Just 5 Daily Minutes of Meditation Makes a Big Difference
The research is in – meditating can do wonders for our physical, emotional, and mental well-being. It can reduce blood pressure and heart disease, and also contribute to decreased anxiety and depression.
Moreover, learning to meditate teaches us how to work with our minds. We begin to bring more awareness to the routine nature of our thoughts and our common storylines.
Meditation is not about stopping thoughts, or changing our thoughts altogether. Instead, it’s a practice that is simple but not easy – the act of returning again and again to the present moment.
For my health coaching clients, incorporating meditation can help to bring more awareness to daily health choices and exercise choices. It can help us bring awareness to our mindset when it comes to eating, exercise, or performance. Then, with awareness, we can begin to shift the mindset toward the goal you’re looking to achieve (losing weight, improving performance, or reducing stress).
In addition, meditation is critical for those of us who are physically active. Spending time in stillness gives the central nervous system a break. We get to drop into the “rest and digest” setting, what’s called the parasympathetic nervous system. This is an essential place to spend time to allow the body and mind to rest, rejuvenate, and recover.
How to get started:
Follow these tips to get started with a simple meditation practice:
Consistency is key: Research shows that it’s the consistency, not the duration, that matters. Just 5 minutes a day can make a big difference. Aim for the same time, every day (morning works well for most as you wait for the coffee to brew!).
Find a quiet spot where you won’t be interrupted.
Set a timer for 5 minutes.
Sit in stillness. The mind will wander (it’s the mind’s job to think!). Your job is not to stop your thoughts, but to notice.
Over and over, during the course of the 5 minutes, as the mind wanders, bring it back to the present moment. Be gentle and kind. Think of the mind like a puppy on a leash. It’s pulling to get away, offer it a gentle command to come back to the present moment.
Try the 5 Senses Exercise: This can be a great exercise to do every day when you first sit to meditate. Review each of the 5 senses. What do you see, hear, feel, taste, and smell? Some things will be subtle (taste, or even sight if your eyes are closed) but come present to each sense for just a few breaths.
Share your learnings from your meditation journey with me!