I bet you’re thinking you just don’t have time to pack one more thing into your already maxed-out schedule, right? The truth is you can tap into a powerful way to expand time and become more focused, productive, healthier and happier by adding mindful meditation.
If your sense of meditation conjures up images of struggle-filled journeys to the top of a Himalayan Mountain to find inner bliss and peace, you‘re mistaken. There’s an easier path. It’s far more immediate and accessible than that! You can do it. You need to do it.
Meditation is a time to chill, to take a respite from the stress and pressures of daily life. By taking regular time-outs every day, you’ll benefit in a multitude of ways; physically, mentally and emotionally.
Regular meditation allows you to see reality as it is
Your mind is managing 50,000 thoughts throughout the day. In fact, you’ve probably had 30 or 40 flicker through your awareness since you began reading this article. Just as the body needs rest, so does the mind. Periods of deliberate quiet are necessary to allow you to find solutions where you might have only seen problems in your stressed-out, anxiety-prone state of mind.
In fact scientific studies have shown that meditative techniques create a marked change in brainwave patterns which can produce long-term healing effects. Since stress has become the root cause of many imbalances and illnesses, it seems obvious that by taking a conscious break from stressful periods, you can calm and balance the entire nervous system.
Let’s look at a list of 12 major health benefits…
1. Reduces stress hormones in the body
2. Heart rate is slowed
3. Blood pressure is reduced
4. Restores balance in the autonomic nervous system
5. Activates self-regulating relaxation “feel good” hormones
6. Improves mood and self-confidence
7. Activates an integrated state of being, unifying mind, body and spirit
8. Creates peace and harmony
9. Activates renewal and rejuvenation
10. Retards premature aging
11. Induces more restful sleep
12. Boosts the immune system and promotes healing
Of course, all these amazing results may not occur on Day One but will likely begin to show up by Day 30!
From ancient sages to modern scientists
Spiritual masters will tell you to practice twice a day for at least 20 minutes. Early in the morning when the sun’s energies rise between 4–6am and late in the day between 4–7pm are the ideal time frames. However modern scientists have found that basic recovery from the stress response can occur in just a few minutes. So while you may want to devote more time to the practice, the key is doing it every day for at least 30 days to groove a habit.
The body’s built-in biological stress response — the “fight or flight” state — activates the release of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline which speed up the heart rate and breathing. This response to danger was meant for short bursts to survive from predators. But in today’s tumultuous lifestyles, the stress is unrelenting. What neuroscientists are finding is that we can stop the stress intentionally for brief periods of time every day to allow the body and mind to relax and recuperate. While the longer yogic approach is extremely beneficial for longevity and human wellbeing, even 3-minute “time-outs” sprinkled throughout the day can have important health and performance effects.
What are the health benefits if you meditate for 30 days straight?
By setting a daily routine of stilling your body and mind, you condition yourself to experience the relaxation response and you begin to crave the good feelings it delivers. It takes a minimum of 21 days to form new patterns and so by committing to doing meditation regularly, you cultivate it as a productive part of your lifestyle.
More importantly, you learn to silence the mental agitations and enter an integrated state of mind-body. In Embodying the Power of the Zero Stress Zone, a compilation of the teachings of world-renowned spiritual master Yogi Amrit Desai, meditation is called the “timeless zone.” You shift from the ego-mind of thousands of clashing thoughts to a no-conflict zone. Instead of feeling full of tension, you feel peaceful and connected to a deeper place within yourself. Instead of judging and reacting, you enter into the witness mode “and your bodily functions are disengaged from your time-bound ego-mind. Your autonomic nervous system becomes tuned into the timeless being [that you are] and functions more optimally in balance and alignment.” By withdrawing from thinking and doing in the dimension of time, your whole body — your whole being — enters into a timeless meditative zone. You relax in the present and feel a sense of peaceful calmness. The more you do it, the more you release all struggles, fears, and worries as you perceive a more expansive infiniteness beyond yourself. At the same time, you are united with a deeper sense of your true self and your divine greatness.
What I do
Meditation has been part of my daily routine for years, but admittedly some days are easier than others. I do have a special space where I’ve put candles and several meaningful items but I rarely use it. Instead, I like to meditate before getting out of bed in the morning. I’ll sit at the edge, legs dangling toward the floor. I focus my attention on my Third Eye (in the middle of my brow center) which is the seat of integration where mind, body, heart and spirit come together. I give myself permission to drop into stillness. I may practice for 5 minutes or 50 minutes. If my mind is racing off to the day’s schedule, I just take notice, observing without judgment or self-criticism. I’m guided by what I feel I need in that moment. Instead of a fitness workout, it’s a mind “work-in” as I focus inward and connect to the source of which I am an expression. During the day, when I become aware of tension or realize my mind is getting fuzzy, I’ll take a “productivity pause” for a few minutes of mental quiet to re-set and reconnect mind and body. Meditation has changed my life from being a type AAA personality to someone who is able to do more with less effort and influence others into gentler, more balanced approaches to life.
When you begin, if you struggle with restlessness or lack of focus, the solution is to commit to a period of time — such as 30 days — to establish a behavioral conditioning. Practicing at the same time can also make a difference. When you meditate for a minimum of 30 days, you will likely have more energy and vitality. You’ll discover that you function from a place of calmness even in the midst of turmoil or crisis. You’ll be able to make better decisions; relationships will be more harmonious, and you’ll generally feel more peaceful and productive.
Thank you for reading.