Meditation is a proven way to reduce stress. And in the stressful society we’ve been living in nowadays, I feel like more people should be open to the practice.
I’ve known about meditation for quite a few years, but I only really started practicing it regularly when my anxiety kind of flared up last year due to a stressful situation. I’ve been practicing almost daily now for several months and have started noticing some real benefits from it. Meditation is great for my mental health, and it can be for yours too.
Benefits of Meditation
Meditation has become an ingrained part of my morning routine. The best times to meditate are actually in the morning when you first wake up and at night before bed.*
According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation has many emotional benefits as well as possible health benefits. If you have certain medical conditions that are worsened with stress, meditation can benefit you.
Emotional benefits of meditation include**:
- Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
- Building skills to manage your stress
- Increasing self-awareness
- Focusing on the present
- Reducing negative emotions
- Increasing imagination and creativity
- Increasing patience and tolerance
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, so obviously people are getting something out of it. There’s no harm in sitting down in the morning before work for 5 or 10 minutes to calm your mind and get ready for the day.
Meditation, I feel, is about learning to observe and not react so much to our thoughts and feelings. Just because a thought pops into our head doesn’t mean we have to dive into it. If you’re too busy thinking all the time, you’re not fully present and enjoying your life, which you should be because you only have one!
How to Meditate
To start your own meditation practice you don’t need any sort of special tools or equipment. All you need to do is make a commitment and put aside some time for it. As Shauna Shapiro says in her book Good Morning, I Love You, “What you practice grows stronger.” So the more meditation you do, the stronger your practice will become, and the calmer your mind will be.
Start meditating right now…
- Sit in an upright position in a chair or on the floor. If you’re on the floor you can put a pillow under your bottom so you can sit a little straighter. If you choose the floor, the video below may help you.
- Close your eyes and try and clear your mind.
- As thoughts come into your head, practice acknowledging them and then letting them pass through with love and kindness.
That’s it! The more you practice, the easier it will become to observe thoughts and let them pass. At first you may not even notice that you are thinking until you’re already knee deep into your to-do list for the next day. That is OK. Remember, what you practice grows stronger.
Do not worry about whether or not you’re doing it right. If you’re too busy worrying about meditating the “proper” way then you won’t actually be helping yourself. At that point you will be practicing worry and negativity, instead of calm and awareness.
It may help to focus your mind on one mantra like “I love myself” if you need to practice a little more self-compassion in your life or “I am strong” if you’re feeling run down. You can also focus on each breath as it goes in and out of your body.
A little background nature music can help set the tone or you can can use guided meditations to help you get in the vibe. My husband and I use the Calm app for our morning meditations. It has guided recordings as well as nature sounds and sleep stories if you need help falling asleep at night.
If you really commit to a daily practice, you could buy a buckwheat meditation pillow to sit cross-legged on the floor. It really helps you get into a nice straight comfortable posture. I love mine. They’re available on Amazon.
Now get out there and meditate!