Earlier this year, I attended a meditation workshop because I’d heard about all the benefits for eons but was never successful at sitting still for more than a few minutes.
I wanted to learn how meditation affects the brain, so I could find out how I could make it a part of my daily routine as well as understand more about how meditation improves overall wellbeing.
The workshop leader, Kelly Corbet, even promised that continual meditation could lead to a happier life. She had me at hello and let me share with you my experience thus far.
Here’s What I Learned…
I learned that even as little as three days of daily meditation could actually rewire your brain and start to positively impact your outlook on life, memory and peacefulness. Other benefits that can be expected are a reduction in anxiety, stress and even aging.
In a study published by Biological Psychiatry, the group that underwent mindfulness meditation showed more activity in brain scans in the part of the brain related to managing stress, the ability to focus and feel calm compared to a placebo group. The most interesting part to me was that four months later that same group showed lower levels of an unhealthy inflammation marker in their bloodwork compared to the placebo group, although very few were still meditating.
That’s pretty powerful.
How It Helped Me
I decided that I could commit to five to ten minutes on a daily basis for two weeks and then I would determine if I noticed a difference or not. And I was relieved to know I didn’t have to sit quietly on a mat for hours on end! Like most of you, I struggle with constantly being distracted all day long by push notifications from my cell phone, social media, text messages and new emails popping up into my inbox.
Within less than a week, I definitely started noticing a difference. I was so much more conscious of where my thoughts were throughout the day but I also noticed that I was looking forward to these mini time out sessions. It really made me realize how simple it was to just take a few minutes out of the day to calm the body and refocus on what was important.
Needless to say, as a whole, our ability to focus has drastically diminished over the last couple of decades so the thought of sitting still for a few minutes can be a little daunting. However, I definitely encourage you to give it a try so you can experience it for yourself and see the positive impacts it offers.
“The main ingredient for bliss is releasing yesterdays and tomorrows, and remembering who we are now.” ~Kelly Corbet
Tips on How You Can Start Meditating
I recommend starting with a guided meditation and you can purchase these for pennies or even get them free on YouTube or in the App store. They vary greatly so I’d try several of them to see which style and format you like best. They often have a specific focus such as meditation for anxiety, sleep, stress and many other topics.
The reason why I like starting off with guided meditation is because when someone else is leading it for you, they can continually remind you to let your thoughts go and refocus on either your breathing or on a specific part of your body. Once you get the hang of that, you can move on to becoming more independent with your practice and get into your meditative state with music alone.
Another option is to look into local meditation workshops and classes in your area so you can have a greater understanding of how this practice works and for ways to get optimal results.
Whether you’ve tried meditation in the past or not, I encourage you to have an open mind and give it a try. With the ability for this practice to potentially lower your stress levels, alleviate anxiety and improve your overall wellbeing, there really is not a good reason to check it out so you can discover the benefits yourself.