Numerous media moguls such as Arianna Huffington, Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey praise the power of meditation. For years I have been debating adding the practice into my daily health-focused routine, and finally in the efforts to reap the many benefits, I recently took up the practice.
In an article on Forbes by Travis Bradberry, research proves taking 10-20 minutes to contemplate what you’re grateful for “improves your mood, because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23%.”
People who work daily to disconnect from the constant barrage of stressors show improved mood, energy, and physical well-being.1
I started by checking out a highly-recommended YouTube site by The Honest Guys, who produce and create varying guided meditations. It was fun exploring which ones worked best for me fresh out of bed, or as a tool for winding down in the evening. I did find trying to fit in meditation during the workday was challenging on too many levels, so I stuck with this schedule.
The easiest way to begin any meditation practice is with something that you have to do everyday anyway: breathing. All of the visualizations I tried began with at least a few minutes of focused breathing: inhaling fresh air and exhaling stale air. It’s common to get sidetracked by another thought and it is sure to happen at the beginning, but you just need to bring your focus back to your breathing. This task may seem too easy to produce real results, but you’ll be surprised by how relaxed you feel afterward and how much easier it is to let go of distracting thoughts that otherwise seem to have lodged permanently inside your brain.1
Being guided through a visualization exercise, or even solely listening to the sound of crashing waves, helps make stress intermittent by focusing your brain’s attention onto something that is completely stress-free. Obviously, when things are going good, and your mood is positive, this is relatively easy.1
When life isnt going as well and your mind is flooded with negative thoughts, this can be a real challenge.1 I find meditation equally beneficial in both scenarios, as one fills up the tank while the other truly provides an outlet.
Now you can add me to the list of advocates. Try it out!
1. Travis Bradberry. “How Successful People Stay Calm.” Forbes. 06 February 2014.