Everyday people are rushing from one point to another, racing against the clock to for reasons that are beyond getting things done. In a world where everything and everyone seems to be moving at such a fast pace, is there nothing we can do to ease ourselves from our worries, anxieties, and every day living concerns?
Although it could pose a challenge for people who think they already have a lot on their plate, spending a few minutes of your day meditating is actually a great way of opening and closing your day. You can even include it in your yoga routine so that you not only get your daily workout routine in, you also get the opportunity to focus on your energies on what you want to accomplish for the day if you’re doing it in the morning, or to calm yourself down after a hectic day full of activities.
The number one question that people ask themselves is, “How long should I meditate?” Firstly, and most importantly, you need to have consistency when you decide to start meditating. Why? Because keeping it a part of your routine and making sure that you are able to set aside that time for yourself and solely for yourself is both reassuring and fulfilling. You can start your meditation practice for just one minute everyday before you shower or start with your daily tasks, and then slowly move to three minutes until you’re able to achieve a time frame that you would feel most comfortable with and one that allows you to fit meditation in your schedule no matter how busy your day might get.
Yoga can be a great way of introducing meditation into your daily routine.
The second question that people ask themselves is, “Why should I learn meditation?” You actually don’t have to if you don’t want to, but as with many things that aim to target holistic growth, trying something out first before saying a definite “No” is always the best way to go. Meditation is intended to help you become a better person through self awareness and to allow you to have an outlet for all the things that you want to release from within your person. It also allows you to reevaluate and internalize all the good things that have happened to you. Remember: A positive aura attracts positive energy.
Your day isn’t going the way you planned it to and you’re slowly taking a nosedive into stress because suddenly things are spiraling out of your control. What should you do? Some people hit the gym to let go of the tension that built up during the day and will away the problem. Others resolve to stress eating, others take a nap, and there are those who sit down and try to bring themselves back to center and see what went wrong and what they can do to fix it.
Taking the time to reflect on things and manage your stress is very important for your mental health.
Meditation allows you to have that time to reflect on how your day went and what you can possibly do to fix it. You find your balance and focus on the things that you can fix rather than the things that are beyond your control. By focusing your energies into the things that can bring results, you somehow find a way to get things done and to maintain your calm even when the results did not come out exactly as you have planned. Minimizing your stress also means you get to control your cortisol level and in effect, it lessens your body’s survival triggers that results to weight gain. Isn’t that such an amazing bonus?
Getting enough sleep is necessary because that’s the time when your body is able to regenerate and rebuild itself from any of the many things that you have accomplished for the day. Your body is also able to focus on muscle growth when you sleep because your body releases the most number of growth hormones during REM sleep. So what can meditation do for your sleeping patterns?
When you’re able to manage the tension in your body and you have come to terms with the things that you have failed to do, the things that you wished you could have done better, or you have internalized something amazing that happened to you that day, you get better sleep. The thoughts of the things that you want, need, and failed to do can lead to sleep interruptions. When your sleep is interrupted, you are unable to reach REM sleep, or the rapid eye movement phase of your sleep where your body is able to rebuild and heal itself. REM sleep is also linked to sustained mental awareness and growth, reduction of migraine, and an improved immune system.
Meditation helps you prepare yourself for a restful sleep.
When you are able to refocus yourself and find time to commune with yourself before going to bed, you are inevitably allowing your body to start its relaxation process and therefore removes potential reasons for sleep to be interrupted.
Anxiety and depression are not just about feeling under immense pressure and/or constant pressure, they also affect your brain structure and its cognitive function. It affects the hippocampus, the amygdala, and it can also cause the neurotransmitters in the brain to misfire. Depression also affects your prefrontal cortex which is the part of your brain that is responsible for your emotions and decision making. Your thought patterns, your general disposition, and how you feel towards your surroundings can increase your cortisol levels and therefore, induce the brain into a greater pull towards feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.
Meditation can help calm your nerves and allows you to find calmness from within yourself even when you're under pressure.
The amazing thing about meditation is that it allows you to rewire your brain to allow it to heal itself through all the trauma and the negative thoughts that cause your brain to shrink and to lose some of its functions. Our brain has the amazing capacity of healing itself in a process called neuroplasticity whereby the brain is able to change based on the kind of information that a person inputs in his mind. This is an incredibly valuable tool that can allow those who are afflicted with anxiety, depression, and chronic stress to cope with their condition and to allow themselves to be rejuvenated and to find some semblance of balance that they can hold on to.
It is worth noting, however, that meditation itself is not an end-all cure for depression, anxiety, and chronic stress. It is, however, a great addition to any therapeutic and rehabilitative exercise that is being done to address the concerns of the person who is going through any of the three conditions. Meditation, being that it allows the individual to re-evaluate himself and allows him to come into terms with his successes and his shortcomings, enables the person to do these in a safe and controlled environment that he himself controls. He is able to use this as a means of self reassurance that although things are not going as expected, he can still find balance and peace within himself. It allows the person’s brain to rewire itself into creating possible channels for a coping mechanism to develop and endure.
Meditation is an art form and a discipline. You do not get your results overnight because it is supposed to be a lifestyle where you learn to appreciate and grow into being a person of purpose, of focus, and one who is dedicated to growth. In the same respect that you don’t grow your muscles overnight, you are also unable to detoxify yourself from all your burdens in just one session. This is the reason why it is very important to remain consistent in practicing meditation.
Meditation is also best complemented with a proper diet because it allows you to feel a greater awareness of how you are and how you can best care for your body and your entire self. Eating food that can uplift you such as nuts, bananas, and dark chocolate can help boost your brain’s capacity to cope with tension and to better reap the benefits of the self awareness exercise that you do through meditation. Refined or added sugar is best avoided because it can cause you to go into a suddenly emotional and physical slump once the artificial energy it provides is consumed.
Taking timeour for yourself is always a good idea.
Meditation is not to be hurried. When you are meditating, you are not competing with anyone, you are merely speaking with yourself and trying to be attuned with who you are and what your goals are for yourself. Deciding on a time that works for your schedule for when you will be doing your meditation, and by knowing that your own pace is not too slow or too fast because it is what perfectly works for you, are the best ways to getting yourself started with meditation and in soon achieving inner peace.