful aid that can help you be in the moment.
This is also why meditating reduces or even eliminates brain chatter. If you make meditation part of your daily routine, you’ll find that it extends outward to the rest of your life even when you’re not meditating. This can reduce over activity in the brain and help strengthen your ability to hone in on one thing.
The Impact of Meditation on the Body
Meditation is as much of a physical practice as it is a psychological, or mental, one. When you meditate, you’re connecting with your body. Since the exercise includes paying close attention to your breath entering and exiting your body, you’re strengthening the connection between body and mind when you practice it.
In addition, meditation is an exercise in staying still for an extended period of time. This bodily focus can help you in a myriad of other ways moving forward in both your personal and professional life.
Meditation is assumed to work due to its effects on your sympathetic nervous system. This increases your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure when you’re stressed. On the contrary, meditation can hep regulate these levels.
How Often To Meditate and How To Make It a Habit
Like most skills, you won’t be a pro the first time you meditate. There is one way to make significant strides with meditation, however. That means turning this practice into a habit.
You can designate a certain time every day to meditate, or you can take a more lax approach. Whatever the case, if you spend even five minutes per day for several months meditating, you’ll find that you make tremendous strides.
One way that you can do this is to set reminders for yourself, or even pencil meditation into your agenda.
Remember: when you meditate, you’re investing in you, and that is NEVER a waste of time.
Of course, how often you want to meditate is totally personal. If you want to get the full benefits out of the practice, you should set aside time once a day. Some people think that it’s ideal to start their day with meditation, and others like to end it with such. When you find something that works for you, you can stick with it.
Meditation is an incredibly powerful practice that can help strengthen your body and mind. It can impact your overall well being in a holistic way, and that’s why it’s worth looking into. Happy meditating!