I’ve recently realized that a healthy lifestyle goes beyond physical fitness and nutrition. For many years I tried to achieve perfect health through exercising and eating right, but never felt like it was enough. I was never satisfied and struggled to figure out why.
The past few months I have (yet again) had a whole lot thrown at me at once. Because of this, my exercise regime has not been as consistent and I’ve wavered a bit from the paleo eating habits I once had SO down pat. But one thing I’ve actually started doing better is being mindful. Although my stress levels have increased, my anxiety levels (most days) have decreased because of my improved ability to just breathe, keep things in perspective and live in the moment.
These three things have become a part of my meditation practice, which is something I recently picked back up. It has been so beneficial that I felt compelled to write a post dedicated to the health benefits of medication and how you can get started.
To help me get back into meditating, I re-read a few pages from several books I own, but for those of you who have never done it before, I found this article to be quite helpful. There are also several apps and websites that can help with guiding you through meditations. I personally use “Stop, Breathe & Think” – which I love because it asks how you are feeling and then gives you several meditation topics to choose from based on your mood.
The hardest part of meditation is clearing your mind. I mean really clearing it. This HBR blog post really illustrates just how hard it can be to do this, since we all usually have 10 different tasks or worries in our minds at any given moment. Meditation is all about pushing those worries aside and refocusing on something positive. Once you are able to do that, you can find your “P” (something I talk about in this post).
Most of us probably already know that meditation is great for stress reduction, but it has also been cited as benefiting conditions such as high blood pressure, asthma, cancer, depression, anxiety, addiction and chronic pain/fatigue. This is because meditation has a profound effect on the brain. It literally calms our brains down and changes neural connections (in a good way). This leads to better focus, better memory, less anxiety, less, stress, more creativity and more compassion. I can personally attest to having experienced all of those after meditating. It is amazing what just 5-10 minutes can do for you.
So the next time you are feeling stressed, or even just a little “off,” go somewhere quiet (without your electronics) where you can have a few minutes to yourself. Breathe deeply and focus on your body and your breath. Push any thoughts that creep in aside.