If you do not already have a mediation practice or you fell out of touch with it, there are more reasons now than ever that justify the minimal effort it requires. Do yourself and your isolation buds a favor and get meditating! Here is why…
- It is convenient. There really is no excuse, all you need is 5-15 minutes (more is better but 5 will do if it is all you can spare) and a quiet place in your home or outside. During this time of quarantine and isolation that should not be too hard to find considering you should be staying home and if you do go out limiting your time outside to uncrowded open spaces. Coincidentally these 2 places happen to be the best places to meditate, so game on!
- It has major personal benefits. Let’s start with the obvious, the instant gratification you get when you have carved out time to do something just for you, regardless of what it is, it feels good. The moment you sit down to meditate you just gave yourself time to fill your cup, focus on you and only you and you can rest assured knowing you will likely walk away from that time a more calm and collected and maybe even a better version of yourself than before you started. We have loosely known about the personal benefits of mediation for quite some time such as increased awareness, mindfulness, concentration, the ability to focus and feel content. Now we have scientific evidence to support many other benefits of meditation such as stress reduction, improved cognition, increased emotional health, generating kindness, connectedness and empathy, increased creativity and memory and decreased pain and blood pressure. This means time is up for the skeptics as the data is in and for someone like me who loves to read a study there are now plenty to leaf through on the benefits of meditation. Check out the data highlighted in these articles from Healthline, Live & Dare, and the Science of People chalk full of scientific resources and more benefits than mentioned here. So why the heck wouldn’t you do this all the time? No, really, if it’s that easy to get all of these benefits you should probably start right now. There is a bonus benefit to getting started during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we cohabitate in close quarters with others in a stressful time mediation is exactly the excuse you need to get some alone time or if you find yourself on double duty taking care of everyone at home it’s the ultimate chance to decompress and step aside to take a break for a few moments.
- It impacts those around you in a positive way. Living in close quarters without much time out and about means spending more or all of your time with loved ones and family. Although we are hopefully thankful to have an excuse for this excess of quality time it is also likely important we take little breaks here and there for sanity sake. What if a mediation break not only helped you but it helped those around you too. I don’t mean by leaving them alone and getting out of their hair for a few, rather help them through your meditation, it can directly impact those around you. We already know you can become more calm, empathetic and compassionate but those things also become contagious and will influence those around you as explained in this blog from Mindful. What you pick up from your meditation benefits you and in turn benefits those around you. This makes sense if you think about it, imagine being in-genuine to a genuine person or rude to the Dalai Lama, you just can’t do it, what they exude impacts your perspective and influences interactions with them. Moreover, mediation can improve relationships by altering our perspective and mindset as explained in Psychology Today and at Mindworks.org. So please go give yourself the gift of self-discovery and improvement and then let the magic happen as it gets shared with those around you.
Not sure how to get started? Keep it simple and know it is also absolutely ok to wing it, there really is no right or wrong way to meditate. In essence, meditation is the practice of training your mind to focus and expand over time the ability to redirect your thoughts towards awareness, mindfulness, calmness, clarity and stability. If we jump right in we may just focus on exactly what our mind and bodies need without even realizing it, perhaps giving us the opportunity to iron out and find clarity on a daily challenge or give ourselves the time and energy needed to feel content among whatever chaos we are presently experiencing. And just like that 2 broad topics you can get started on right now, present challenges and feeling content.
All you need to do now is find a quiet comfortable space free of distractions and interruptions. Sit in a comfortable position in a comfortable spot (floor with a pillow, chair, bed, etc.). Sit up straight in an effort to stack each vertebrae on top of one another and draw your shoulders up to your ears and then down your back. Slightly tuck your chin so the crown of your head is pointed directly up, this will allow greater capacity of air to flow through your throat as you breath deeply. Gently close your eyes and bring your awareness first into the space you are in be that the room or outdoors, then bring the awareness to yourself, exactly where you are in the space, making note of how you feel both mentally and physically. Take 3-5 deep breaths, noticing the breath as it enters and exits the body then take it away with whatever you want to meditate on, begin mindful of exactly what you want to focus on and bringing your thoughts back to that if they begin to wander.
I hope this gives you the excuse and confidence to introduce a daily or weekly meditation into your life. If you decide to meditate during this COVID-19 pandemic and you find benefit I would love to hear all about it as I am sure others would too. Please leave comments below so that you actions can inspire the rest of us.