And Breathe

You may think I am a broken record, but I am going to AGAIN talk about meditation. Don't click away just yet…hang with me. Please know that meditation can look so many different ways. Finding the way that works for you is part of the journey! My favorite thing said to me when I recommend meditation is, "I tried that once. It didn't work." My response to this is….ummm, okay, but how do you know it didn't work? You may have actually changed your neural pathways a bit. Plus, it is a practice that you do over and over….to relieve stress, among other things. It won't always feel like bliss and peace, but it might for a few seconds here and there. Those seconds will increase over time as you practice. 

I once gave a speech in honor of meditation and used "Serenity Now" as an acronym. "Serenity" was a list of why to meditate. "Now" was for 3 easy steps to start. 

To keep this simple, I am just going to list the items. Feel free to search for your own information. It seems like more and more research comes up with the benefits of meditation and mindfulness. 

S: Stress. Meditation lowers stress. Research has shown that meditation lowers the stress hormone, cortisol. One study determined that the average person is stressed for 2 hours and 11 minutes per day. Another study showed that as little as 10 minutes per day can lower the stress hormone levels. 

E: Emotions. Meditation helps us process emotions, and not just at the time we are meditating. 

R: Recall Improves. Memory recall improves with daily meditation. 

E: Elderly less lonely. Elderly individuals who meditated reported feeling less lonely 

N: New ideas. Meditation has been linked to increased creativity and coming up with new ideas. 

I: Inflammation. Meditation has proven to be an effective treatment for chronic and acute pain. It has been shown to lower inflammation. 

T: Test scores. Students trained in meditation and mindfulness made better grades 

Y: Younger. Some have claimed meditation reverses the aging process 

N: No rules. Forget all the shoulds about meditating. You don't have to sit in a certain position. You don't have to burn incense. You don't have to recite foreign words you don't understand. You don't have to close your eyes. Now, you can do these things if you want to, if they speak to you, if they work for you. Find something that works for you. Sit in a chair. Sit in your parked car. Lay in your bed. Whatever place that works for you….whatever position that works for you…eyes open or closed…..whatever works for you is the RIGHT way to meditate. 

O: One minute. Start small. Start with one minute. Set a timer for 1 minute and do it consistently. Be gentle with yourself in this process. It is SO NORMAL for your mind to wander over and over. Even in just one or two minutes. When you feel like your mind clears in your one minute…maybe the timer startles or surprises you, go for two minutes. 

W: When your mind wanders, breathe. Focus on your breath and/or come back to your breath, 

If you feel like reading more of my thoughts around mediating, check out: Secret Weapon #2 and Serenity Now!