Self-care is now more important than ever. Here are some ways to incorporate meditation and mindfulness into your routine to enhance your wellbeing.
Benefits of Mindfulness & Meditation
With the many pressures and anxieties we face in our daily lives, taking a quick time-out on a regular basis to tune into our own emotions and physical state can be a game changer. Mindfulness and meditation involve focusing your attention on the present moment, becoming less reactive or overwhelmed by what’s happening around you, and being more attuned to your mind and body. This enhanced self-awareness can boost your resilience, lower anxiety, improve your sleep, and help you refocus on activities that bring you joy.
It’s surprisingly easy to start a mindfulness meditation routine, and it can take as little as five to 10 minutes per day. If you don’t know much about it, you’ll find plenty of meditation for beginners information online at sites such as Headspace and Mindful, or with a quick google search. There are also lots of books that can help you get started. Here are some key steps to establish and/or maintain your practice.
1. Establish a Time & Place
Decide how often you’d like to meditate and block out the time on your calendar. Set a reminder alarm on your phone or smart watch, or put a sticky note reminder on your bathroom mirror or refrigerator where you can’t miss it. Choose a comfortable spot where you can grab a few relatively quiet, uninterrupted minutes. Maybe this is in your living room first thing in the morning or late in the evening when the rest of your household is in bed. Perhaps on your balcony at midday. Maybe in a secluded corner of the Alta Dairies sky lounge, or on the lawn at Cabbagetown Park.
2. Don’t Procrastinate
OK - you’ve done some research and decided on a time and place, now dig in. Don’t wait until next week or the first of next month. To quote a famous shoe manufacturer, just do it! Keep it short to begin – aim for just five to 10 minutes, and then extend your sessions as you progress. Following along with a guided mindfulness meditation video makes it easy if this is all new to you. Once you’ve gotten the hang of things, you can do your own thing and just find some relaxing music to help block out background noise and find your focus.
3. Be Kind to Yourself
Despite your best intentions, there will be days when life gets in the way and you don’t manage to fit in your planned meditation session. And guess what? That’s OK. Don’t beat yourself up, or write off the whole practice because you miss a few sessions. Pick it up again at your next scheduled session, or take another look at your calendar and see if a different time or location works better for you in the days and weeks ahead. You can still see the benefits of meditation and mindfulness, even if your practice is somewhat intermittent.
4. Try Written Meditation
If traditional meditation sounds too new age-y or woo-woo for you, or you’ve been meditating for a while and would like to vary your practice, try writing meditation. This is an alternative technique where you either copy a set of affirmations by hand or type them over and over for 5 to 10 minutes, in order to help your brain rewire itself for the positive change or new habits you want to achieve. It can also be a more free-form way to explore your stream of consciousness and then reflect on what you’ve written.
Give mindfulness and meditation a try. See what happens. You might just be surprised at the positive results. For additional lifestyle tips, visit the Alta Dairies blog today.