Written by: Megan Percy. Megan is a movement coach who is passionate about helping clients and people in her community live a pain-free, strong, mobile life. She is a life-long learner of the human body and loves to inspire others to optimize their well-being. Megan specializes in teaching three dimensional exercise, soft-tissue work and yoga. Find Megan on Instagram: @meganpercyy.
How often do you give yourself a moment to sit and do nothing? And when I say nothing, I do not mean sitting and watching tv, chillin' with your friends or driving.
I mean sitting. Not working on anything. In silence. In stillness.
Is it once a day? Once a month? Possibly every six months? I invite you to really think about it. If it is not something you do often, implementing a mindfulness meditation routine may give you that chance to just. do. nothing.
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years in cultures around the world. Although it has ties to many different religious teachings, meditation is less about faith and more about finding peace, expanding consciousness, and increasing awareness. There are many types of meditation practice: spiritual meditation, mantra meditation, progressive relaxation, visualization practice, and so many more.
Although all of these practices have their own benefits, mindfulness meditation is increasing in popularity due to its ability to be easily practiced. Mindfulness meditation gives us the chance to focus on the present. By increasing our awareness on body and breath, we start to better listen to our thoughts and emotions..
Long-term mindfulness practice has been proven to reduce cognitive rigidity and improve the capacity to think outside of the box. Studies also show that long-term meditation can decrease mind-wandering, which is associated with unhappiness, and improve cognitive control.
How to start your meditation practice
Starting a mindfulness meditation practice can be difficult, but with the right tools and reminders, stepping into a daily routine can be life changing. Try these tips and tricks to get started:
Use a meditation app
Meditation can be intimidating when we do not have a guide to help us. Luckily, there are apps with guided meditations led by experts. A few of my favorite meditation apps are calm, headspace, and aura. YouTube is also another wonderful (and free!) option.
Start with five minutes
You do not have to meditate for a long time. Carve out five minutes of downtime, set a timer on your phone (even if it is just for two minutes) and sit in stillness with your breath until the timer goes off.
Set a daily reminder
Set a daily reminder for your meditation practice. Put it in your calendar, set an alarm, or post a sticky note in a place that you look at often. It can be easy to get caught up in the business of life — this can be a gentle nudge to stop and breathe.
Find a dedicated space
Create a space in your home to meditate that is inviting, yet relaxing.
Make meditation part of your routine
Consistency is key! Implement it into your routine to receive the full benefits of a mindfulness practice.