Yep, it's another blog post on the web about meditation! I honestly steered away from the hype of meditation for a long time myself, so I get it if you are thinking that thought. But I'm here to tell you that all of that stuff you may have seen or read about meditation is very real!! One of the main symptoms of my autoimmune disease is anxiety - something I didn't really experience consistently until late last year. My brain had gotten to the point where it just going and going and going and going and just wouldn't shut up or shut down! I was constantly worried about the small stuff. My Cortisol levels were really high. I started grinding my teeth at night, which contributed to TMJ and migraines, which meant I had to purchase a ridiculously expensive custom night guard and sleep in it every night - ugh. I also noticed that I was unintentionally holding my breath while I was working, blogging, or doing something that required a strong focus. Not good... My naturopath
I downloaded several apps to help me get started, including Calm, Headspace, and The Mindfulness App - all of which were very good. But I ultimately purchased the full subscription to the Calm app. I liked the soothing tones of the moderators. The tones on that app kept me more focused than the tones on the other apps. I also liked all of the different types of meditations that were offered. Headspace was my second option...
The first few weeks of meditating were ROUGH! It was so hard to shut down and be in the moment. It was so easy to stray away from breathing and think of all the 1,000 other things I should be doing. But I kept at it - twice a day. After about a month, I realized that going a day without meditation was no longer an option. I was totally hooked! Here are five reasons why...
2. I sleep MUCH better. Sleep on average over the last six months or so has been so all over the place - which has made me all over the place. But I have to say that meditation has made a huge difference - especially since I started meditating before bed. I typically do the 10 minute "Deep Sleep" meditation. At first, I would be awake the whole 10 minutes. But lately, I've been falling asleep before it ends. And the best part is... I've been STAYING asleep through the night. That's so huge for me... Oh and I can at least take naps without my night guard now, which leads me to believe that I'm probably relaxing my jaws and not grinding my teeth as much at night.
3. I can think, analytically, in a much more clear and concise manner. Brain fog has been one of the most frustrating symptoms of I've experienced. I've always heard that simply breathing and relaxation for just 10 minutes a day has a way of strengthening your brain and making more room for it to work properly. I can totally attest to that. Yes, I am sleeping better and have added more good fats to my diet, both of which also aid in brain health, but I know that breathing, shutting down the brain, and supplying some much-needed oxygen to it helps a lot, too!
4. I am much more aware of the process of breathing. I've been breathing naturally and automatially for over 30 years, which makes it something that is very easy to take for granted. Meditation heavily focuses on breathing, so you sort of re-learn what it really feels like to breathe - and how GOOD it feels when you really tune into it. So the minute I start to feel a little tense or frustrated, I tune into the breath and I breathe. I even do it during really happy moments and it makes me feel even happier.
5. Best of all, I'm much less anxious. I'm so excited about that! I still get little bouts of anxiety right after I wake up in the mornings sometimes, but I feel much more calm once I'm done with my session. I can watch the crazy morning news now without getting in a tizzy. If I do get anxious for a longer period of time, I can actually identify the reason why I feel that way and utilize the things I've learned from meditating to calm myself down. That is such a big deal for me.
Obviously there are tons of health benefits related to meditation including reduced inflammation, increased immunity, etc. Here are 76 benefits alone that are the result of meditating...
My point is that if you are one of those people who have heard all about meditating, think it's strange but have actually thought about doing it - and just haven't done it yet, then please try it! Is it going to cure all that ails you?? No. But it will make you feel so much better and put you in the right direction towards healing if you are not feeling your best. If you are feeling your best, then it will make you feel even better. BUT it only works if you stick with it. I don't think I recognized the benefits until about a month after I started. So stick with it if you try it! :)
Images by me (shot on April 16th obviously, but I've meditated each and every day since then!)