Meditation Series: Part 1 - Meditation as Medication for Daily Stress

Uncategorized Mar 07, 2019

YOU HEAR ABOUT IT ALL THE TIME…

Do you meditate?

You should try to meditate!

Studies show meditation helps EVERYTHING… do it now!

You know you should at least give it a try.

BUT…

You are busy

You can’t sit still

You have too many thoughts running through your head

You are too stressed

You don’t have time

You don’t know how to do it

Will it really work for you?

The truth is, meditation IS extremely effective. It has been widely studied, and those who practice it regularly will tell you - it helps! However, the idea of meditation may seem “not your style.” You may have a visual of a yogi sitting cross legged (ummm your knees can’t handle that) “Om-ing” for an hour in silence. GAH!

Despite this visual, I’m here to tell you there’s another way - a way that will work for YOU. How do I know? Because if it’s something you truly want to do, you can find a way to create a meditation practice that fits into your lifestyle. Welcome to the Alignful Meditation Series - Using Meditation to Get a Hold of Your Life and Get your Sh*t Together.

OVER THE NEXT THREE POSTS, WE’LL COVER:

  • What is Meditation / Breaking the Meditation Myth (this post)

  • How Meditation will Benefit You / Why Meditate? (this post)

  • How to Start a Practice (post 2)

  • Finding Your Meditation Flow (post 2)

  • Meditation for Modern Life (post 3)

  • How to Make it Stick (post 3)

  • Where to Start - Tools and Resources (post 3)

READY? LET’S GO.

Defining Meditation - What Is It, Really?

Definition from Merriam-Webster:

  1. to engage in contemplation or reflection.

  2. to engage in mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness.

Definition from Yogapedia:

The process of quieting the mind in order to spend time in thought for relaxation or religious/spiritual purposes. The goal is to attain an inner state of awareness and intensify personal and spiritual growth. in practice, meditation involves concentrated focus on something such as a sound, image or feeling.

My definition:

Spending quiet time by yourself.

The Meditation Myth

You may avoid meditation is because you think it has to look a certain way… and you might not see yourself fitting into that template. That’s OK!

The point of meditation is to give yourself space to process, without distraction. Sometimes that looks like sitting down and letting your thoughts flood in. Sometimes, it’s listening to a guided track. Sometimes it may feel more like a prayer, quiet contemplation, assessing your body, looking for hidden pain, tracking negative thoughts to see the origin. The list goes on.

Your meditation practice is uniquely your own, and will change over time. It will always be a place for you to go, a quiet reprieve from daily life, a sigh of relief as you settle in.

Yes, certain types of meditation have been clinically studied, but you don’t need to practice a specific form in order to benefit from this practice.

In Order To Meditate You Don’t Have To Fit In A Box…

  • You don’t need to be a Yogi

  • You don’t need to eat a vegan or vegetarian diet

  • You don’t need to have hours a day of free time

  • You can live a busy life

  • You can work a high-powered job

  • You can be a parent

In fact, the busier your life is, the more you need medication (errr…meditation!). Meditation encourages you to slow down, so you can go further. Carving time out of your day (even just 10 minutes) to meditate will help you in the long run. Let’s look at how meditation can help you, and why you may want to integrate it into your life.

BENEFITS OF MEDITATION

I’m not here to dive into research, but I do want you to know the benefits stretch far and wide. At the very least, meditation gives you space to be — time to process and witness your thoughts. This is one of the most important tools you can learn — how to become the witness to your own. thoughts. You are not your thoughts and you have control over what you think. The sooner you understand this, the sooner you can change your life. Meditation helps you access that power and act upon it.

Here’s The Highlight Reel Of Other (Well-Studied) Benefits Of Meditation:

Improved concentration, reduced anxiety, improved sleep, increased productivity, improved ability to make decisions, increased attention span, improved ability to handle stressful situations, settles nervous system, feelings of calm during the day, positive outlook on life, deeper connection to source, deeper connection to yourself, mental clarity, sense of ease and well being, longevity, lower blood pressure, oh my!

If you want to read the science behind it, I recommend the following articles:

Your Brain as Laboratory (Scientific American)

How Meditation can Help Anxiety (Chopra Center)

10 Things we Know About the Science of Meditation (Mindful)

When Science Meets Mindfulness (Harvard)

Meditation: In Depth (NCCIH)

WHAT’S NEXT?

If you are looking to feel calmer, have more control over your emotions and thoughts, improve your sense of well-being and stop feeling behind, then the next post is for you!

If the benefits listed above sound appealing, then it’s time for you to start your own meditation practice.

In the next post we’ll talk about how too start a meditation practice, choosing a format that works for you and how to find an easy meditation flow.

Stay tuned…

Happy Meditating!

Dana

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