There is a reason why some of the most successful people on the planet practice some form of daily meditation. Studies have shown that meditation can have an overwhelmingly positive effect on basically every aspect of your life. Meditation increases your overall happiness and health, helps you focus, improves brain function, helps you get better sleep, reduces stress levels, improves the sense of connection to yourself and those around you, increases your wisdom, gives you a better perspective on life, and it keeps feelings of depression at bay. People who meditate daily claim that their overall stress levels have decreased significantly, making them better able to handle the daily grind without overreacting or losing their cool. Many athletes claim that meditation has actually helped them improve their game. In fact, the German soccer team who won the World Cup claim that meditation and yoga have been a part of their training for years.
For many of us, however, meditation is not something that we put on our priority list of “things to do”, and is more of a luxury or something that those hippie yogi’s do. Let’s face it, life is busy (even for us hippie yogi’s), and with so little free time, the last thing we want to do is go somewhere and sit for 20 minutes……am I right?
The thing is, we do have time. Think about your day. How much time do you spend on the computer surfing the internet, or watching TV, or reading or taking a shower or fixing your hair? I’m not saying that these things are bad……but if you have time to read Facebook posts, you have time to meditate. The problem is, when most people think about meditation, they envision some Buddhist monk sitting on a hillside in the Himalayan mountains under a tree. That does sound lovely, and maybe if you take a long vacation you can find the time to do just that. But for those of us who live in big cities and work hard every day to support ourselves and our families, we have to look at meditation from a different angle.
More and more doctors are starting to “prescribe” a daily meditation practice to patients who have anxiety, depression and even chronic illnesses as a form of treatment. The human body is not equipped to deal with the amount of stress that we put it through on a daily basis. It’s this stress that causes us to lose sleep, eat too much, feel depressed and basically lose our minds. Meditating for 5, 10 or 20 minutes a day calms the nervous system, allowing us to deal with stress better and improve performance in everything we do.
Starting a meditation practice takes some effort and planning. The first thing you have to do is make a conscious commitment to do it every day for a little while, so you actually start to feel the benefits and it becomes a habit. In the beginning, meditation can be frustrating. Feeling fidgety, distracted and getting caught up in all the thoughts racing in your head might make you think it’s not working. Remember, meditation is a practice…….and in time, you will eventually see a shift. Soon, you will experience tiny moments of euphoric stillness and peace. In time, these moments will happen more frequently and last for longer periods of time. Eventually, after a while of consistent meditation practice, you will feel as though your life is flowing more smoothly. All of a sudden, the world is not against you, but rather it’s on your side. People around you will notice, wondering what the secret is. Your skin, your hair, your eyes will seem brighter. Your overall confidence will become infectious, creating a domino effect of positivity around you. And all this for just 20 minutes of sitting still every day and breathing. I guarantee that no article in Elephant Journal or photo on Instagram will change your life the way meditation can.
Click HERE for more info on different meditation styles and techniques. Start with 5 minutes a day and work up from there.
When laying out a meditation area in your home, use your imagination. No matter what your living situation, with a little bit of creativity, you can design a unique and inviting oasis that will inspire you to stay for a while. Below are a few ideas to get you started on your dream “meditation station”: