I used to think meditation was for those weird types. Well, now I AM that weird type! I tried for quite some time to develop a consistent practice and failed at it. Sometimes trying to meditate just made me feel more stressed. Other times I’d stick with it for 3 or 4 days and then just get “too busy” to make it a daily habit. Until one day, all heck blew up in my life, and I needed to find a way to make it a priority (among other things, which is really a whole other blog so stay tuned). And so, began my journey to meditate once a day for at least 5 minutes a day! Here’s what I’ve learned:
Your Mind is a Muscle – Your mind is a muscle just like any other muscle in your body. In fact, I’d argue, besides your heart, it’s THE most important muscle you have. The fact that it’s a muscle means that it can be exercised and trained to think better and to recognize when certain thoughts aren’t serving you. But it also needs recovery to be strong. Meditation trains your mind while also giving it that recovery it needs. AND five minutes is enough time, at least for me. Once you’ve trained your mind, it doesn’t suddenly make life easier. But you are more equipped to handle whatever comes your way. And just like any muscle you need to keep working it!
Meditation Enhances Your Faith – I know so many people that refuse to meditate because they think it’s for people that don’t believe in GOD. I disagree. It’s for everyone. In fact, if you are a person of faith, it can help you quiet your mind so that you can hear what God might be trying to tell you. Meditation doesn’t help you talk to random spirits. It simply helps you focus on what’s important to you. I’ll repeat…HELPS YOU FOCUS ON WHATS IMPORTANT TO YOU. In addition to helping you quiet your mind.
Five Minutes is Enough – I started with a five-minute morning meditation and later worked in a bedtime one too, bringing me to 10 minutes a day, give or take. On a good day I get 15 minutes, but that’s rare. This meant I needed to make time in the morning. No, I didn’t wake up earlier. I made my workouts shorter. Yup! But it was totally worth it! And ultimately, it made me healthier from the inside out. While five minutes is enough to make an impact, I’d recommend that it must be a daily habit.
Meditation Helps More Than Your Mind – Science has proven that mindfulness and meditation can help with things like stress, anxiety, and depression. But it can even help with things like blood pressure and hypertension. In a study published in the Journal of Hypertension, patients with high-normal blood pressure or grade 1 hypertension were placed into two groups; a control group (that attended healthy education talks) and an intervention group (that received mindfulness training). After 8 weeks, the group that received mindfulness/meditation training SIGNIFICANTLY decreased their blood pressure levels, plus they were less judgmental, more accepting and less depressed. As a PKD patient, I wish I’d started earlier, but better late than never!
It HELPS to have Accountability and Training – I use Simple Habit. This great app has step by step meditations to teach you from start to finish. A few of my favorite teachers include Cory Muscara and Julie Murphy. They have everything from study breaks, boost positive thinking, and follow your passions. The app makes it super easy for me to wake up and press play. I’ve never paid for an app….until this one, and it was worth every cent! If an app won’t do, many yoga studios offer this practice, and I’m sure there are online coaches somewhere.
You Can Meditate Anywhere - You don’t have to sit on the floor in a cross legged position to meditate. You can do it while walking, you can sit in a chair, you can be at the office, on a plane, or even in your car (although please keep your eyes open!). Meditation is the simple act of silencing your mind and learning to focus. More importantly, focus on the right things. I do sit on the floor in a crossed leg position because that’s how I like to start my day and how I feel most alert. However, when I do my bedtime meditation I am lying in bed.
Simply put meditation is something for everyone. Here is how it has impacted me:
It helps keep my blood pressure normal
I’ve developed more patience
I sleep better
My focus improves daily
When I feel myself getting anxious I have the muscle memory to return to the real me
I am better able to be in the moment when I’m with my kids instead of thinking about what needs to be done next
I’m a better listener
I am generally more positive
I feel happier and more relaxed
I feel healthier from the inside out.
I am better equipped to handle stress when it comes my way