Health & Wellness - Meditate your way to better health

Courtney Rupertus
Health & Wellness - Meditate your way to better health
As January 1 comes and goes, typically we’ve made some sort of resolution or promise to ourselves to eat better, start exercising, drink less, or quit smoking. This year, I wanted to set an intention rather than a resolution to integrate more meditation into my life.
Just like everyone else on the planet, I struggle with making that sort of time for myself.

However, if you are thinking, “who has time to sit around and do nothing”, consider this: we have 1440 minutes in a day and how many of them do we spend mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, checking emails, or watching television?
Just 5 to 10 minutes a day of mindful meditation can vastly improve your mental health and overall wellness. Some of the physical benefits of a regular meditation practice include:
Improves immunity
Elevates your energy level
Improves breathing and heart rate
Reduces blood pressure
Helps manage depression, anxiety, and ADHD
Additionally, these are just some of the mental and emotional benefits of meditating on a regular basis:
Less worry or anxiety
Less stress
Enhances your relationships and decreases feelings of loneliness
Enhances your self-awareness and self-acceptance, which increasing self-esteem
Increases optimism and positive self-talk
Helps manage emotional eating or other addictions
Increases relaxation and contentedness
Improves cognitive skills, increases focus, and increases memory retention
With all of these benefits and so much more, why are we not all meditating?
It does take a conscious effort to carve out time in your day to simply sit and be. Sitting still and just allowing ourselves to be, while thoughts float in and out of our minds like clouds, seems like a rather insurmountable task for pretty much all of us.
With that said, based on my own personal experiences, once you get into the groove, you really hit pay dirt and it starts to feel SO good. The feeling you get from meditating is similar to “runner’s high” in the sense that you can’t even fathom it until it really does happen to you.
Some steps to starting up a meditation practice that you can stick with are as follows:

Get comfy, not complicated. You don’t need a full-on meditation room, just a cozy chair or a cushion on the floor.
Start a ritual. Whether it’s lighting a candle or warming up your tea, find a little ritual to do each time as your prepare that signals to your mind that you mean business.
Sit tall. No, you don’t need to be able to hang out in full lotus. Simply sit tall in a cross-legged position, easy peasy.
Be gentle with yourself. There is no such thing as a perfect meditation; it is simply the act of noticing. Notice your thoughts as they pass through your mind as you sit still (your only real requirement is to try not to fidget), and let them go without paying them much attention. Start with a timer set for 5 minutes and slowly increase the time as you become more comfortable (and you will).
Observe. Observe your thoughts as you practice. Observe the excuses you try to find to NOT meditate. Observe how you feel after each meditation. Don’t analyze or berate yourself, just notice.

Soon you will find your sweet spot and wonder why you ever stayed away from meditation for so long!