Living in today’s fast-moving world is challenging, could meditation help? Some of us continuously juggle multiple priorities and pressures – some enforced on us by others, some that we self-impose. Few of us know what it feels like to slow down and be deliberate about actions and thoughts. Instead, we suffer from the strain of constant business. Many people are exhausted in today’s stressed out, distracted society and find life in the rat race frustrating.
When we think about meditation, we may think of people in yoga-like poses, sitting cross-legged on the floor but creating a pause for thought is not just that.
How can you start your thinking or meditation time?
- It’s much easier to create a new habit when you make it part of your daily routine. This is why meditating first thing in the morning works so well. Your daily meditation becomes part of what you do to get ready in the morning. Try meditating after you get out of the shower or even before getting out of bed in the morning. Set your alarm to go off 10 minutes earlier, and start your day with a short meditation session. It will quickly become a habit since it is part of an already established routine. For our guide to your first meditation click here.
- If including your daily meditation practice into an existing routine isn’t an option, make a new one. It’s helpful to stick to roughly the same time each day when establishing a new habit. In the beginning, you may find it challenging to get into the swing of things, so set an alert on your phone to remind you to meditate. Those who know me know how much I believe that forming a useful habit can help embed a new practice. Commit to this new meditation habit for 30 days. Check them off on a calendar and do what you can not to miss a day. At the end of the 30 days, you will have started establishing the new habit and sticking to it in the future will be much easier.
- Guided tools such as headspace or calm can help you quickly get to a place of quiet and focused thought. They deliver a structured program that introduces perhaps life-changing awareness. These and other tools like them, invite you to work on specific challenges that you may have such as insomnia, anxiety or a bad habit.
For example – If the challenge you have is insomnia, this may be represented externally through grumpiness with others or excess drinking.
- Starting with one area of your life can be the start before moving onto another area and so on. We now accept that meditative techniques can help you regain control in your out-of-control world. We also now understand that meditating regularly can help us reduce stress and anxiety, increase self-awareness and attention span, and improve memory retention.
Meditation Helps Reduce Your Stress
When you are stressed, your body reacts by releasing cortisol. You may find you have insomnia, anxiety, and increased blood pressure. Meditation helps reduce your stress and the amount of cortisol released in your body.
Meditation Lessens Anxiety in Some
Stress can increase anxiety in some people. As they learn some meditation techniques to reduce stress, they will also lower their anxiety levels. It helps you cope better in those anxiety-triggering situations.
Meditation can have a Positive Increase on Your Emotional Health
A consistent meditation practice can improve your self-image and increase your positive outlook on things. In general, you will experience fewer negative thoughts as you grow in the course of meditating.
Become More Self-Aware
Understanding yourself enables you to make better decisions and improve your life. It also helps you in relating to others around you. You can learn more about yourself, what makes you tick, and increase your problem-solving skills by meditating.
Increase Your Attention Span
Can you hold a thought for longer than 30 seconds? Many cannot. Enter the discipline of focused-attention meditation. With regular practice, you may find your attention span lasts longer than your two-year-old for the first time in months.
Improve Your Memory
If you want to fight off age-related memory loss and dementia, meditation may be what you need. It helps improve your focus, memory, and mental clarity and is an excellent tool to keep your mind sharp.
Increase Your Empathy with Others
Depending on the type of meditation you choose; you may find that your feelings of kindness and empathy grow. You will learn to extend forgiveness to others and even yourself.
Fight Your Addictions
Be it alcohol, drugs, sugar, or food; addictions affect your life and relationships. Some types of meditating can help you learn to redirect your attention, emotions, and impulses. You will also better understand what is behind your addiction so that you may overcome it.
So how do meditative practices work?
We understand that working on our focus can produce a deep state of relaxation and calmness. This allows for a ‘hot’ mind to ‘cool’ down removing jumbled thoughts and conflicting messages from your thinking.
I often draw the analogy with cup of water. There is only so much water that you can fit in the cup before it overflows – this is the same with the human mind and overflowing can be calamitous. Working in a meditative state can help reduce this water level and encourage us to be more open to different ideas.
Would I recommend meditation? Absolutely – I would suggest that anyone gives this a go.