Did you know that taking just 5 – 10 minutes a day to meditate could dramatically benefit your life?
How do you feel about meditation? Is it something that you have already embraced as a part of your daily well being or do you feel the whole ohm thing is just a bit hippyish?
Daniel Sandler recently called me ‘a bit of a hippy’ when we made some videos together, it did make me giggle because I’d never really thought about it. I suppose he actually has a point as I’ve always loved natural things but I hadn’t really meditated until last year. I used to sit down with my hubby after dinner and just do 10 minutes a day. It was too easy to get out of though, one or the other of us was running to a deadline and so we soon got out of the habit. I started again around 6 weeks ago and decided to try meditating first thing in the morning instead of trying to fit it in after dinner.
I’ve found the benefits to be really very powerful and have been amazed how just a few minutes each day can set you up to be calmer. If a challenging situation arises, it’s easier to get it into perspective and be more productive in dealing with the issue.
Here’s some of the benefits of meditation.
Reduction in stress and anxiety. Meditation lowers the effects of the fight or flight response that we experience under stressful situations. It decreases the production of stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol.
Meditation has shown to decrease blood pressure and hypertension.
It helps to lower cholesterol levels.
Aids more restful sleep.
Increases the production of DHEA, the hormone that helps to keep us young.
Studies have shown that meditation helps to restore the brain and help in the growth of areas associated with empathy, sense of self, empathy and stress regulation.
Boost the immune system.
The practise is also said to improve cell health and help with balancing hormones.
How can you start to meditate?
Begin with some deep belly breathing.
Most of us breath short shallow breaths in our chest which can lead to stress and hypertension. Place your hands on your stomach and feel your belly raise as you breath deeply into your stomach and then exhale allowing the stomach to return to normal.
Practise this for a few days and then try relaxation breaths.
Inhale deeply as before for the count of 4.
Hold your breath for the count of 7.
Exhale pushing the air out through your mouth for the count of 8.
Repeat 4 times and note how you feel. You will find that you feel more relaxed, you can use this breathing at times of stress to lower your cortisol levels and remain more calm.
There are lots of meditation programs online but my personal preference is to walk away from technology to calm my mind. It is good to start out with a guided meditation though and I found this short meditation by Jamie Zimmerman really helpful, it is just 10 minutes long. Now I can use this technique to relax anywhere and follow a similar meditation at bed time which helps me to sleep more peacefully. Sadly Jamie died in an accident at a young age but her inspiration lives on with her work https://soundcloud.com/jamiezmd/relaxation-response
Deepak Chopra also does a free 21 day challenge but I found at around 20 minutes a session, it was a little much for me to commit to first thing in the morning.
I really hope that you give the practise a try and would love to hear how you get on.