In our last post we discussed mindfulness as our first healthy habit. The act of mindfulness is something you can do throughout your day. It’s being present and aware of your space, your body and your feelings. It’s being in the here and now.
Meditation is a bit different although you can do mindfulness types of meditations. To clarify further, meditation can be defined as a practice where an individual focuses his or her mind on a particular object, thought or activity to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state (Wikipedia.) According to some Hindu records, it’s thought that meditation dates back to 1500 BCE! Talk about a practice or habit that’s withstood the test of time and proven it’s worth to be carried on for this long!
A quick Google search will reveal to you that there are many different kinds of meditation out in the world. For today’s purposes, I’m going to share with you two of the most popular kinds of meditation:
- Mindfulness meditation
- Transcendental meditation
Mindfulness meditation typically consists of sitting down in a comfortable seat with your eyes closes and focusing on your breath. You can focus on what the breath feels like, how your body moves when you take your breath, etc. When your thoughts wonder, you come back to the breath.
Transcendental meditation is similar but instead of focusing on your breath, practitioners will use a sound or mantra to focus their practice. It’s suggested to take a course by a certified instructor to learn this type of meditation.
Now why should you start meditating and what are the benefits? Studies have found that the practice of meditation (all varieties) contribute to :
- Lessening stress
- Reduce chronic pain
- Reduce anxiety
- Decrease high blood pressure
- Decrease high cholesterol.
It’s also been seen that meditation is highly effective when practiced just 20 minutes a day!
To get you started practicing meditation, check out these resources:
- With a simple search, you can find many guided meditations. You can also pull up meditation music videos and do your own style of meditation in your living room. It’s free and requires little setup!
- Like the mindfulness playlists previously mentioned, you can find guided meditation playlists on Spotify. These are great on the go if you use the app.
- Take a meditation challenge or course:
- Often times, websites like Chopra Center will do free 21 day meditation challenges and provide all the videos/audio that you need! They also have free ones right on their page!
- Try out a meditation app like Calm or Headspace:
- I mentioned this in the mindfulness post but these apps are an excellent way to stay on track with this new habit. The lengths of meditation vary so you can choose whatever length you have time for. They also have different themes that may be helpful for you such as a theme on focus, letting go or anxiety.
- Make it a part of your morning routine:
- I find it is very helpful to get meditation done first thing in the morning before my day starts. It’s wonderful because your mind is more open and not cluttered up with the mess of thoughts from the day.
Remember, it’s called meditation practice so don’t get discouraged if you find your mind wandering during your sessions. As with anything, you will get better at focusing the more you do it. Personally, meditation has been beneficial in allowing me to check in with myself. It will highlight my busy mind and help me see when I need to slow down and be more present. It has helped tremendously with my anxiety and day to day stress when I do it on a consistent basis.
Let me know how it goes incorporating this habit into your life! I’d love to know how it is impacting you!