Wellness Warriors, you know that stress and strain on our mental health have become far too commonplace and acceptable in our everyday lives. And we rarely take the time to stop to quietly reflect and reset. Sometimes even when we do try, it's difficult to get the space that we need. I know that I have a very busy mind, and I used to have a hard time stopping it from racing until I learned more about the art of meditation—something I encourage you to try to gain a calmer life.
How I Started Out
I knew that I just had to stop my busy brain so that I could have more energy, be more creative, and so that I could be more productive in life. So, about ten years ago, I had the opportunity to spend a few days one on one with Deepak Chopra. And I talked to him about meditation. And he said, you know, even if you meditate for 5 minutes a day, it will have a dramatic impact on your life.
I laughed and explained to him that I couldn't meditate for even one minute. I close my eyes, and my brain just starts thinking that I need to buy this at the grocery store and fix various things around the house, or I have to do this thing for the kids. It becomes a laundry list of to-do items running through my mind.
And so, he taught me a very, very simple technique that I've used over and over again.
Beginner's Meditation Technique
Meditation is about entering a deep state of relaxation and having a tranquil mind. Deepak Chopra helped me learn the basics of meditation and find a technique that works for me. He said, just close your eyes and try to feel your heartbeat. He noted that it might take a few seconds, but to just get in touch with your heartbeat until you're getting along that same wavelength as your heartbeat.
And then, once you get in sync with your heartbeat, put your thumb and forefinger together and then wait until you feel the pulsing of your finger and your thumb and feel your heartbeat through both. It is as simple as it sounds; I mean, everyone, after a while, can find their heartbeat. Everyone can feel their fingers and their thumbs, and their pulse in their fingers and their thumbs. It takes a little work to feel the pulse in your feet.
The Benefits of Meditation
The advantages of meditation are numerous, and they include helping both emotional well-being as well as your overall health. The benefits also carry throughout the day, not just during the meditation session, and can help manage symptoms of some medical conditions.
Through meditation, you focus your attention and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. It can give you a sense of calm, peace, and balance.
Research also shows that meditation can help people manage the symptoms of anxiety, asthma, cancer, chronic pain, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, sleep problems, and tension headaches. But meditation isn't meant to be a replacement for traditional medical treatment.
Types of Meditation
There are many types of meditation and relaxation techniques; there's also no one right way of meditating. It's about finding what works best for you.
Some of the types include guided meditation, mantra meditation, mindfulness meditation, qi gong (CHEE-gung), tai chi (TIE-CHEE), transcendental meditation, and yoga.
These different types of meditation may include various features that you find helpful to relax more easily. Everyone's different, and so their meditation practice is also individualized. There are classes, but really, you can make meditation as formal or informal as you want and find what's best for your lifestyle. And some people build meditation into their daily routine while others only need a few minutes here or there of quality time for reflection. There's no one way to calm your brain and change your mindset.
Meditation and Me Now
Once I started using the heartbeat technique, I found that not only could I do a minute and five minutes, but now I do transcendental meditation every day for 22 minutes a day, sometimes twice a day. And that's made a dramatic impact on my life. I sleep better. My blood pressure is better. I have more energy. I have more creativity.
Sometimes when I’m speaking at an event, just before I go on stage, I'll have everybody leave me alone, and I'll spend 10 minutes in meditation. I'm so much more powerful, enthusiastic, and energized after I do that.
So, Wellness Warriors, give your brain a break. Just let it clean out a little bit. Meditate. That's how I think of my brain. You only have so much capacity—like trying to park six cars in a three-car garage. When you clean out the garage, it's empty for new thoughts, ideas, and creations it couldn't had before you meditated. So, do yourself a favor and meditate. You'll be glad you did.
Until next week, Live Well, Live Long!