I always include daily meditation in any foundation of self-care whether for my clients or myself. It is THE number one way to change both your mindset and your intentions on a daily basis. While any self-care regime can be challenging to structure into your day, meditation offers a simple, time-efficient and effective strategy for changing the your mental outlook.
Meditation is not:
- a religious practice or prayer. It has nothing the do with religion and therefore doesn’t conflict with any religious beliefs.
- a mystical practice or a trance-like state. It’s an opportunity to quiet the voice in your head.
- reserved for holy men or spiritual gurus. Meditating is a spiritual practice that meets you wherever you are in your journey.
- just a relaxation technique. The benefits of meditation go beyond the physical. It opens the door to your soul.
- a way to control your mind. Rather, it’s awakening of consciousness.
Why Should You Meditate?
People start meditating for different reasons. Some are drawn to meditation for its health benefits, and others are seeking relief from emotional or mental suffering. Other’s adopt meditation as part of a self-care or manifestation routine. It doesn’t matter what route you take, the important thing is that you made it here! As you can see, the benefits of meditation are immeasurable.
- Meditation literally grows your brain.
- increases blood flow to your brain
- reduces cortisol production.
- reduces blood pressure and heart rate
- increases neuroplasticity
- increases the production of good neurotransmitters including serotonin and dopamine
- triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, enabling rest and recovery from stress.
- boosts the immune system
- muscle relaxation
- decreases headaches
- promotes restful sleep
- slows the aging process
- helps control pain
- calms the nervous system
Mental and Emotional Benefits
- increases stress resilience
- lowers anxiety and eases social interactions
- creates awareness & increases focus
- reduces feelings of depression and increases positive emotions
- increases feelings of empathy & kindness
- decreases feelings of regret, guilt, worry
- generates kindness
- increases capacity to learn thru stimulation of the pre-frontal cortex
- increases your sense of connection to yourself and others
- creates a loving attitude toward others
- increases emotional stability & intelligence
- increases memory and decision-making skills
If you’re a beginner, the most important thing is to just get started right away! Here are some tips so you can jump right in!
- Create an inviting space. Carve out a peaceful, quiet and uncluttered area. Place a few items that inspire good vibes. Open a window to bring in the fresh air or use aromatherapy.
- Decide on the time of day that works best for you or choose several smaller times during the day. Making this part of your routine is more important than how often or when you meditate. I often take several meditative breaks when I need them throughout the day. I get a re-set on focus and intention.
- How much time you meditate will depend on you! When you first begin practicing, you’ll probably meditate for 5-10 minutes. Eventually, you may want to increase the time.
- Posture. Sit upright in a chair or on the floor. Getting comfortable enough not be distracted by body discomfort can be tricky.
- Focus on your breath. This is the best entry point into meditation. Connect to the natural rhythm of your breath and the falling and rising of your belly. Relax more deeply with each breath you take.
- What do you do when your thoughts distract you? Inevitably, your mind will start to wander. But, don’t force yourself not to think. Instead, acknowledge the thought without reacting to it, then release it. Return back to your breath and relax into its natural rhythm.
The Universe is made up of 5 elements, and each finger represents one element. The hand positions you use during meditation are called Mudra. They are thought to move prana (energy) through the body to the brain, connecting them. There are a variety of hand positions you can use for specific results.
The main Mudras are Jnana Mudra and Dhyana Mudra, however there are several options. Find a style that works for you or don’t use one at all. You can find a full list of them here.
When you meditate, you can simply observe your breath, or use a mantra. Mantra literally translates to mind (man) and tra (instrument). Deepak Chopra explains that a mantra is “an instrument of the mind and a powerful sound or vibration that you can use to enter a deep state of meditation.” Mantras assist in creating a rhythm to the mediation and are thought to deepen the state.
If you’re interested in using a mantra, you can find some information here about what might work for you.
Bottom line: Meditation is your best way to engage in a self-care routine. doesn’t have to be perfect or fit a specific outline. There are many different kinds of meditation and I’m sure that as more people embrace it, there will be even more different varieties. But meditation changes your brain in the most beneficial ways. By practicing it daily, you will create a new consciousness that positively affects how you think, feel, and interact with the world around you! You will positively affect both your mental functioning and your health. Meditation is definitely worth a try!