I'm sure you've heard it before, but meditation should be incorporated into your daily routine. Why, you ask? It has several benefits for your mind, body, and spirit that we are going to outline here, as well as some simple instructions to follow if you are a meditation beginner.
Let's get mindful!
Benefits of Daily Meditation
The stress hormone, aka cortisol, can be increased due to daily mental, physical, and emotional strain. Including a 15 minute session of meditation has been proven to help reduce/alleviate the levels of cortisol released by the adrenal glands. This, in turn, can help improve your quality and amount of sleep, decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety, and even lower blood pressure.
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When is the last time you sat alone with your thoughts without any forms of distraction or stimulation? When we take time to listen to our thoughts and ourselves we may discover harmful habits or thoughts that we were previously unaware of or just didn't want to admit to ourselves. Meditation has also been proven to increase our self efficacy, or the belief that we are good enough and can do great things.
Anxiety is prominent in our lives daily. Between work, home, our relationships, bills, politics, etc one thing is for sure, anxiety is unavoidable. It can be managed, however, with simple mindfulness and practicing daily meditation. Mindfulness helps increase positive thinking and coping with daily stressors.
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Increased Attention Span
Daily meditation practice that involves using a tape or app to focus our mind and attention to ourselves can help increase our attention span. It may not be an immediate switch, but by staying discipled and focused you may notice a difference in your ability to stay focused for longer, as well as an increase in your memory.
Greater Quality & Quantity of Sleep
Utilizing methods learned through daily meditation you can help redirect your thoughts when it is time to hit the hay. It also helps to relax your body and the decrease of stress and anxiety will help make sleep come easier.
How to Meditate
Mediation may seem a little intimidating, but its truly very simple and can be even easier with the use of meditation apps and tapes. Here are some tips to help you stay focused and mindful while meditating.
Find a Quiet Place
Choose a place that is private, quiet, and large enough to take a seat. Make sure your position is comfortable enough for an extended amount of time.
Time it Out
Set a time limit that is not so long that you lose focus, but not too short to make sure you have enough time to truly be mindful. 15 minutes is known as the 'sweet spot' but you can meditate anywhere from 10-30 minutes for a decent session.
Focus on Breathing
When you begin, take note of each breath as it flows in and out. This can be a great way to make sure your mind does not wander to other things, and is a great way to refocus on when you realize your mind has already wandered away.
Don't Get Frustrated
Your mind, unfortunately, will wander. Even mediating pros will find their mind wandering, but it is nothing to get discouraged about, in fact it may even lead to that self-awareness we talked about earlier. If you wish to re-center just bring your focus back to breathing.
Meditation may feel a bit silly when you start, but the benefits of taking an extra 15 minutes to be mindful are extreme. Try it for one month and I guarantee you will start taking more time to center and less time focusing on the negative.