5 Tips to Starting a Meditation Practice.
Why should we practice meditation? Is it really as beneficial as they say it is? In short, yes. It absolutely is.
Study after study as shown that meditation reduces stress, depression, and addictions. It helps us to stay focused, have better sleep, be kinder, and be happier in life.
I like to think of meditation as being able to control and master the mind, leading to freedom. I mean how amazing would that be, right? How often do we get excited about something, and then you talk yourself out of it? Suddenly your mind has a thousand different outcomes that could happen and they are all drastic, and usually negative, or “too hard”. So, we never actually go through with them. And meditation helps us to overcome that, to see those thoughts for what they really are, and to control what we actually think of. Meditation, therefore, is sitting in an unlimited, full possibility, source of energy. Our actions are reflected by what is going on in the mind (positive thought, positive action; negative thought, negative action).
Contrary to belief the goal of meditation is not to empty the mind or to sit in a dark room chanting OM. The definition of meditation is “single point of concentration”. What meditation is meant to do is to focus the mind on one thing; be it a mantra, a visualization, the breath, or a manifestation.
So, for my science buffs, when we are in the state of meditation our brain waves go from Beta, which is alertness, consciousness, and anxiety; it leads to the brain never fully slowing down. When we meditate, we go into Alpha brain waves or this dream-like slowing down state, that feeling of being so relaxed that you are in the moment and present.
Another goal of meditation is to make you present to the here and now. If you get really good you can slow your mind down to Theta brain waves and Delta brain waves which is a complete relaxation, reset, recharge of the brain and body (this is the state our body needs to be in to recovery and flush the system).
When we are relaxed and in the Alpha brain wave state it gives us more focus, clarity and creativity when we come back too. Fun fact for you, but a study was done of the most successful, happiest, professionals and entrepreneurs in North America, and there was a top 3 commonality about each candidate; one being that they all meditated.
Just like any muscle, the brain is a muscle that needs to be worked out and flexed. Another study found that the more we “worked out” the brain, the more it built up neuroplasticity. In hindsight, it has now been proven and studied that building the neuroplasticity of our brain reduces our risk of Alzheimer’s; in some cases, it has even reversed the effects of early detection of the disease.
What type of meditation is available to you? There are many different styles, but my favourite to start beginners off with is Guided Meditation, Breathing Meditation, Affirmations/Mantra meditation, Manifestation Meditation, and Loving-Kindness (Metta) Mediation.
Here are 5 Tips to Starting Your Meditation Practice:
- Pick either the morning or the evening. The first 5 minutes of your day or the last 5 minutes (start with 5 minutes and increase your time from there). We can get distracted or forget if we try to do it in the middle of the day. Make it non-negotiable; it’s the first thing you do when you wake up, or the last thing you do before you go to bed.
- Pick a comfortable position. You can be seated, in a chair or lying down. You want the spine nice and long, and no restrictions to your breathing. Try not to fidget but if you absolutely MUST move do so, and then get back into it.
- Pick a style and stick with it! Just like any habit, it takes practice and getting used to. Try choosing just one style and seeing if it resonates with you. If you decide after a few weeks the style is not for you then you can switch it, but please give it a chance to try and stick.
- Pick a spot where you won’t be distracted to do your meditation. Let your significant others know, or your kids, that you are taking the next 5 minutes to mediate. Have no TV on in the background, turn notifications off on your phone. The only thing you should have on is a Guided Meditation should that be the style you choose to begin with.
- Remember, it’s a practice! Make it fun! Even if you don’t notice a difference after day 1, you are doing incredible things on the inside that you may not notice right away. You are building a healthier and stronger brain, and from there, you will see external signs of your meditation benefiting you.
So, if someone told you, if you committed to 5 to 10 minutes a day, every day, and it would help you work better, focus more, and be “smarter”, would you do it? I think the question is, why wouldn’t you? What could you possibly have to lose by starting this practice?