- April. 19 2018
Clear your mind. Think of nothing but your intention or your mantra.
Breathe deep. In. Out. In through your nose. Out through your nose.
Ahhhhh… Can you feel the stress leaving your body?
Or, does the thought of sitting in meditation for even two minutes stress you out?
The act of sitting quietly, breathing deeply and thinking about nothing other than your breath or an intention you have for yourself or the world or just repeating a mantra silently in your mind can be hugely beneficial.
There is a growing body of scientific evidence pointing to the benefits, including a UCLA study which found that people who meditated for 20 years had better preserved brains than non-meditators as they aged. In 2011, a Harvard study of mindfulness meditation found it can actually change the structure of the brain. There are dozens of other studies showing meditation is good for us.
Laurel Crossley, a life coach and the founder of Opti-Mom, teaches meditation and mindfulness to children and families. She says the benefits of meditation are undeniable. “It does all does all sorts of great things for our mind and body, including lowering blood pressure, reduce stress and anxiety, and improves focus.”
Sarah Taylor is a small business owner who uses meditation every day to help her stay focused and shed the stress of daily life. “Sometimes I am in the car alone, sometimes I am in the hot tub and sometimes sitting in bed or at yoga. It clears my head. Allowing my mind to be clear, gently pushing away thoughts that might pop in while I am meditating, allows me to focus on what is important.” Taylor says clearing her mind of stress, regret and anger and focusing on positive thoughts helps her move about her day with a greater sense of purpose and focus.
Crossley says meditation is something everyone can do. “Everyone meditations differently and there is no right or wrong way to meditate.”
Here are some basic tips to help work the practice of meditation into your daily life:
Meditation is a practice and therefore needs to be practiced often but Crossley says it is important to start slowly. You don’t have to do it everyday to reap the benefits! Build up to a daily meditation practice. You can start by doing a short meditation of two minutes and each time adding more time to work up to several minutes. Work at your own pace.
Take a community meditation or yoga class. You can find a class for all levels of experience. It will give you a feel for meditation. Google and YouTube can also help!
Create a space that works for you that allows you to have quiet and where you can focus. It should be comfortable without any distractions. You want to be able to have enough time and space to meditate without pressure or stress.
Focusing on your breath will help you stay focused and grounded in your meditation. Crossley says timed meditations, whether to a piece of music, nature sounds or a guided meditation, will allow you to focus on the meditation not on the amount of time.
We want to hear from you! Do you meditate? If so, how has it helped you achieve less stress? How do you carve out the time and space for meditation? Leave your responses in the comments below.