Amy Christie | Feb. 22, 2018
Meditation is the practice of focusing the mind to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state. It's not a religious thing though various religions do incorporate it in their traditions. Like exercise is a means to transform the body, mediation is a means to transform the mind. It's a way to move the mind beyond stressful thoughts and emotional upsets. There are a variety of meditiation techniques and traditions as well as tech options (our favorite is below!) but the main goal for all is the cultivation of mindfulness and awareness of the now.
So why should you try it? People come to meditation for a number of reasons. Some seek a better understanding of self or improved concentration. Other use meditation to mitigate anxiety, stress and fearful thoughts. While others come to meditation through a medical recommendation. As you can see, the purpose of meditation can be any number of things however, those who regularly practice all can benefit in a number of ways. Here are ways you can benefit from meditation:
-Decreased blood pressure and hypertension
-Slows aging (through the anti-aging hormone DHEA)
-Promotes restful sleep
-Lower cholesterol levers
-Increased happiness, self-awareness and self acceptance
Headspace is our favorite meditation app/site. It was founded by Andy Puddicombe, a trained Tibetan Buddhist monk, and Rich Pierson. They saw benefit potential of sharing the guided meditations, secularized versions of the exercises Puddicombe studied. Headspace acts as a teacher, helping you learn the basics of breathing and visualization. Headspace offers 10 days of meditation for free and then three (paid) subscription options. After the first 30 days, you can access themed categories like Foundation, Health, Relationships, Performance and Headspace Pro. Ten to 30 days options and session length options make it very a personalized experience. The app’s interface is extremely user-friendly and with its goofy cartoon animations, it’s easy to learn guided mediation techniques. And we LOVE the guys yummy British accent voice.
In one of Puddicombe's animated tutorials, he portrays the basics of meditation with a simple metaphor: Imagine yourself sitting by a busy highway. Cars continue to pass by. You can choose to sit there and notice the cars without focusing on any of them or you can follow a car down the road. It's the same with meditation. As you sit there, eyes closed, controlling your breathing, all kinds of thoughts will be flying through your mind. Instead of exerting energy to try to block them, which often backfires, continue to focus on your breath and let the ideas float by, acknowledging they exist without engaging them.
Everyone can benefit from meditation. Even if you're not sure you're doing it right, give it a try.