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Why You Should Meditate

Posted by Suzy on

Meditation is becoming mainstream these days and that's a really good thing! Have you tried it? What's all the buzz about? Sitting in silence for 10 minutes....how can this possibly help me? 

We live in a society that is go, go, go all the time. The busier we are the more important we seem. Having time to lounge around makes you appear lazy or not contributing to society. It wasn't always like this. Cultures from the past had plenty of down time. Time to connect with others, time for ritual, time for meditation. With this attitude of busy is better our bodies don't have crucial time to calm down. We are in a constant state of flight or fight...even though our perceived threat doesn't really require us to fight or flight. In the past we might be faced with real danger, like an animal chasing us. In this situation our bodies gear up to either fight or flight by increased blood pressure, heart rate, and release of adrenaline. Today our threat might be a missed appointment, traffic, or our boss giving us grief. In these situations our body still enters into flight or fight even though it's unnecessary. We find ourselves in this state all day long which is not how are bodies are supposed to be. We have the flight or fight response for survival needs and once we are out of danger our body calms down and we go back into the rest and digest stage. 

Think about a typical day and how many times you are in the fight or flight stage and how, often times, you don't properly come out of it....

You wake up late...boom your heart is racing. You race around the kitchen trying to get breakfast and lunch made for yourself and the kids while constantly yelling at the kids to get themselves ready. You guzzle down your coffee which stimulates your nervous system. You hop in the car and hit traffic, your blood pressure is boiling at this point. You barely get the kids to school, phew, then you are off to work. You get to work and find out your co-worker is sick so you have extra things that need to get done...you are go go go all day long without time to allow your body to come out of the crazy and enter into calm. Maybe you get some time in the evening to really unwind and relax, but it's not enough. When your blood pressure and heart rate are elevated all day long, this can have lasting damaging effects on your body. 

In comes meditation! Setting aside 5, 10, or 30 minutes a day to meditate helps you enter the rest and digest stage and gives you a calm mind and attitude. When you come out of your meditation practice this sense of peace stays with you throughout your day. So maybe the traffic doesn't bother you or you can handle extra workload with more ease. Your body doesn't react so easily and go into flight or fight and you can flow through your day much easier. And the more you meditate, the better! Meditating for 5 minutes one day might not make much of a difference, but if you can start with 5 minutes a day 3 days a week, then build from there you will start noticing a difference. 

How do I meditate, you ask? It's easy! All you need is a quiet space. Find some time in the morning, evening, or any time that is convenient for you and just sit. Close your eyes, sit cross legged or lie down and breath deeply through your nose. When thoughts come into your mind, just gently notice them, then let them float away. At first, you will probably have lots of thoughts and might find it hard to let them go. It will get easier over time! Focusing on your breath or a mantra is very helpful. You can repeat silently to yourself a word or phrase, like OM, or love, or I am relaxed...anything to keep your mind from chattering away. 

Ready to get started? Here are some tips on easy ways to get started

1. Check your local yoga and meditation studios. They will often have meditation classes or retreats you can attend.

2. Download the app Insight Timer. This is a great tool to get you started and keep you practicing! 

4. Look online for meditation challenges. The Chopra Center does 21 day guided meditation challenges a few times a year and can be a great place to start. 

3. Let your family or roommates know that you are starting a meditation practice and will need quiet time. 

4. Start small, then build. 5 minutes a day is a great start! Try it for 3 days a week, then move to 10 minutes a day 4 days a week.Once you start seeing the effects you won't want to miss a day!

5. If you miss a day, don't stress about it. Don't make it another something to do on your to do list. Make in enjoyable. Create a ritual around it so it's something you look forward to. Maybe light some incense, drink some tea, and put on your favorite shawl before meditating. Make it a sacred event....or keep it simple if that works better for you. 

Now get started :) Peace!