Hi! Welcome back to #FitFriday. Our lives are often so busy and full of distractions that confusion can set in. In fact, having competing priorities and "to-do" lists can become mentally overwhelming. Meditation is a process which aims to calm the mind--to see life in a clear and organized manner. Meditation's benefits include relaxation and a general sense of well-being when practiced regularly. Moreover, neuroscientists have shown that the adult brain can be transformed via the practice of meditation. These new skills and changes are manifested through a process called neuroplasticity. Research has shown that meditation reorganizes the connections in our brains and empowers us to shift our beliefs and habits to achieve better experiences and positive health effects, not only in the mind and brain, but in the entire body.
In principle, meditation can be done anywhere. There is no equipment or special clothing necessary. During meditation, you assume a comfortable posture in a quiet atmosphere. Here are 3 common tips and techniques to follow:
1) A pranayama practice. Pranayama involves controlling your breath in a conscious manner. First, become mindful of your breath. Begin by taking 3 slow deep inhales through the nose and 3 long extended exhales through the mouth. This provides the mind an opportunity to practice focused attention. During focused attention, it is natural for the mind to wander. Simply and gently guide the mind back to noticing the inhales and exhales. Become aware of the sensations throughout the body...simply notice what you notice. These steps will calm the mind and allow you to be fully present. Becoming fully aware of the present moment relieves stressful anxiety of things to come, which helps to reduce worry and fear.
2) Cultivating mindfulness. Mindfulness is a term that is commonly heard, but many people wonder...what is it? Mindfulness means paying attention in a very deliberate way, thinking of the present moment without judgment. This type of thinking allows greater awareness, clarity of thought and acceptance of the current reality. It awakens us to the beauty and wonder of the world around us. As we become fully present in the every day moments of life, we no longer lose experiences that unfold in just moments. This awareness allows for growth and transformation. When our nervous systems unconsciously react to our surroundings and experiences, we aren't fully aware of what is happening to us. That can lead to acting automatically in ways that no longer serve us in the present moment. Becoming aware of the here and now empowers us to take intentional action--to live fully and on purpose.
3) The third attitude of meditation is to focus upon kindness and compassion towards self and others. This practice involves understanding our feelings, needs and wants and the needs of other people. Doing so can help us to develop empathy, both towards ourselves and others. It helps us to cultivate an attitude of compassion in action. People who practice this type of meditation have a greater ability to empathize with the needs of others without becoming overwhelmed. The act of centering, grounding and reducing stress inherently benefits ourselves, and those we interact with. By practicing kindness and compassion, our inner and outer world is transformed. By treating others the way we would like to be treated, we can leave the world a better place than we found it.
Check back next Friday for more tips and tricks for experiencing a better life. See you soon! Warmly, Susan