What are your thoughts on meditation? Have you tried it? Is it too woo woo for you? I fought it for such a long time and hated every minute when I tried it.
Sitting still for me is inherently difficult. Trying to sit still and stop my thoughts is impossible. My mind would race and I couldn’t wait until it was over. My to-do list was consuming me. I was wasting time when I could actually be working on my t0-do list. Why should I even bother?
I’m sure you’ve heard everyone from Steve Jobs to Katy Perry, Elon Musk and Jerry Seinfeld is (or, in Steve’s case, was) doing it. What are the benefits and what makes all of these people continue to do it regularly?
Here are 8 reasons why meditation can improve your life:
- It reduces stress
- It improves concentration
- It encourages a healthy lifestyle
- The practice increases self-awareness
- It increases happiness
- It increases acceptance
- It slows aging
- The practice benefits cardiovascular and immune health
I found this list of benefits here: Huffington post meditation I don’t know about you but I think all of those reasons are great! I’ve found it improves my patience at work, increases synchronicities in my life and generally helps my day to go better. I’ve found so many resources and so much information on meditation it can be overwhelming. A quick google search showed over 23 different types. Let me try to simplify it for you…
How do I do it and for how long?
There are many ways to meditate but I find these to be the easiest ways to start. You can sit silently, use your breath or a mantra or even try a guided meditaton. You can download an app on your phone such as Calm, Headspace or Meditate Me. All 3 of these are a great way to begin your practice. I like to set a timer and just repeat a mantra (such as Om or Sat Nam) for 10 minutes. If I’m at home I do it first thing after I wake up and head straight for my leather chair. If I’m on a trip, I’ll set an alarm for 10 minutes earlier and then wake up and start my meditation.
Close your eyes and see what happens. It’s normal to have your mind wander. Just keep coming back to your breath or the present and let your thoughts be like clouds just passing by. If 10 minutes seems too long try 5 or even 3. Within in the first 30 seconds you are already beginning to receive benefits that have profound affects on your psyche and emotional well-being. My friend and fellow health coach Jennifer Halverson has more info on meditation here.meditation-your-questions-answered-and-its-dramatic-effects-on-your-life
When is the best time?
The best time is whatever works best consistently for you. I know if you have kids or animals, first thing in the morning may not be optimal. Maybe just before bed works best for you after the stress of the day or if you are a night person. I personally can’t meditate just before bed because I fall asleep. This is one reason why I prefer sitting up instead of lying down. What about at your desk in your office? Try to have the same space to practice if possible. Because I travel so much this isn’t feasible most of the time but I try to take advantage of where I am, even mediating outside when I can.
What if I just can’t do it?
I completely understand. I struggled and said it wasn’t for me. Yoga was my meditation. After all what are we doing at the end of class in savasana? Yoga, by the way is considered a moving meditation. I also think anything where you can get lost in the moment such as running or playing your favorite sport has amazing benefits. Keep trying, meditation will get easier and you will start to enjoy it more when you find a time and a style that works best for you. A get together with my health coach friends finally convinced me. Two of them who are regular meditators ganged up on me and wouldn’t take no for an answer. They shot down every excuse I came up with. I kept trying different times of day and found for me the best time is first thing in the morning before I’ve had my coffee. Once my coffee kicks in, I’m ready to start my day and cannot even think about sitting still. I’ve been at it now for almost 4 months. I meditate almost everyday without even thinking twice and I actually really enjoy the silence and stillness before my day starts.
What’s your experience with meditation? Have you tried it? Do you like it? Comment below and let me know!