Stressed (2)Too many of us step on the gas all of the time; this puts us into a chronic fight/flight response. This stressful state can increase stress hormones (adrenaline, cortisol) which can drive up blood sugar levels and cause weight gain. It can also lead to increased blood pressure, a weaker immune system and a decrease in growth & sex hormones, causing premature aging. It is possible to reverse the damage caused by chronic stress. You have to learn to put yourself into a more relaxed state, to control your responses – meditation can help with this.

Meditation calms your busy mind and relaxes your body, it lets you find an inner peace. It can help reduce high blood pressure, depression and anxiety. Research shows, it gets more of your brain working so you’re able to think and learn more. It stops you from “sleepwalking through life” – when you slow down your mind & body, you disconnect from activity and you’re able to enjoy the present moment.

The approach to training your mind is similar to the way you should approach fitness training for your body. Like any exercise, change takes time, it will be subtle. The first time I knew mediation was working for me, I was sitting in traffic. Those of you who know me, know I HATE traffic. I was trying to turn left at a light that was taking forever, when the person in front of me refused to turn left in a clear spot. This made us all sit at the light waiting for yet another green light. Cars all around me started honking, while I calmly sat there. Normally I would have laid on the horn louder than anymore. It’s this feeling of calmness I miss since I’ve stopped mediating. I have made it a priority to get back into it this spring.

Try these tips when you’re starting to mediate:

Rest Days1. Make time: Set specific time in your day dedicated to your practice & stick to it. If that time stops working, pick a different time. Set reminder alarm in your phone, or book time off in your calendar. You have time to make anything happen in your life; it’s up to you to set your priorities. Don’t meditate too close to bedtime because it rejuvenates you and may keep you up.
2. Start slowly: Start with few minutes a day – work up to longer periods. Consistency is more important than the length of time you mediate (meditating 5 minutes daily leads to more benefits vs meditating 2 hours, 1 day a week).
3. Make space: Find space in your home dedicated and always ready for your practice. This can be as simple as a chair you keep empty, or as elaborate as a rolled out mat, cushions and essential oils.
4. Expect to be bored at first: We have 60-80K thoughts running through our minds daily, stopping these thoughts will lead to boredom at first; it will subside over time.
5. Find the type that works for you: Try different forms of meditation until you find a form that works. I like using a mantra (I repeat a word throughout the meditation to provide me with focus). I’ve heard that walking meditations are peaceful too.

Go a head and relax your mind today!