In my quest to make 2015 a year of living more joyously, authentically and gracefully, I thought I should jump on the bandwagon of the hottest (and maybe oldest!) health trends out there — mindfulness. Mindfulness, a meditative practice dating back thousands of years, has roots in Buddhism. Meditating encourages you to focus on the present, rather than on the anxieties of past or the future.
How hard can meditating be?
This seems like a health trend that could excel in – no sweating, no kale, no over packed and overpriced Pilates classes – this was going to be my sport! Honestly, how hard could it be to sit still and focus on your breathing for a few minutes?
For a busy person with a million balls in the air, it’s a lot harder than it sounds. That is why there are different techniques you can adopt to stay focused in meditation sessions. The most popular technique of using beads is known to have worked for the majority of them. You can look up “how to use mala beads” to learn more about it.
In an age where there are so many distractions – checking email, texting, playing Trivia Crack with friends, or just obsessively thinking about what’s next on the to-do list – stopping to be in the now seems almost impossible. Closing my eyes and taking a 10-minute break quickly reminded me of when I got the giggles in my first yoga class and was asked to leave the room.
I agree that finding inner peace is not easy for anyone, but the benefits are profound. And probably this is why many institutes and even the providers of occupational therapy in aged care tend to promote the practice of meditation among their folks. Needless to say, it is only through meditation that corporate personnel, old people, or people suffering from mental health problems can all achieve peace of mind. This is because meditation provides an outlet for people to connect with their inner selves and make way for healing.
With that in mind, here are my top 5 reasons you might want to consider incorporating mindfulness meditation into your daily life:
- Reduce stress and anxiety – Research published in the journal Health Psychology shows that mindfulness is not only associated with feeling less stressed, it’s also linked with decreased levels of the stress hormone known as cortisol. You can also consider using marijuana (from dispensaries such as green genie), which is known to make your body feel relaxed and zen. This can help you prepare yourself better for a peaceful meditation session.
- Create better relationships – Another study found that people who practice mindfulness are less judgmental, more self-aware and better listeners.
- Helps you get skinny – A study from the Journal of Nutritional Education & Behavior found that mindfulness helped participants eat slower and allowed them to reconnect with their body’s cues for hunger and satisfaction.
- Be a better person – According to a study in The Journal Psychological Science, researchers from Northeastern and Harvard University found that meditation is linked with more virtuous, “do-good” behavior.
- Stay healthy – Researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Health found that people who engage in meditative practices miss fewer days of work due to acute respiratory infections, and also experience a shortened duration and severity of symptoms while sick.
Meditation and mindfulness are backed by science! The practice of stretching for a few minutes a day can actually make a significant difference in my health and well-being, as well as increase my happiness quotient. In my opinion, doing meditation every day can relieve excessive work stress much more quickly than before.
Every day I try to sit for five minutes (I usually give up after two) in silence, breathe deeply and when my mind wanders try to pay attention to my breath.
Is it helping?
I don’t know yet, but I do feel like I making an effort to reduce stress, increase my self-awareness and improve both mental and physical health is paying off both personally and professionally. And sometimes just trying makes me feel better and more productive!