WELLNESS--Meditation. We’ve all heard of it. Many of us have tried it. But few are able to stick with it.
By now, most of us know that meditating regularly has positive effects on our physical and mental state of being.
In fact, just 10-20 minutes per day of meditation has been scientifically proven to have numerous benefits, which I’ll list a bit later.
First let’s look at some of the reasons why we don’t meditate. Perhaps you’ll relate to some of these myths and maybe even re-think your daily practice.
- Meditation Doesn’t do Anything - most of us expect magical results when we meditate. We would like our problems and stresses to disappear immediately. While there can be rapid relaxation results, most benefits come from long-term and continual practice.
- You’ll Stop Thinking - The myth is that we will enter into a blissful state and stop all negative thoughts. In fact, it is very difficult if not impossible to “stop” our thoughts. Instead the goal should be to “catch” our thoughts and then to gently let them go while focusing back on our mantra or breath. Expecting to stop thoughts is a sure way to sabotage your meditation practice.
- We may Become Spacey and Ungrounded - Many people worry that they’ll lose all motivation and drive if they meditate regularly. In fact, the opposite is true. Successful business people from all walks of life, all over the world, meditate daily. They are convinced that much of their success is due to their daily practice.
Now, as promised, here are just some of the numerous benefits:
- Studies have shown that those who meditate regularly have lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Meditation opens you up to new realms of possibility. Your intuition begins to play a bigger role in your life. You will be more easily be able to listen to that quiet voice and make better decisions day to day.
- Meditation has been shown on MRI’s to increase certain grey areas of the brain that are related to the memory and attention span.
- Meditation has been shown to positively affect the “fight or flight” response, making us more calm, and relaxed.
- Taking regular time to meditate has also been shown to improve immune function creating a stronger resistance to infections.
- Creating a morning practice of meditation even just for a short period, increases levels of self-love and love for others. It literally helps the heart to bloom open, making you more in touch with emotions as well as helping you to forgive others more easily.
The best way to begin your meditation practice is to start with small, achievable goals. Begin with 5 minutes per day. Simply find your favorite place in your home to sit quietly. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. When your thoughts wander, bring them back to your breath. Set a timer if you’d like and ensure no interruptions. Gradually up your practice by 1 minute per day until you reach 20 minutes.
You can also download a free meditation app on your smartphone such as CALM or OMG. I can Meditate! Perhaps light a candle, play soft music, and do your best to create the same time frame every day for your practice.
You can also look into Transcendental meditation or TM classes near you. In these classes, you’ll learn more about meditation and they’ll give you a personal mantra to focus on while you’re meditating.
The most challenging part of meditating is beginning. Why not make THIS THE YEAR that you commit to this important and life-changing practice and see first-hand how it will benefit you and those around you.
(Jay Bradley is an anti-aging, wellness & lifestyle coach living in Los Angeles. http://jaybradleylifestyle.com. He is the author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)