For our bodies we exercise, try and eat right and take vacations to press the re-set button. We go to all sorts of professionals to help us look better and pay ridiculous amounts of money to join clubs that make our bodies the best they can be. I can’t even imagine how much money is spent annually on healthy living and exercise in our society. Constant research and innovation almost non-stop with tips, suggestions and the invention of new superfoods being introduced it seems on a daily basis! Even the tech sector is all over this with gadgets and devices aimed at helping us become more fit.
But what about perhaps our most important muscle…our brains? We devote so little time, if any, on healing and nurturing our brains. Of course, self medication and pharmacology are huge businesses to treat what we think ails us. We would rather, it seems, take a pill with god-knows what inside it for a headache, insomnia, depression, anxiety etc…than actually invest in the things that could really truly make an impact on our minds like mindfulness, spirituality, and one of my favorite exercises, meditation.
After a lifetime of stress and anxiety, non-stop multitasking (bad!) and virtually no tools to shut off my brain from false and destructive narratives, I did alot of emotional damage to my mental well-being. I would so often feel burnt out and fried! My head just hurt. Alot. All the time.
As part of my own journey of intense self-discovery and self-actualization over the past few years, I fell in love with mindfulness and meditation. I would attribute my mindfulness practice to my daily medication ritual since it taught me how to control my thoughts and focus on each moment at hand.
For me, meditation is an essential part of my daily life. First thing when I wake up in the morning, after I focus on a quick minute or so on gratitude, I spend ten minutes meditating. And right before bed, another ten minutes of meditation. Everyday, no matter what, thats my routine.
In the past, I would just rise out of bed and start the craziness of my day. All my work thoughts, stuff to do with the kids, household stuff etc…would coming rushing into my brain the second my eyes opened and I would get my multitasking game on and it was off to the races. Stressed and pressured. 24/7.
Now with my meditation practice, I no longer feel mentally tired. My thoughts are crisper. My attention span better. I have more room to learn and absorb things than ever before. And I am just so much more centered and calm than at any point in my life. After having abused and neglected my brain for so long, I am now committed to repairing, healing and nurturing it everyday through meditation and mindfulness.
I am living proof that meditation can not only heal your brain, but help you stay centered throughout your entire day.
For those that want to learn more about meditation and give it a try, there is no right or wrong way to do it. And it does take a while for you to be able to truly master it so be patient. I know even to this day, I am not great at it and it’s often a struggle to clear my thoughts. But I have learned that this is ok and actually normal.
The process for me is that I sit in a quiet place, set a timer and focus on my breathing. When thoughts come in, I return to my breathing. (Yoga is also a wonderful training exersize for meditation because it teaches you to focus on your breathing and to let your thoughts pass through.)
Some days, if I just get a minute or two of pure zen, then I am thrilled. And if not, just the act of sitting in silence helps me so much to start and end my day. Other days I can literally just lose my mind during the entire session. But I never put pressure or expectations on my practice.
For those looking for some help to get started, I would suggest these two awesome Apps:
Also, if you would rather skip the Apps and jump right in, try these two guided meditations that I love:
The other guided meditation to consider is from Sam Harris, one of the smartest deep thinkers I have encountered. His views on religion are fairly controversial for some, but if you are looking for a brilliant philosopher and neuroscientist, Sam is a trailblazer and I read and listen to just about everything he creates. Check out his ten minute guided meditation, one of my all time favorites. He has many other meditations to check out on his website.
Lastly, if you are like me and just like to learn things on your own, there is no rules or instructions to learn meditation. Just sit, be still and breath. When the thoughts come in, just gently move them along and return to your breathing. Repeat. It’s that’s simple.
Your brain will thank you. Mine already has!