You exercise your body, but what about your mind?
Wellness & fitness coach Jennifer Dietrick is here to share the benefits of meditation and how to incorporate it into your daily routine.
When working towards health and fitness goals, it is natural to focus on exercise and nutrition. The other two aspects, sleep, and the mind, are often underrated and/or ignored.
With the mind comes positive thinking, proper planning, focus, and reducing stress, which can all be improved by regular meditation. Carving out time to meditate will usually create more time to be productive, if needed, since you have a clearer mind and feel more focused.
How to Start?
My main suggestion is that it doesn’t have to be done any specific way or amount, yet I will give you my recommendations to getting started.
Ideally, you want to build up to meditating 15-30 minutes twice a day. Once upon waking and once before bed (and during the day if needed). I recommend that you start with twice a day but with an amount that doesn’t feel overwhelming, even if it is only 1 minute.
If you have trouble falling asleep, then have your focus should be practicing before bedtime. Meditation practice helps to get a better night’s sleep.
I view starting the practice the same as starting to exercise and/or improving nutrition. Yes, there is an ideal, but getting started with a small amount on a regular basis is better than trying to do the ideal amount from the start and feeling overwhelmed. Too much too soon often leads to inconsistency or stopping all together.
The Benefits of Meditation
The practice of meditation will reduce stress and improve your thinking. Stress reduction is a direct link to improved health. The mental effects the physical, so meditation practice can prevent minor to major ailments. You are all aware that you can make your stomach sick by your thoughts, well it can affect other parts of your body as well.
I like to think of it as decluttering your home, but it is in your mind. Once anything that is in the way is cleared out, you can move more freely, feel lighter, focus better and make decisions easier. Any negative thinking will be reduced through meditation especially if you focus on a positive mantra while doing so. I find that if I am uncertain about something in my life, meditation gives me clarity. I believe we all know what is best for us, yet we need a clear mind to get the answer.
Start by choosing a position that is comfortable to you. It is important to be completely relaxed in your position, so you are not distracted by it.
Previously, I tried meditating sitting up, yet I was so focused on my posture that it became distracting to my practice. I have since began to lie on the floor with my legs up and against the couch or bed. In this position, I am completely relaxed. For me, being on the floor feels more suitable for feeling grounded. I recently began lying on an acupressure mat which brings me even more relaxation to the process.
Types of Meditation
You have so many choices when deciding on what type of meditation to follow.
You can focus on each breath going in and out of your body, a specific mantra/positive affirmation, visualizing, or just watching your thoughts go by like the news information at the bottom of a TV channel.
There are various apps available and YouTube guided meditations with words, music, or both. Choose one that connects to you and change it regularly if necessary. I like to change mine when I feel like I’m so use to it that I’m focusing more on my thoughts than the guided meditation.
It is important to remember that you will still have thoughts go through your mind which doesn’t mean the practice is not working. Just like when you are training, a not-so-great workout is better than none at all. The more you practice, the easier it will be to empty your mind. Happy Meditating!
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