Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years in cultures around the world. It’s used to help calm the mind and suppress wandering thoughts. The techniques used during meditation have a number of physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits that are backed by scientists, philosophers, religious leaders, and spiritual gurus alike. Most meditation forms primarily emphasize breathing, stillness, and mindfulness to achieve a higher state of relaxation and focus. Meditation is often used in place of or in conjunction with other forms of healing to reduce stress and improve overall health.
Here at Integrative Nutrition we discuss primary food – the idea that things feed your life outside the food you’re eating. This includes your relationships, career, exercise, self-care, and spirituality. While meditation mainly touches on the spiritual aspect of life, it can be beneficial to all areas of primary food and help with creating a happier and healthier life.
Meditation is not just for yogis and spiritual seekers; it’s for everyone! In fact, meditation is used by some of the most successful CEOs, executives, and celebrities, from Arianna Huffington to Oprah Winfrey to Jerry Seinfeld. Meditation continues to grow in popularity for good reason; the lasting effects positively impact one’s health with nearly no downsides!
Some of the many benefits of meditation include:
Emotional health improvementReduced stress, worry, and anxietyIncreased patience, relaxation, and mental focusImproved energy levels and productivity
While you may already be aware of these perks, getting started on developing a meditation practice can be tough. It can feel difficult to slow down, focus your mind, and come to a state of peace while living in a world that is constantly go-go-go. But with so many benefits and endless resources and tools out there, there’s no reason to not give it a try!
Read on to discover simple ways to get started on developing a meditation practice
Find a comfortable seat.
Part of meditation requires finding stillness, starting with the body. But this can be challenging if you’re in an awkward position focusing on something that’s irritating you. When you begin your meditation practice, find a place that you can feel good in – a chair, a couch, or anywhere you find peaceful.
There’s no need to jump into a 30-minute meditation right off the bat. Start slowly by closing your eyes for just four or five minutes and gradually build up your practice. It takes commitment and dedication to develop a strong practice, and there’s no reason to rush the process.
Find an app.
Living in a digital age, there’s an app for everything! Use a meditation app, like Headspace or Calm to help you get started. These apps offer a beginner’s technique that walks you through forming a meditation practice with an expert guide. Eventually, you may no longer need a guide to get to that peaceful space, but it is a great way to learn what works best for you.
Invite a partner.
While meditation is typically an individual practice, some things are more fun with friends and it can feel easier to start out with someone by your side. If you’re not sure if you want to dive into a meditation practice, grab a friend, spouse, or sibling who’s also dabbled with the idea of meditation to join you on your spiritual journey.
Take a workshop or go to a class.
If you have a difficult time getting in a meditation, look up classes or workshops in your area that can help. There is a wide array of yoga studios or holistic centers that provide informative and useful classes to help you establish a practice or provide you with a space to become grounded.
Do it first thing.
Instead of pushing off meditating or saying you’ll do it later, try to begin each day with a practice. That may mean waking up a few minutes earlier, but it will be well worth it! This is a simple way to fit meditation into your schedule, no matter what you have on your to-do list for the rest of the day.