Meditation can be a key to guiding us to manage stress and practice mindfulness throughout the day. Let's discuss the benefits of meditation and where to begin:
What is Meditation?
Meditation is an ancient technique to help you to stay focused and calm your mind. A meditative state opens your mind to the possibilities of knowing that you are powerful beyond measure.
All you need to do is to sit or stand in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. This can be done anywhere, anytime. You can even do it in the shower! Relieving stress also controls the heart rate and blood pressure.
Meditation and Stress
Meditation is about integrating the body and mind to find peace and tranquility. The simple thought of stopping your day and practicing breathwork becomes pretty self-gratifying.
The fact that you are feeding your lungs and blood flow with the essential nutrients needed to continue functioning is the ultimate reward your body needs after a long stressful event.
Eventually, you won't be able to think about anything else but meditating, as your body craves those essential nutrients to avoid high blood pressure or an elevated heart rate. The most important aspect of meditation is understanding when you need it. Being mindful of your stress is the most essential aspect of your health.
Meditation and Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a movement within the meditation world that promotes awareness of the present moment.
We all look at our phones and get distracted with social media or other news feeds which were not the main reason we picked up our phones (I'm definitely guilty of this).
The reason we often find it hard to meditate is because we have some many other things on our mind distracting us that we feel we don't have time to dedicate a small amount of time to do it. You DO though and you CAN! The first thing to do is crack the code in your brain to make it a part of your routine.
Meditation and the Brain
The brain and mind in general are ruled by the sympathetic nervous system. This is the system that takes charge in response to life-threatening situations. But this system can be over-active in everyday situations.
You may experience pain, sadness, and suffering because the nervous system is on high-alert. Not only does this stress you out, but it can also cause mental illnesses. To calm yourself down, it's helpful to activate the parasympathetic nervous system.
This is the system that we rely on to live healthy lives. There are different ways you can activate the parasympathetic nervous system. One of them is through breathwork. When you supplement your brain with a healthy dose of oxygen through breathing, it's like providing a cooling fan to an overheated computer. The wiring in your brain functions better, helping you to be more aware of the stressful environment.
Another major way to crack the code in your brain is to establish a habit loop of positive sensations associated with meditation. An example of a positive loop is when you take a shower in the early morning everyday because you know it will wake you up along with feeling clean, thus enhancing your social encounters during the day. The positive sensation of social encounters will make you want to take showers in the morning.
Meditation for Beginners
At the beginning of a new year, most people want to make a resolution that will make them more organized, positive, and confident throughout the year. But how do you keep the promise when you have stress and deadlines on top of everything? How do you get to work on time and get the best out of your day?
The secret lies within the power of MEDITATION. When you start meditating regularly, your mind is much more alert and awake, making it easier to get things done. While we all wish that we can have a more youthful and vibrant body, the truth is that the mind is also very important.
The easiest way to meditate is to first disconnect from your stressful environment. I don't necessarily mean walk away from your environment, because some people don't have the luxury of doing that. What I mean is, mute your stressful environment by putting in some noise-cancelling earbuds or headphones with calming music. Situate yourself in a comfortable position whether that's sitting in a seat or laying on your back on the floor. If you can't turn off the surrounding light, remove if from your environment with an eye mask. The blue light from computers and indoor lighting fixtures can still aggravate how your eye's activate which can enhance brain activity and keep you in your sympathetic or "fight" stage of awareness.
Once you establish your disconnected environment, establish a conscious breathing technique and attempt the example or video included below:
EXAMPLE: slowly breath in your nose for 5-4-3-2-1, hold for 3-2-1, breath out for 7-6-5-4-3-2-1, and repeat this 10 more times. If you can't inhale or exhale for the times give work within your limits and continue to build upon that as needed. Try it out and I guarantee you will generate a positive loop of feeling good