Frustration, Impatience and then Guilt. Three words I didn’t want woven into my motherhood journey. Definitely not how I want my kids to experience and remember their mom. However, my parents often got angry and fought so I was unconsciously repeating some of these patterns when I was triggered. In truth, it didn’t happen that much with my kids, but I always felt horrible when I lacked patience and snapped. I wanted to break this pattern and give my kids a different experience. I definitely heard of meditation before as it’s been practiced for thousands of years, but what intrigued me most was how it could help you pause before reacting. A way of rewiring the brain. That definitely sounded worthwhile to me.
So what exactly is meditation?
Simply put, meditation is a mental exercise that trains attention and awareness.
There are many benefits to meditation, including:
- Reduced Stress
- Improved Memory
- Increased attention
- Enhanced willpower
- Better sleep
- Less pain
- Lower blood pressure
- Less anxiety
- Less depression
- Greater compassion
- And more!
The best part of meditation is that it’s free and can be done anywhere in as little as a few minutes a day.
There are several different ways to practice meditation including apps and classes, but it can be broken down into two major styles:
- Focused-attention meditation. This style concentrates attention on a single object, sound, thought, or visualization with emphasis on ridding your mind of distractions. Meditation may focus on breathing, a mantra, or calming sound.
- Open-monitoring meditation. This style encourages broadened awareness of all aspects of your environment, train of thought, and sensations without forming attachments. It may include becoming aware of suppressed thoughts, feelings, sensations or impulses.
I started with Emily Fletcher’s Ziva Technique but my current practice has evolved and varies from a Ziva-style meditation and moving meditation (walking).
So, has meditation helped me?
Yes, in a lot of ways. I feel less stressed, less triggered and more at peace. The pause before reacting is definitely true and has served my family in many ways. I’m not always perfect, but progress is good! I also feel more resilient which was key during these past few years and will be helpful for whatever pops up in the future.
How to Get Started with Meditation?
There are many different meditation techniques, so it’s best to test and see what works for you.
Here’s a simple technique to get started:
- Find a comfortable and calm place to sit.
- Set a time limit – maybe start with just five minutes and increase from there.
- Scan all five of your senses.
- Follow the sensation of your breath as it goes in and out.
- Notice when your mind has wandered and kindly bring it back to your breath without any judgment.
- Open your eyes if closed, reconnect to your senses and notice how you feel.
- That’s it! Start with a few times a week and add daily if it works for you.
With all of the benefits and easy accessibility, meditation is definitely worth trying.
Do you currently practice meditation? Would love to hear your thoughts!
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Featured Photo by Shashi Chaturvedula