Ok, so this is primarily a fitness and nutrition blog, but I like to throw in a little self care here and there because it’s important to be good to yourself!
I’m sure by now that you’ve heard all about the amazing health benefits of meditation. It has a tremendous positive impact on not only the mind, but also on the body.
“Any condition that’s caused or worsened by stress can be alleviated through meditation, says cardiologist Herbert Benson, MD, well known for three decades of research into the health effects of meditation. He is the founder of the Mind/Body Institute at Harvard Medical School’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.”
From Jeanie Lerche Davis, via WebMD.
Most people know that meditation can ease stress, but did you also know it can help to ease chronic pain, reduce anxiety, improve heart health, as well as boost immunity and mood? That’s some pretty powerful stuff!
The problem, however, is that most people in this day and age weren’t raised to include meditation into their lives as a daily practice. Most people I’ve spoken with would love to start meditating but aren’t really sure how to begin.
If you’re picturing a saffron-robed monk sitting still for hours on end at the top of a snow-capped mountain, you might benefit from the following tips designed to help anybody include meditation into their daily routine.
It might sound simple, but nature has healing power. Make sure you get outside every day and enjoy the beauty the outdoors has to offer. Take some time to sit quietly and just appreciate the sights and the sounds of the outdoors. Even if you only take ten minutes during your lunch break to step outside and observe some flowers or birds, you will come back to work feeling much more balanced and relaxed than when you started.
Do something you love doing.
Another thing that sounds simple, but many people don’t do. Have you ever noticed when you’re engaged in a hobby or activity that you enjoy, there’s not much time left for worrying about all of life’s stresses? Believe it or not, this is a form of meditation! Take some time every day to focus wholeheartedly on an activity you enjoy, be it yoga, drawing, writing, listening to music, or playing the guitar. Whatever it is that allows you to focus completely on the task at hand will help you to give your mind a break.
Meditate while you wait.
If you find yourself in a situation where you’re waiting for something, be it sitting in the doctor’s waiting room, waiting for your train to arrive, or waiting for a friend to meet you at the coffee shop, this is an excellent opportunity to take a few moments to meditate. This doesn’t mean you have to sit in the lotus position, close your eyes, and say “OM,” however. All you need to do is sit quietly without the distraction of your phone or a magazine. Focus on an object 5-10 feet away from you, and listen to your breathing. Even just a few moments of this will help you to calm your mind and fit a little relaxation into your day.
Meditate before bed.
If you have trouble sleeping at night, a little meditation right before bed might be just the thing to help you relax into the night. For this kind of meditation, I recommend laying flat on your back and closing your eyes. Just focus on your breath as you breathe in and out. Don’t worry too much about the thoughts that will inevitably pop into your head. Just acknowledge those thoughts and then let them go. Any time you find yourself getting distracted, don’t worry about it. That’s natural. Just go back to focusing on your breathing. Do this for 10-15 minutes right before bed each night and you’ll find yourself more relaxed, centered, and ready to go to sleep. It’s a fantastic way to end the day.