What is meditation?

young beautiful businesswoman meditates on her workplaceWhat is meditation? Meditation can be many different things and practiced in many different ways. For some it can be moving meditation and others simply being still and following your breath. There is no ‘right’ way to meditate. A meditation practice is unique to each individual. It is not about clearing your mind or becoming more focused, although those may be benefits you experience from meditating. Meditating is the practice of being present. This means that during meditation we are aiming to cultivate the ability to be in the now moment. Meditation is a PRACTICE that requires patience and loving compassion toward oneself.
With regular practice meditation can improve our mental and physical well being. Some of the
benefits of meditation are an increased sense of well-being and positive feelings, improved
health of the cardiovascular and immune systems, decreased stress and reactivity to stress,
improved cognitive ability and concentration, and increased self awareness. Sounds like a lot of
good stuff right? You might be asking: “Where do I begin? Is this just one more thing to add into my already busy day?” Yes, meditation does require a time commitment but it doesn’t have to be a lot of time. Even just being still for one minute a day will help to cultivate all of the qualities listed above! One minute!
It is important to find a technique that resonates with you and that you enjoy. Not to say that you will always enjoy meditation. Just like learning any skill there will be days when you don’t want to practice or don’t have good feelings during or after practicing. Meditation requires us to become more aware of ourselves and that can sometimes be challenging. If you face personal
challenges when beginning your practice do your best to stay committed to learning this new
skill.
Here is a simple way to begin a meditation practice: Schedule one minute any time of day but
keep the time consistent and set a timer for one minute. Dedicate a space in your home to this
time, a certain chair, on the couch, or even lying down. Allow your eyes to close and begin to
notice your breath without trying to change it or judge it. Just allow your breath to be and notice it, become an observer of your breath. When you feel your mind wander, and you will, gently and lovingly encourage your self to come back to your breath. That’s it! Nice and simple for one minute a day. Do your best to be consistent but don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t happen. Remember every day is brand new and we get to begin again so if it didn’t happen yesterday do it today.
With a small amount of time per day and a regular practice we can improve how we feel
physically and emotionally. You will notice your day to day interactions becoming more peaceful; including your interactions with yourself. With the holidays approaching and the stress that comes with them more imminent, this is the perfect time to begin! Remember there is no right way to meditate and any amount of time you can devote to this practice will be beneficial to your physical and emotional well-being!

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