Do you want all the benefits of a meditation practice but the idea of sitting with your thoughts for a whole twenty minutes scares you to death? Or maybe you think that meditation is a wasteful way to spend the precious and small amount of free time you have in your day.
Trust me when I tell you that you can have your mindful cake - and eat it too. You just have to do it in your own unique way.
The fact that meditation has widespread health benefits is old news by now. Everyone from yoga teachers to cardiologists (to your acupuncturist - hint hint) are telling us to add a little more Om into our lives.
So, if the benefits of meditation are so widely known and agreed upon to be true, then why aren’t more people practicing what they preach? Why aren’t meditation groups as popular as CrossFit gyms or spinning classes?
Well, for starters, sitting for twenty plus minutes at a time with an empty mind is freaking hard. They call it a meditation practice for a reason. You never really perfect it - and you're not supposed to. The benefit is in the practice itself.
So, it’s no surprise when the majority of my patients suffering from crippling anxiety, aren’t exactly overjoyed when I suggest they start up a meditation practice. I’ve heard every excuse from, “I can’t be alone with my thoughts for two minutes, let alone twenty!” to, “I have an app on my phone for that, but I never remember to use it.” I’ve even heard, “I’ve tried that before and I sucked at it.”
Most of these patients are your typical Type-A personality: ambitious, competitive, organized, over-scheduled, and consistently have a sense of urgency.
Yeah, me too. I can relate. I had tried everything from early morning meditation at home to group classes at a local yoga studio. And I too had downloaded a variety of guided meditation apps (my favorite is Headspace), but the routine never seemed to stick.
But then one day I noticed how calm and grounded I felt after a long walk in the woods hunting for morel mushrooms, and it dawned upon me! Something so simple I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before...
I don't have to sit to meditate.
Type-A personalities tend to shy away from idling - feeling as though their time is being wasted. Time that should be spent productively: cooking dinner, working out, finishing an important presentation… I love helping people understand that meditation isn’t idle time.It’s a chance for your body to press the reset button. It stops your ‘fight or flight’ response and flips the switch to ‘rest and digest’. This simple adjustment changes our how our bodies function, allowing for our built-in healing potential to thrive - resulting in better health and wellness.
The trick here is that there are lots of ways to flip the switch. Sitting cross-legged on the floor with soft chimes ringing in the background is just the popular ideal - but not the universal truth.
Any technique that reduces your stress hormones, increases your ability for love and compassion, and settles your spirit is a meditative activity. The actions may differ but the benefits remain the same: lowering chronic pain, improved emotional stability, better sleep, plus many more.
So, how can you incorporate more mindfulness practice into your life? Well, what gives you pure joy?
Love nature? Great! Leave your phone and earbuds at home and get outside. Go for a nature walk or ride your bike on wooded trails. That’s your meditation.
Are you artistically inclined? Then spending 20 minutes a day coloring might be what works for you.
Do you feel most calm and serene when you’re near water? Then grab some fishing rods and get meditating!
Do you like to write? Start keeping a meditation journal. Write out all your thoughts and worries until you’ve purged them from your head. Feeling a bit woo-woo too? Take those pages outside and burn them - sending your worries and cares into the wind.
Your imagination is the limit. Dig deep and ask yourself, “What brings me pure joy?” Then, incorporate that activity into your daily life - without the distraction of technology - in order to create a meditation practice that can be of value to your health and well-being.
Today, I'm going to take a walk alongside the Mississippi River for my lunch break meditation. Leave and comment and let me know you're going to do to get a bit more Om in your life.
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