IT’S FOR THE BIRDS NOT FOR ME

Many people do not understand what exactly meditation is.  To many people meditation is a difficult practice.  But when you let go of what you think it should look like, it becomes less difficult to understand.

BENEFITS OF DAILY MEDITATION PRACTICE

Meditation is a way to experience and appreciate joy in the present moment.  Research studies find that meditation practice leads to increased feelings of calm and decreased anxiety. It has found to have positive effects for improving sleep, stress management, self-compassion and the ability to focus.  Simply bringing your attention to your breath can bring on a relaxation response and calm your nervous system.

HOW TO START YOUR MEDITATION JOURNEY?

You have to be ready to do a commitment.  It is easier to learn from a teacher when you first start your meditation practice.  You can also get tablet-based meditation apps that can help you to develop your new meditation habit. 

Getting up 10 minutes earlier can help to establish a meditation practice.  Once you start your meditation don’t stop, even 5 minutes a day will give you the benefits. 

WHERE SHOULD YOU MEDITATE—CREATING A SANCTUARY

Creating a peaceful atmosphere is important to begin a successful practice.  When you first start your practice it can be helpful to use a consistent space to mediate.  You can create your meditation area as simply as selecting a comfortable chair or meditation cushion.  Some people like to mediate outdoors or on a quiet bench, just remember that you do not need to sit a certain way in a certain place.  It is an internal experience.  It is about being aware of this moment.

HOW DO I RESPOND TO INTRUSIVE THOUGHTS?

It is normal to have thoughts while meditating.  Try not to judge yourself for thoughts that enter you mind when trying to focus on the present moment.  A common line to try is “I am inhaling in this moment, I feel joy in this moment.”

Try to be an observer of your thoughts and treat them as something transient and passing.  You can think of thoughts of clouds passing through the sky.  Watch your thoughts arise and watch them move away.  For example, if you think “did I remember to send that email?” just acknowledge the thought and let it pass, let it be transient.   

Just remember that breathing is important in meditation and just focusing on that will help you to relax.  Remember that it takes practice to understand meditation, so do not be hard on yourself when you first start.

Submitted by Gwen Cottingham, Registered Nutritionist, g.cottingham@hotmail.com

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