I've recently begu n meditating as a way to relax the mind , but I've experienced a whole slew of benefits that I never expected .
As a pleasant surprise, m editation has been shown to help you focus, mitigate a nxiety and depression , help you think more creatively, feel more compassionate, improve memory, and reduce stress.
This all sounds great (and it is!), b ut where do you begin so you can experience these positive effects for yourself ?
For my own practice, I've started by building the habit of meditating daily ( for at least 10 minute s ) and have shared some tips for how you can get started as well . L et me say: Meditation . Is. Awesome.
When I first heard of m editation it seemed a bit obscure and other- worldly. The practice conjured up images of sitting in a dark room bathed in candlelight with wisps of incense swirling about. But, it turns out meditation is really accessible -- no incense required.
At a basic level, meditation is a way to train the mind and cultivate mindfulness, but t here are a broad variety of ways to practice .
I've chosen to begin with mindfulness meditation. In this practice, the goal is to become fully aware of the present moment , and I've started with Sam Harris' 9 minute guided meditation .
During this meditation, you concentrate on your breath, observing each inhalation and exhalation. The idea is to become aware of the thoughts, feelings and sensory stimuli around you. In Sam's words, "m indfulness is simply a state of open, nonjudgmental, and nondiscursive attention to the contents of consciousness, whether pleasant or unpleasant." Or, more simply, to be cognizant of what you think and feel, and to recognize this without judg ment or active thought -- j ust experience it.
I like this practice because focusing on my breath gives me something tangible to concentrate on, which helps to keep me attuned and centered.
I find that meditating clears my mind and lets me think unobtrusively about how I want to approach the day . I practice shortly after I wake up, before my mind gets cluttered with the days' activities. It puts m e into a more positive m indset and all o ws me to key in o n the priorities that I need to get done.
Interestingly, d ifferent types of meditation have varying benefits . In a study p ublished in the journal Mindfulness, researchers analyzed three types of meditation practices and their effects:
Here are some resources that I've found to be particularly helpful in starting out:
There's only one way to find out! We challenge you to meditate for 2 minutes a day for 7 days straight. We know you'll find it enlightening ;)
And once you've done so, we'd love to hear about your experience!
As you know, h ere at CogniTea, we want to hear about what inspires you, what moves you, or what you're working towards. If you're an avid meditator or just getting started , share your advice, questions or insights in the comments below or on Facebook!