Meditation. Most people run for the hills when they hear the word. Or they think “I could NEVER meditate because only hippies do that”, or “I can’t sit still for that long and get my mind to shut off", or "It’s too religious for me.”
I get it. I used to feel the same way. Meditation is a secular (non-religious) practice that has been around for over 5,000 years. You don’t have to be a Buddhist, a yogi or religious to do it. But what it can do is add more balance, calmness and peace of mind to your life.
Life is busy. You are busy. We are all busy. Careers, significant others, electronics, working out, eating healthy, long list of to-dos; it’s a wonder we ever have time for anything these days. We are a stressed out society and sicker than ever.
If you want to have some balance in all your busy-ness, you have to make the time to take some action toward that balance, and meditating is an action, even though it’s a non-action, action. You get the gist.
There are tons of studies out there preaching the positive benefits of meditation. A lot of pro sports teams use it for focus, it’s being brought into prisons and schools, and it’s becoming more utilized in a day and age where we need the tools to learn to slow down a bit. Studies show it is known to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke or death by 48% in people who have coronary heart disease. That’s massive.
It helps to engage our para-sympathetic nervous system, which helps to keep our stress at bay and controls our cortisol levels, which can wreak havoc in our bodies when we are stressed out, not sleeping enough, drinking too much coffee, meeting deadlines, etc.
Meditation Can Be Simple
I’m no pro at meditating, but what I have discovered is a simple way to do it that works for me. I consider myself a recreational meditator. You have to find what works for you. There are tons of awesome teachers and classes available, but if that feels too overwhelming, then I say start small.
Here’s How I Meditate:
· I set aside 10-15 minutes (you can use a timer if you’d like)
· I find a seat somewhere that is quiet (I love the bench in my backyard because it overlooks the Santa Monica Mountains – Spectacular!)
· I close my eyes and start to focus on my breath by noticing it coming in and out of my nose (now, my thoughts are coming and going, and I know that, but instead of getting caught up in them, I just bring my attention back to my breath).
· And, that’s it. Simple enough?
It’s a good start. Even if you never feel your mind slow down, you are still engaging your para-sympathetic nervous system, and over time, with practice, your mind will start to quiet down. Sometimes I even have great moments of clarity or creative ideas come to me while meditating. If that happens, I write them down immediately after my meditation is done.
So, give it a try. Set a goal to start at 5 minutes, 2-3 times per day. And you may find that you start to notice little changes in how you go through your day. A little calmer, a little more balanced, a little more grounded.
You won’t know until you do. Namaste.