Meditation is a mental exercise that trains your mind to observe your thoughts and feelings without judgement. The practice of meditation is increasingly discussed and promoted, especially in recent weeks as we navigate through these uncertain and stressful times. Among many benefits, it helps you to be present in the moment and maintain a more positive perspective. It is simple, and something you can practice almost anywhere at any time. Here are 4 ways you will benefit from adding meditation to your daily routine, and some guidance on how to get started.
4 Ways You Will Benefit
1. Increasing Resiliency to Stress
In stressful times most of us get bogged down by our own feelings and thoughts, so much so that we begin to vocalize our feelings to those around us. Often saying out loud some version of “I’m so stressed out!” Meditation trains your mind to be more open, and less reactive. Practicing meditation may not necessarily rid stress from your life completely however, it will improve resiliency to stress by helping you notice and adjust stress-inducing thoughts, and giving you a new perspective on stressful situations.
2. Improving Sleep
To get a good night’s sleep, it’s not necessarily how many hours you spend in bed that’s important but rather the quality of rest you are getting. Sleep meditation helps you relax the mind. It trains you to be less in your head and more present in the moment. When your mind is quiet and settled, your body is better able to rest. If you are new to meditation and you are looking specifically to improve your sleeping habits, you will get the best results by using a guided experience.
3. Increasing Focus and Improving Your Attention
Practicing mindfulness meditation increases focus by reducing mind-wandering, and training your mind to be present in the moment. In practicing meditation, you’ll learn to bring your focus back to your breath when you notice your mind wandering. When you get distracted, this training helps you bring your attention back to the task at hand and stay focused.
4. Promotes Emotional Health and Well-Being
Meditation promotes emotional health and well-being by helping you view heightened emotions such as sadness, anger, stress, anxiousness etc. as passing states. It also sharpens your skills on coping with these negative thoughts and feelings. Long term studies have even shown daily meditation to decrease depression. In short, meditation leads to a more positive outlook on life.
How to Get Started
Many meditation experts and strong promoters of implementing this practice devote up to an hour every day to meditation. Don’t worry, you don’t need to block out an hour of your day to reap the benefits. To get started all you need to do is pause for 1 to 3 minutes of your day. If you can’t commit to every day, start with 1 to 2 times a week. As you get more comfortable, you may find that you want to bump it up to 10 minutes or maybe even 15.
Here is a simple technique that you can put into practice. When you begin to feel stressed and overwhelmed, pause for a moment and go through this 5 Senses Meditation. This will quickly help you feel more present, relaxed, and grounded.
5 Senses Meditation
Take a deep breath in through your nose, and release it out. Take your time noticing the following:
- 5 things you see
- 4 things you hear
- 3 things you feel
- 2 things you smell
- 1 thing you taste
If meditation is foreign to you, sitting in silence and focusing on your breath may feel strange and unnatural. There are many great tools that offer guided meditation, Headspace and Calm are two reputable applications. If you have an Amazon Alexa, try saying “Alexa, play guided meditation.”
During these stressful and unprecedented times, now is a great time to try meditating. Start small with 1-3 minutes, 1-2 times a week. If you make meditation a habit, you will surely notice many benefits, including an increased resiliency to stress, improvement in sleep, increased focus, and improved emotional health and well-being.
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