The good news is that your brain on meditation is nothing like the effects of the famous 80’s anti-drug commercial, “This is your brain on drugs!” In fact, meditation does the complete opposite playing an active role in rewiring the brain and nervous system, and enhancing the quality of one’s life and well-being. I can testify to this first hand that practicing daily meditation seems more like magic! Yes, it really does wonders, and I have seen this in all areas of my life from better concentration, increased creativity, healthier lifestyle, less stress, self awareness, positivity, self acceptance and more calmness.
I discovered meditation as a result of suffering from anxiety over the span of my life. From the early age of 9, my anxiety originated from basic thoughts and ideas I had about my life, and what I thought should be. It was something as simple as worrying about things I couldn’t control like the future, making decisions based on fear, and placing more value in the hands of others rather than my own. It wasn’t until I discovered meditation and the idea of letting go and listening to what currently makes me happy by keeping the focus inward that I was able to reap the benefits of meditation.
The first time I noticed that I suffered from anxiety and stress was during my younger years as a competitive figure skater and tennis player. By the time the competition came for me to perform my three minute routine, my nerves were jumping out of my skin, and I felt frozen all over especially in the pit of my stomach. Rather than focusing internally, all I could remember was future negative thoughts of what if I fell on a jump or messed up the routine before I had even skated, and what other skaters and audience members I knew would think. I played out this scenario in my head so many times that when it came to performing I couldn’t focus and perform my best therefore preventing me from going further. This feeling of anxiety from such an early age creeped up later into all areas of my life until it became crippling. My anxiety of fear and worrying got so bad that it manifested into a panic attack my sophomore year of college. I thought literally I was dying, and recalled having trouble breathing, eating, and insomnia for two weeks prior to taking my winter exams. The fear of not maintaining my honor roll grades that I was accustomed to caused me to have a crash and burn. My anxiety had manifested itself so bad that it caused deterioration on my physical health that I ended up having to retake two classes and accept a C in one area of study which never happened before. The worst part was that the doctors never told me about meditation, or how to explore my under lying thought process, instead they were quick to just write a script as the anecdote for my anxiety. At that time I just took the medication without question, and never even pushed myself to face the underlying root for my anxiety. Fast forward two years later at the young age of 23, I just decided one day to get off medication, because I felt I was fine and had no stress.
Although, I was off medication and seemed fine I never explored my underlying root of my anxiety and fear, so little doses of my anxiety would come slowly back and forth into my life like a toxic boyfriend that I wanted to get rid of but kept on entering various stages of my life. However, it wasn’t until the past two in half years that I wanted to make a clear break up with this Mr. Anxiety for good! I started working towards change, by applying the techniques of meditation religiously to my daily life, as well as exploring the root of my internal fears and letting go. As a result of meditation and my journey of self-discovery I’m so happy to say that I don’t suffer from anxiety anymore, and can use meditation if I feel that sense of fear, overwhelm, stress, or worry coming on. Read on to find out the magic to transforming your life into present day bliss....
CHOOSE A PEACEFUL PLACE: When planning meditation into your schedule it’s important to choose a peaceful environment for your meditation.
BE COMFORTABLE: In your meditation it’s important to feel comfortable so wear clothes that are loose fitting, stretchy, and breathable.
SET ASIDE TIME: Set aside to meditate daily even if it’s for two minutes. Remember the longer you practice the more benefits you will see. Also, don’t give up if you feel it’s taking you a while to relax, the more you practice at calming your mind the easier and better it will become
FIND A COMFORTABLE POSITION: Traditional forms of meditation are done in a seated position with legs crossed, however if you have bad hips you can sit on a chair.
FOLLOW YOUR BREATHING: This is the most universal meditation techniques. Become aware of your breath by the rising and falling of your abdomen as you breathe in and out. Don’t make a conscious effort to change your breathing patterns, just let it flow naturally, and don’t pass judgment.
FOCUS ON MENTAL IMAGES: During your breathing if your eyes are closed focus on mental images as the rising and falling of the breath. Pick an image that resonates calmness and the idea of letting go. It can be a flower in the wind, and as you breath out and let go a petal falls, or a sailing boat floating in the ocean, and each time you breath out and let go, the boat floats further away from shore.
MANTRA MEDITATION: This is another form of meditation that I use once in a while. This includes repeating a sound, word, or phrase over and over until you silence the mind into a deep meditative state. It can be anything you choose. It can be as common as “Om” or even words like “Peace”. These mantras create vibrations in the mind which allow you to disconnect your thoughts
CONCENTRATE ON ONE OBJECT: Similar to mantras you can use a simple visual object to fill your mind and allow you to reach to a deeper consciousness. This is open eye meditation. This is great to do daily if you’re not in a comfortable setting, and on the go and start experiencing stress, or negative thoughts. Just keep your concentration on one object until your vision starts to dim and the object consumes your vision
PRACTICE VISUALIZATION: I just love this technique probably the most. It’s super easy to apply whenever you feel stressed, sad, upset, or overwhelmed. It involves creating a peaceful place in your mind and exploring it, until your thoughts are calm. It can be a favorite place, mine is always the beach. You don’t need to create this space, just assume it’s at the forefront of your mind. If you’re at home, you can always add meditational music and lay down.
ALWAYS FOCUS ON THE BREATH: The easiest way to calm down the central nervous system and to slowly center your thoughts is keeping the focus on your breath and emptying your mind. You can just practice this technique if you start to feel any feelings that would cause you to not be calm.
BECOME AWARE OF YOUR BODY: No matter what your doing become more aware of your body’s movement and how you feel in the present moment. Observe the movement of each body part like your fingers moving will allow you to practice being mindful. When your stressed, upset, sad, or feel the need to react write down your feelings to explore how you feel, and why you feel the way you do. It will allow you to center your thoughts and calm your nervous system.
PRACTICE MINDFUL EATING: What you eat affects your overall mood, and stress. Mindful eating will help you be the best you can be and that comes to making choices that affect your overall well being.
COMMIT TO A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE: Living a healthy lifestyle will contribute more beneficial to meditation. This means eating clean and more balanced, sleeping enough, and exercising.
UNDERSTAND THAT MEDITATION IS YOUR JOURNEY: The purpose of meditation is to calm the mind, achieve inner peace, and a sense of happiness and enlightenment, so it may take years to reach enlightenment as long as you see improvements and feel more calm and happy that’s all that matters.
EXERCISE: I find that meditating comes super easy after working out, so try to incorporate more exercise to your routine and add meditation for a few minutes after.
MAKE AN EFFORT TO WORK AT IT: Like anything in life in order for you to get good at something you have to constantly work at it, so don’t give up and know that the light at the end of the tunnel is far more rewarding than going backwards.
BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN CHANGE: All this great advice is awesome that I’m giving, however if you don’t believe your worthy of changing or think it’s possible, well guess what it’s never going to happen, so let go of those past defeating thoughts, because now is a new moment to take the chance to change!
DISCLAIMER: The nutritional and well-being information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional nutritional or medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.