It’s crazy to think that with just 12 minutes of meditation, every morning, we could change our lives. Sure, a lot of things can happen in 12 minutes. We could cook a mediocre dinner, write a thoughtful thank you letter or two, even run a relatively slow mile that maybe should be classified as a power walk, but change our life? I know it sounds silly, but I’m here to tell you it’s definitely possible. Meditation is a wonderful mental exercise to help strengthen our mind, body, and soul. Through practiced breathing and concentration, we can calm anxiety, strengthen our focus, recharge our bodies and start each day off with a more positive and hopeful outlook.
Calming Anxiety One Breathe At A Time
Anxiety is a big deal and unfortunately something that we can overlook easily these days. Anxiety can be debilitating, occupying our minds and thoughts, distracting us from our daily routines and hindering us from completing simple tasks. Anxiety is a mental ailment that plagues more than 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older each year. This disorder, while severe, can be reduced significantly and even managed with regular meditation practices.
Meditation helps us calm and stretch our brains into stronger, healthier places for our thoughts to live. Anxiety and meditation both change the structure and functions of our brains, but in opposing behaviours. A certain part of the brain is activated when we’re anxious and when anxiety is calmed a different part of the brain is activated. There are MRI test results showing that meditation can actually strengthen and activate the anxiety-relieving part of our brains.
Meditation is a great way to clear our minds and increase our sense of self-worth. Mantras are an amazing tool to engage our minds and emotions to work together in lifting our spirits mentally and physically. There has even been research published that found meditation to be helpful for greatly reducing feelings of depression, so much so that it was about as effective as an antidepressant in some cases. How cool is that?
Slip Into A Stress-Free State Of Mind
A stress-free mind is something that we all strive for and let’s be honest, it sometimes seems impossible. With pressure to excel in both our personal and professional lives, mounting tension can sneak into our minds at all times of the day. Being overwhelmed is real and we know that feeling all too well. The hours seem to slip by and we still have a pile of laundry to be washed, a to-do list with only one task crossed off, work to finish and we haven’t even eaten dinner yet. Being able to restore our calm and inner peace is such a simple, but hugely effective way to reduce stress. Meditation is an amazing way to shut out the noise for a few minutes and concentrate on our breath to refocus our thoughts and calm our minds.
We can turn those stressed and exhausted faces into zenned out grins because studies have shown that meditation can positively regulate the area of the brain that controls stress.
Ten Hut! Increase Mental Focus
In this media-driven world, focus can be treated like currency. With social media, short deadlines, new wellness trends, and the constant pressure to be aware of so many things at one time, our minds are pushed to the limit and our ability to focus on one task for an extended period of time is dwindling. We fight for time and attention from our co-workers, friends, family, even the cashier at the grocery store; we can forget to find time to focus on our needs and our life.
Being able to concentrate and focus is a huge social skill that we are sadly starting to lose due to the fast-paced environment we live in. Lucky for us, consistent meditation practice is associated with increased activity in the areas of the brain responsible for memory and focus.
Starting something new is always tough, but when that something is going to help us dramatically shift our mood and mental state, I think we owe it to ourselves to give it a try. The benefits of meditation far outweighs the struggles to concentrate for 12 plus minutes straight, the awkward squirms and those one-eye-open time checks, hoping the clock shows it’s almost over.
There are so many digital and mobile apps to help us get started in guided meditation that there really isn’t an excuse to not download at least one. Calm and Headspace are two of my favourites and were a huge help when I was starting out. Definitely test out the different apps and programmes to find one you love and that resonates on a personal level. The best advice I can give is to pause, find calm, take a deep breath and begin with a peaceful mind and an open heart.