There is no argument that we live in a fast-paced world that requires our attention on demand. We live in a world where mindfulness is discouraged, and multi-tasking is encouraged. We try to carry on conversations while also managing incoming texts and email on a small computer we carry around in our pocket disguised as a phone. As the world demands more from us as a whole, we give less of ourselves to the moment. So how can we combat these societal norms and regain our mindfulness? Incorporating meditation into your daily routine can help! Although meditation has roots in Buddhism it has now become a non-secular practice; the focus is on your inner self, not on another person or spiritual being. Continue reading to find out about the benefits of daily mediation and how to get started in meditating today.
Benefits of Meditation
- Stress reduction – stress increases a hormone in your body named cortisol which produces the harmful effect of stress such as disrupted sleep, depression, brain fog, and fatigue. Meditation has been shown to decrease these biological responses to stress.
- Less stress helps to control anxiety – as a domino effect, if you struggle from anxiety you may notice your anxiety peaks at times that you are feeling stressed. Reducing stress through meditation will help control anxiety.
- Improves emotional health and self-awareness – depending on the type of meditation you choose to explore, you may focus on developing a greater understand of your inner self and how you choose to respond to outside stimuli; you may also focus on how outside stimuli makes you feel emotionally. Both reflections will help improve your own
- Improves overall brain function including concentration and memory – focusing your attention is like lifting heavy weights, you have to increase your ability in increments over time. You might find it is difficult to focus your mind when you first begin meditating but sticking with it will allow to build up longer meditations and will benefit your concentration in other aspects of life. Meditation also impacts memory especially if you combine chanting with your practice.
- Helps to improve sleep – do you have trouble falling asleep at night? You’re not alone, 35% of adults do not get the recommended amount of sleep they should. Meditation teaches you to focus your thoughts and release tension. Building these skills in your practice will help you flex those skills when you are experiencing some restless nights.
- Helps in pain control – pain is both perceived in your mind and is a physiological response. People who have developed their skills in meditation are able to cope with pain better and can experience a reduced sensation of pain.
How to Begin a Daily Meditation Practice
Meditation is a habitual practice – it takes time and patience to train your mind to focus on redirecting your thoughts. There are many different ways you can meditate, but here are a few basics tips:
- Sit or lay down in whatever position is most comfortable to you
- Close your eyes (you can also use a weighted eye mask to help enhance this sensation)
- Take a few natural breaths
- Focus on how you are breathing – Notice the movements of your body, focus on your natural rhythm without trying to control your breath, and if your mind starts to wander take your focus back to your breathing.
- Start with 2- to 3-minute sessions and elongate those sessions as you feel comfortable. You can also explore different apps that lead you through meditation if you are interested in more guidance.