I’d always heard a lot about the benefits of meditation, but I used to think meditation was for those weird types. Well, now I AM that weird type! I tried for quite some time to develop a consistent practice of meditation and failed at it. Sometimes trying to meditate just made me feel more stressed. Other times, I’d stick with it for three or four days and then just get “too busy” to make it a daily habit. That was, until one day, all heck blew up in my life, and I needed to find a way to make it a priority. And so began my journey to meditate once a day for at least five minutes a day! Here’s what I’ve learned:
Your Mind is a Muscle
Your mind is a muscle just like any other muscle in your body. In fact, I’d argue, besides your heart, it’s THE most important muscle you have. The fact that it’s a muscle means your mind can be exercised and trained to think better and recognize when certain thoughts aren’t serving you. But it also needs time to relax and recover to stay strong. Meditation trains your mind while also giving it the recovery it needs. Best of all, five minutes is enough time to receive the benefits of meditation, at least for me. Once you’ve trained your mind, it doesn’t suddenly make life easier, but you are more equipped to handle whatever comes your way. And just like any muscle, you need to keep training your mind so that it will become even stronger.
Five Minutes of Meditation a Day Is Enough
I started with a five-minute morning meditation and later worked in a bedtime one, too. Combined, the two meditation sessions bring me to 10 minutes a day, give or take. On a good day, I get in 15 minutes of meditation, but that’s rare.
When I decided to add daily meditation into my life, it meant I needed to make time in the morning. No, I didn’t wake up earlier. I made my workouts shorter. I spent a little less time in the gym, but it was totally worth it! Ultimately, this decision made me healthier from the inside out. While five minutes of meditation is enough to make an impact, I’d recommend that it must be a daily habit so that you can enjoy the full benefits of meditation.
Meditation Helps More Than Your Mind
Science has proven that mindfulness and meditation can help lower stress, anxiety, and depression. It can even help fight health issues, like high blood pressure and hypertension. In a study published in the Journal of Hypertension, patients with high to normal blood pressure or grade 1 hypertension were placed into two groups; a control group that attended healthy education talks and an intervention group that received mindfulness training. After eight weeks, the group that received mindfulness/meditation training SIGNIFICANTLY decreased their blood pressure levels, plus they were less judgmental, more accepting, and less depressed. As a patient with polycystic kidney disease (PKD), I wish I’d started my mindfulness practice earlier. But hey, better late than never!
It Helps to Have Accountability and Training
It can be difficult to stick to a new habit, even if it’s a good habit. To keep me on track with my mindfulness goals, I use Simple Habit. This great app offers step-by-step meditation to teach you from start to finish. A few of my favorite teachers include Cory Muscara and Julie Murphy. They provide meditation that can help you regenerate during study breaks, boost positive thinking, and follow your passions. The app makes it super easy for me to wake up and press play. I’ve never paid for an app until this one, and it was worth every cent! If an app won’t do, many yoga studios offer this practice, and I’m sure there are online coaches somewhere. You can also focus on mindfulness training, though not necessarily meditation, by taking a yoga class at your local EōS Fitness.
You Can Meditate Anywhere
You don’t have to sit on the floor in a cross-legged position to meditate. You can do it while walking or sitting in a chair. You can enjoy the benefits of meditation at the office, on a plane, or even in your car (although please keep your eyes open!). Meditation is the simple act of silencing your mind and learning to focus. More importantly, it’s about focusing on the right things. When I meditate, I do sit on the floor in a crossed leg position because that’s how I like to start my day and how I feel most alert. However, I do my bedtime meditation lying in bed. Figure out what feels most comfortable to you and what works best with your routine.
The Benefits of Meditation I’ve Experienced
Simply put, I believe everyone can benefit from meditation. Meditating for five to 15 minutes a day has helped me to:
- Keep my blood pressure at a normal level
- Develop more patience
- Sleep better
- Improve my focus
- Lower my anxiety when I start to feel stressed
- Live in the moment, especially when I’m with my kids
- Be a better listener
- Feel more positive
- Feel happier and more relaxed
- Feel healthier from the inside out
- Be better equipped to handle stress when it comes my way.
I hope my experience has shown you some of the amazing benefits of meditation you can enjoy also. Meditation is absolutely free to try, and I know it will bring much joy, relaxation, and peace into your life. I encourage you to create a goal of meditating for just five minutes each day for the next 30 days. It may be difficult at first, but stick with it, and you’ll see that it becomes easier and more relaxing over time. By the end of the 30 days, I bet you’ll be hooked on mindfulness!
While you work on improving your mind’s muscle, don’t forget to stay focused on your overall health, too! At EōS Fitness, we offer great equipment and great classes. If you want to enjoy some mindfulness-related fitness, we recommend our yoga classes, swimming laps in our pool, and spending time in our relaxing sauna. Try out all the great features of your nearest EōS Fitness with a FREE seven-day pass!
Christina Kawai is a Piyo Certified Live Instructor and Precision Nutrition Coach. She focuses on living a fulfilled and balanced life that includes time for fitness as well as for family, which includes her husband, two daughters, and dog. Christina does not let her polycystic kidney disease (PKD) hold her back from achieving her goals. According to Christina, “Balance is possible. We just have to be willing to create it for ourselves.”