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by Lindsay Adams

“I tried meditation once‭. ‬I think I was doing it wrong‭. ‬My mantra was‭ ‬‘Ohhhhmmmm my gosh‭, ‬I’ve got so much to do I can’t believe I am sitting here wasting time breathing instead of picking up my dry cleaning and making flight plans for next week and‮…‬hey‭, ‬my chest hurts‮…‬‭ ‬maybe I should call a doctor‮…‬’”

Sound familiar‭? ‬Quieting the mind is no small task‭, ‬especially considering all of the unexpected challenges and heightened anxiety of the past several months‭. ‬The practice of mindful meditation has been around for thousands of years‭, ‬and there is much research to support its benefits‭. ‬According to The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health‭, ‬meditation may‭:‬

  • Help reduce high blood pressure
  • Be helpful in pain management
  • Help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Lessen the awake time for those who suffer from insomnia

Meditation is a mind and body practice that has a long history of use for increasing calmness and physical relaxation‭, ‬as well as enhancing overall health and well-being‭. ‬Many people say that prayer is when you talk to your Higher Power‭, ‬and meditation is‭ ‬when you listen‭. ‬Along with its long list of benefits comes its ease of practice‭. ‬Meditation is literally something that everyone can do‭, ‬no matter your age or physical condition‭. ‬Also‭, ‬with no equipment needed by you‭, ‬it is easy to meditate anywhere‭!‬

In addition to helping overall physical wellness‭, ‬meditating daily can bring greater awareness of self‭, ‬and the world around you‭, ‬helping to increase your capacity for gratitude and living in the present‭. ‬The benefits of increased mindfulness are numerous‭.‬‭ ‬When we are more mindful‭, ‬we can stay more in the present and to truly see the goodness all around us‭. ‬We can operate in a less‭ ‬hurried state‭, ‬reducing stress in our lives‭, ‬and the lives of those we love‭. ‬

Starting a daily meditation practice is easy‭. ‬Begin by finding a quiet place‭, ‬away from distractions‭. ‬You will want to sit comfortably with your feet on the floor and your hands resting gently on your lap‭. ‬As you begin your time in meditation‭, ‬the purpose‭ ‬is to completely relax and almost sink into yourself‭, ‬or‭ ‬“go within”‭. ‬The key is concentrating on your breathing and letting that be what centers you‭. ‬

There are several helpful apps you can get to help guide you through specific meditations‭, ‬or provide centering thoughts or mantras as you enjoy your stillness‭. ‬Mantras are simply words or phrases that you repeat in your head to focus your practice‭. ‬Insight Timer‭, ‬Headspace‭, ‬and Daily OM are all three great apps that all offer a variety of features‭. ‬I prefer Insight Timer because it has a variety of free options that also include music‭, ‬as well as tons of upgrade options as well‭. ‬An app can be very helpful‭,‬‭ ‬especially if you are a beginner‭, ‬or if you are looking to expand your meditation practice and focus on specific things‭, ‬like gratitude‭, ‬or abundance for example‭.‬

The most important thing to do it to just begin‭. ‬Don’t get caught up in the‭ ‬“woo woo”‭ ‬aspect of meditation‭. ‬Don’t worry about what others may think‭ (‬especially if this is really out of your comfort zone‭!). ‬They are most likely to be in awe‭ ‬of your new‭, ‬more centered and present self‭, ‬and who knows‮…‬they may give it a try themselves‭! ‬Also‭, ‬keep in mind that meditation‭ ‬is a practice‭, ‬so it is helpful if you carve out a little time each day‭. ‬For many‭, ‬the start of the day will be best‭, ‬but for others‭, ‬the sleep benefits of meditating right before bedtime will work better‭. ‬In no time‭, ‬you will most likely come to look forward to this little piece of quiet time each day‭.‬

Remember that with any self-care practice‭, ‬the benefits go way beyond ourselves to all of the people that we come in contact with during the day‭. ‬What we give to ourselves‭, ‬we essentially give to our partners‭, ‬children‭, ‬pets‭, ‬co-workers‭, ‬and the world‭. ‬If that’s more love‭, ‬compassion‭, ‬gratitude‭, ‬and understanding‭, ‬then you guessed it‭, ‬that’s what we will give to others‭. ‬And what a beautiful offering that will be‭. ‬Good luck and namaste‭.

Lindsay Adams is a Firestone resident‭, ‬blogger‭, ‬and wellness resource for those seeking to bloom in their next chapter of life‭. ‬Check out livingwellwithlinds.com for more great topics‭.‬