Have you ever had so many thoughts running around in your head that you can't even function? Or maybe been so nervous about a decision that you are paralyzed by fear? Have you ever been overwhelmed by such an unending list of things to do that you don't even know where to start?
Yep, me too.
As hard as being a mother of four is, I can honestly say adding being an entrepreneur to the mix meant there was literally always something that needed to be done and sometimes I just wanted to turn my brain off. Other times, I was desperate for some clarity so that I could knock out a major project as I was burning the midnight oil.
That's when I started practicing meditation.
Now, when I say meditation, you may have a picture of a long-haired hippie chanting, or even a svelte yoga queen burning incense, but meditation is so much more than that.
I initially learned about the practice of meditation as I incorporated mindfulness into my coaching and therapeutic work. Training teachers to support students who have been impacted by trauma means that many times the kids are emotional roller coasters and their teachers get dragged along for the ride. Seeing a great deal of research that shows how powerful meditation can be for students, I decided to give it a chance in my own life.
How Meditation Works
Meditation is the process of slowing the thoughts of your mind while maintaining a state of awareness to your present surrounding. It is much more than sitting and concentrating in a quiet area for a designated amount of time; it involves clearing your mind of all thoughts, achieving a deep inward peace, and maintaining alertness in the process.
When I first started learning about meditation, I took several training classes, read some books and downloaded a couple apps. But truthfully, as a beginner, you can actually get a lot of help from online videos or even YouTube. While your deepest benefit from meditation takes practice, I've personally experienced decreased stress symptoms even when I was a total newbie.
Meditation makes the body less responsive to stress hormones, which lowers blood pressure, improves blood circulation, improves digestion and immunity, and establishes emotional and neurological “balance.”
How To Incorporate Meditation Into Your Life
Here are ideas for incorporating meditation into your own life.
Download a meditation app. There are at least a dozen apps, free and paid, which offer guided meditations. A guided meditation verbally talks you through mentally disconnecting from your stressful life and going inward to a state of calm. Headspace and Calm are two apps that I've personally used and had great results with.
Use A Video To Guide Your Meditation. Some meditation videos can be found for free online, such as through YouTube, or you can order a professional DVD or online subscription. If you prefer a mix of yoga and meditation, the best types of yoga to focus on include Kundalini, Ananda, Jivamukti, and Integral.
Shoot for 20 minute blocks. Research shows that just 20 minutes of consistent meditation sessions can have tremendous health benefits. Make time before your day starts or before you go to bed to meditate. A reminder in your phone can help you stay consistent.
Have you tried meditation? Sound off below and let me know how it's working for you!