Have you ever noticed how it’s the most inopportune times when you get burst of inspiration or amazing ideas?
- …It’s that 10 minute shower and all of a sudden you’ve imagined new stages for the program you’ve been working on.
- …Or it’s first thing in the morning as you wake up and all you wanna do is go back to sleep but your brain is on overdrive and it’s come up with the perfect segue for your presentation.
- …Or just as you’re falling asleep you get an epiphany on one of the steps to scale your business.
Why does this happen?
Because we’ve stopped. We’ve taken a moment. Because we’re not in front of technology. We’re not busy.
In these moments we’ve created space. And within that space lies clarity.
It’s this slow down of our minds that opens us up to new ideas, new innovations and allows our creativity to flourish as we gain new perspectives.
All this lies within the silence.
That’s the beauty of meditation.
It’s a deliberate way to create space that allows creativity and innovation to take over.
And a lot of people are freaked out by the idea of meditation. They’ve never done it before. They don’t know what it looks like.
It’s actually a very simple simple process and you can Google a ton of ways to meditate and find something that suits your style. You can meditate to music, have guided meditations, song meditations, yoga meditations…the list is endless.
The point is to create space.
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 creativity and innovation
- 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.
So here’s the starting point for you: Take one minute today and set an a comfortable chair with your eyes closed, with no distractions, in a private space and clear your thoughts. If you have problems clearing your thoughts focus on your breath and when those distracting thoughts come in, push them away again and focus on your breath. This takes a bit of practice but becomes easy quickly.
Put away guilt, obligation and distractions and just sit for a moment and free your mind.
Then tomorrow do two minutes.
Soon you’ll be up to 10 or 20 minutes once a day or perhaps shorter bursts more frequesntly. The key is to make this process your own, something that works for you and that you’re commited to.
Once you’ve mastered the art of silence, connection and breath through meditation, there are other aspects that you might want to incorporate.
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.
The Bottom Line
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 your mental outlook. By practicing it daily, you will create a new awareness 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.
Katrina Murphy is a Professional Intuitive Mindset and Confidence Coach in Ontario, Canada, serving clients across Canada and internationally. Katrina helps professionals to change the relationship that they have with themselves so they can reconnect both in their relationships and at work. She’s been featured in various publications and is the creator of the Power-Passion-Purpose Framework.