In an effort to include some variety on the blog I wanted to cover topics other than gardening. What better than to cover meditation. What does mediation have to do with gardening or taking care of bonsai? These two art forms have quite a bit of intersection, and they’re both precursors to living a happy, fulfilled life. It’s even better if you pair the two.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is the art of slowing down, of being mindful. We hear that word thrown around a lot these days, “being mindful” but what does that actually entail? Well, it’s the art of being aware of yourself, your emotions, your reactions. It’s the practice of slowing down and seeing yourself, your life, and your situation as it is. It’s “being present”. The skill of mindfulness allows us not to get swept up in our lives and our emotions. The nice thing is that human beings already naturally possess mindfulness, we just need to cultivate it! (Learn more in-depth about mindfulness here).
Introducing, meditation. Meditation is an ancient practice that humans have been partaking in for thousands of years, and it’s just recently in our super-busy-technology-highway lives that modern society has really seen an upswing in interest and modern practitioners. Meditation is cost-free, you can do it anywhere, and it’s full of benefits which we’ll cover next.
- It’s a Stress Reliever
The “down time” you get when meditating allows you to rest physically and mentally. This reacts directly with your nervous system by reducing production of your body’s stress hormones, like cortisol. The art of stopping can help elevate production of serotonin and help with high-blood pressure and cholesterol. In turn, all of these benefits strengthens your immune system!
- It’s Anti-Aging
All of the above are factors that accelerate aging, but what if an anti-aging secret was slowing down, paying attention to your breathing and being mindful? It definitely helps keep you mentally young but also physically. Stress makes us old, and meditating is destressing – so, though it might not work as well as Botox (haha) it does have a profound effect on your body. Meditation also helps you sleep better and sleep is the secret to happiness and youthfulness!
- Emotional Stability & Positive Thinking
Meditation allows you to really check-in with yourself and how you’re feeling. One of the most powerful tools of emotional stability is being aware of your emotions. Meditation is a natural tool prescribed for people with anxiety, depression, and anger issues. However, you don’t need any of those to benefit from meditating, as practicing mediation helps with overall happiness and positive thinking.
- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
- It’s Anti-Aging
Meditation really allows you to sit back and take inventory of your life. If you find yourself carrying a lot through your day, like that one driver cutting you off, or maybe the barista made your coffee wrong, meditation puts these incidents into perspective and can help you see where your sending your energy.
The beautiful thing about meditation is that, just like with gardening, you’re always learning. You can meditate from 5 minutes to 2 hours or more. There are a ton of apps and videos out there, to help you get started, and some or most of them are even free!
Meditation begins and ends in the body, by sitting and closing your eyes, focusing on your breath, and allowing yourself to just “be”. This is a wonderful way to reset yourself in the middle of a stressful day or to gain some extra energy in between errands. It’s my secret weapon when I am tired, burnt out, stressed, anxious, depressed… the list goes on. I started meditating by using the app, Stop, Breathe, & Think. It’s a simple way to build your meditation muscle. I don’t use it anymore but frequent YouTube for meditation videos. I recommend the following:
- Deepak Chopra’s The Chopra Well
- The Honest Guys
- Great Meditation
If you’re not a fan of videos, you can also practice on your own by following these steps.
- Sit or lay down in a comfortable position
- Close your eyes or lower your eyelids and have soft focus in front of you
- Inhale and exhale, focus on your breath. You can choose to count your inhales to four and exhales to eight, or just breathe naturally.
- Let the sounds or distractions around you settle. Give them your attention but guide yourself back to your breath.
- Thoughts will inevitably rise but don’t judge them, let them come and go and bring it back to your breath.
- Sit and repeat for as long as you’d like. Continue your day afterwards.
That’s it! It’s easier written than done and is known as “simple” thing to do but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Do you meditate? Are there any topics you’d like me to cover in the newsletters? Email me!