If you’re like I am, you can become so busy with the day-to-days of life that, despite the best of intentions, it can be challenging to find time for stillness and tuning inward. Yet, in our fast-paced society, the need for mindful meditation practices has never been greater. Our electronics provide wonderfully convenient access to information and each other, but can also leave us feeling stressed and overwhelmed at times.
When are we integrating all that we are taking in? We all know that constantly feeding the body without proper digestion is not a great idea, yet we treat our minds that way when we don’t allow for assimilation. By consciously shutting away the outside world and tuning deeply within our selves, we both nourish and release, making us better able to handle all that our days can bring forth.
It isn’t easy to incorporate new practices into our lives, but there are many reasons to add some form of daily meditation. Even a short daily meditation is going to make you feel grounded, centered and less reactive throughout your day. Your interactions with others will become more harmonious, you will feel happier, less stressed, and you will have a greater sense of inner peace, as well as a deeper knowledge of who you are.
Still not convinced? Let’s take a quick look at some of the potential health benefits. Did I mention less stress, depression and anxiety? Meditation shifts brain activity from the stress-prone right frontal cortex to the calmer left frontal cortex. That means that there is less brain activity in the amygdale, which is where the brain processes fear. You will have better concentration levels, increased blood flow (which also means healthier skin), lower blood pressure, decreased muscle tension, increased serotonin production, enhanced immune system, and better sleep.
“But, Antonia,” you say, “I really can’t sit still and just watch my thoughts.” Yes, I understand, and do promise that it does get easier. However, there are also many forms of meditation, just like exercise. It’s important to find the best methods that work for you.
I really like concentration mediation, such as focusing upon a candle flame or other focal point, to keep one anchored in the present moment. Mindfulness meditations, such as sitting comfortably with a straight spine and focusing upon your breath as it flows in and out, can be a great method for beginners. There are also various methods of movement meditation whereby one becomes deeply aware of one’s activity. Even stopping to look at your watch’s second hand for sixty seconds can bring you more fully into awareness of the moment and decrease stress levels.
Let’s make a commitment together to include some form of daily meditation into our lives, dear readers. Please share your experiences with meditation and a commitment you’re willing to make with me.
By Antonia Hall | Antonia blogs for Ode about her journey of self-discovery and love for life, and welcomes readers to join in the fun.