In our increasingly hectic and inundated lives, finding silent, uninterrupted time becomes more and more valuable for our mental and physical health: this is why meditation has become one of the top health and wellness trends this year. While some have strict rules on what constitutes a mindfulness practice, a more modern approach allows its benefits to be reaped by anyone who can find just a few minutes of calm in their day. Several benefits are scientifically proven and range from improvements to your health and happiness to improving your memory and social connections.
Meditation, in its most basic form, is the practice of calming the mind and being in a state of thoughtful awareness: our overactive minds are neutralized, but we are awake, present, and aware. Some find it easy to turn their attention to a single point of reference such as the breath, bodily sensations or even a word or phrase such as a mantra. Regardless of how you find your calm, focusing on the present moment will leave you healthier, happier, and more connected to the people in your life.
With a little practice, the benefits of meditation can be realized by anyone. It is an inclusive and accessible practice to anyone willing to try. Given all the distractions and demands we face every day, it is easy to shift our focus to the past and future. Meditation allows us to focus and bring awareness to the present moment.
Like anything new and unfamiliar, meditation can be intimidating to start. Popular misconceptions about meditation lead many to think it is a religious practice, takes too much time, is only about quieting the mind, or that it is only for those seeking enlightenment. While it is easy to judge what we do not understand, meditation is like incorporating good health and exercise into our lives; everyone can benefit from it. Just like any new practice, meditation gets better, easier, and more enjoyable the more you do it.
We are often asked how to meditate. Beginners may feel more comfortable starting with guided meditation sessions to practice mindfulness and focus (we have included a link below to some of Cody’s guided sessions). Guided meditation is a great way to understand the basics so you can gain the tools and skills necessary to meditate on your own, whenever and wherever you like!
When Should You Meditate?
Psychology Today suggests:
- Early in the morning – it is usually a quieter time of day for most and a great way to set the tone for the day
- On your lunch break – meditation is known to increase productivity and creativity. What better way to break up the workday and make your afternoon more enjoyable?
- End of the workday –finding time to meditate before going home for the evening is a great way to create a healthy separation between work and personal life.
- Small spurts throughout the day – our favorite approach! Whenever you are feeling stressed or anxious, take a few minutes to center yourself and be present. Meditation will help with that all-too-common feeling of being overwhelmed.
- Before bedtime – while some argue that meditating before bedtime can confuse our body between falling asleep and “falling more fully awake,” others say that using meditation to quiet the mind and relax, is a great way to prepare for sleep.
Meditation can happen at any time of the day or at night. Experiment to figure out what works best for you and your schedule. Whether you practice for five, ten or thirty minutes, you will find that incorporating a mindfulness practice into your health and wellness routine will be an invaluable addition.