Let that sh*t go
I think we can all agree that life is hard sometimes, but we can’t control what happens to us, we can only control our reaction to things. And although it’s hard to remember when we are rushing around running late for work (so me everyday), or have a deadline, or hear news that isn’t exactly in alignment with our plan, getting stressed and reacting impulsively doesn’t help the situation at all. Luckily, I discovered this little thing called meditation. When I am meditating on a daily basis, my stress levels go down dramatically. I know, it’s all the rage right now. And you might already be attempting to meditate without really knowing why, because it’s the trendy thing to do. Well, it’s trending for a reason because this is powerful stuff!
Meditation has been proven to reduce levels of cortisol, which is the stress hormone I was referring to above. The amygdala region of the brain is closely correlated to negative emotions such as stress. Stress alters the structure of the brain and increases the density of this region. Meditation reduces the density and helps to maintain a healthy brain structure. It also improves creativity through self reflection. Your immune system can be strengthened through a consistent meditation practice because it reduces all over inflammation. Meditation can also reduce blood pressure and balance hormone levels.
So now that you know just a few scientific benefits (there’s so many more!) of getting quiet and self reflection, let’s talk about the how. This is the part that overwhelms us because we picture buddha sitting in silence for hours and not moving. While this is certainly an option, there is no wrong way to meditate. It can feel like a lot of pressure to sit still and “not think” for minutes at a time. The good news is, this isn’t exactly what meditation is. I aim to sit for 5-10 minutes a day focusing on my breathe instead of the 500 things I have to do that day, but I also use movement like running as meditation. Because I’m a busy body and constantly moving around (read-spaz), I really benefit from the yin aspect of sitting still. But if running or walking sounds more appealing to you, then you should try that! It’s about connecting to your breathe and connecting with something bigger than you, whatever that means for you. It’s about being present and getting some clarity amidst a hectic day, or life for that matter. You can move, sit cross legged, chant, use crystals, use a mala, use a guide, mantra, music, or whatever feels best for you. It doesn’t have to be whoo whoo hippy shit (although personally, that is my favorite), just make it feel real to you, whatever that may mean.
It also really helps, especially when starting to meditate, to use a guided app! I love Headspace. There are so many options to chose from, and you can test it out for 10 days before paying for it. Another great one with a ton of options is called Calm. I highly suggest trying out one of these!! Don’t feel like you have to meditate for an hour each morning and each night to reap the benefits. Start out small. Even just 5 minutes a day can make a huge difference!! If it sounds intimidating, which is totally normal, start with 2 minutes! Challenge yourself to 2 minutes every morning, for a week. That is literally less time than it takes to make a piece of avocado toast. Totally doable! After a week, move up to 5 minutes. Then increase to 10 minutes, and find a time that feels good for you where you really start to see the changes. Be patient and give it some time, it takes a few weeks to build a habit! Most importantly, don’t be hard on yourself. If you miss a day, give yourself credit for even recognizing that you miss it, then use it as motivation to get to meditating the next day!
Challenge yourself to a 30 day meditation! Did you discover a certain way of meditating that works best for you? Let me know if you use these apps and what you think of them!