Reduce Your Stress
How to Easily Integrate Meditation into Your Daily Life (Plus 3 Ridiculous Myths about Meditation)
Written By: Peggy Gaines, RN
I can’t help but smile when I hear some of the things that people still believe about meditation. Thanks to flashy stage shows that are created at theme parks and parties for entertainment, our modern society still has some incorrect beliefs about this age-old practice.
As a medical professional (I am a Registered Nurse), I can confidently say that meditation is none of the following things:
- Meditation is not mind control…
- Meditation is not a religion…
- Meditation is not “turning off your brain.”
In fact, meditation has a wonderful track record of lowering stress levels, boosting the immune system, decreasing anxiety and depression, and much more (I love this article from PsychologyToday.com that expands on the benefits of meditation).
When you’re new to the practice of quieting your mind, it can feel daunting. Here are some ways to gently ease yourself into a more peaceful state, even when you’re feeling too busy or stressed to set aside time for meditation.
Easy Meditation Method #1: Connect with Nature
Connecting with nature can be as simple as looking out your office window at the trees outside that are gently swaying in the afternoon breeze. Or maybe if you can’t see any trees (or you don’t have a window), sit outside to eat your lunch. Simple!
Even spending one minute gazing at greenery or listening to birds chirp as you dig into your turkey avocado will help you feel more relaxed, centered and focused. You’ll find that when you come back from your little “mind break” you will more easily be able to dive into your work.
Easy Meditation Method #2: Focus on Your Breath
Reconnecting with your body and breath is a pillar of meditation; it brings you into the present. If you work a particularly stressful job or you find yourself beating your fists against the steering wheel in panic-inducing traffic, bring your thoughts back to your breath.
Slowing your breath for even just a few moments will help you become more grounded and centered. It will also lower your blood pressure and tell your body that it doesn’t need a shot of Cortisol (the stress hormone), after all.
Easy Meditation Method #3: Every Effort Counts
People often believe that in order to properly meditate they have to sit still for hours and clear their mind. Not true! Just like anything – exercise is a great example – meditation is a muscle that must be strengthened. If you decided to run a marathon for the first time in your life, you wouldn’t just wake up tomorrow and start running 26.1 miles. You would run maybe a quarter mile tomorrow, then a half mile the next day and so on.
You can ease into meditation in much the same way: slowly and with care. Every time you dedicate 60 seconds to focused breathing during your workday you’re making progress toward a more centered, peaceful life experience.
A Real Life Meditation Story
Not too long ago, a busy executive came to my meditation class. She told me, “I can meditate before I go to work and I feel calm, but as soon as I set foot in the office, I’m totally stressed out.”
She explained that she was surrounded by people all the time and couldn’t close her eyes during the workday because they would think she had fallen asleep.
“That’s fine,” I told her, “let’s try something else. Drink a glass of water every hour to remind yourself to go to the bathroom. As you walk to the restroom, focus on your breath.” That solution worked as a great way for her to meditate through the day.
There are many creative and fun ways to integrate small doses of meditation into your life that will greatly affect your wellbeing and health. If you’re ready to learn more about meditation, click HERE to get more information.