We mention meditation often: sometimes in our blogs and podcasts, and sometimes we recommend it to our clients. I’ve noticed that even for me, when I see the term thrown around enough, it starts to sound just like ‘do your homework’ or ‘eat your vegetables’. Yeah yeah yeah, I get it, meditationschmation. Is it really necessary?
It helps to revisit the root of why we talk about meditation at all. What we’re really pointing to when we talk about meditation is any form of calming the eff down. A moment of stillness, of self-awareness, of just-being-you can do wonders for the body, mind, and soul. It’s completely fine if you want to call it praying, relaxing, lounging, staring off into space, or daydreaming. The benefits of doing any of these are similar, and they’re tangible: when you take a moment to calm yourself, your heart rate has a chance to lower a bit, your breathing can deepen, your blood pressure goes down, and your stress hormone, cortisol, lowers as well. It’s a chance for you to reconnect with your body, which is wiser than your mind even realizes. Feeling relaxed in it feels so much better than feeling tense and knotted up in it.
For many of us, our minds run in circles all day long, chasing our to-do lists, assessing everyone around us, and trying to mitigate our distractions from any little thing on any screen near to us. Meditation is like when this dog stops to look up for a second before going back to run in circles again (so many circles!).
The simplest version of meditation is this: Sink fully into the ground where you are standing, sitting, or lying. Drop your shoulders. Unfurrow your brow. Unclench your jaw, shoulder blades, butt cheeks… wherever is clenched. Take a few deep, full breaths. You can clear your mind by paying attention to your breath, the sounds you hear, the sights you see. Or you can choose to focus your thoughts on a prayer or things you are grateful for.
Does it have to look like sitting cross-legged in silence? Absolutely not. It can look like taking a walk, doing yoga, lying in bed, sitting on the couch, sitting at your desk at work, or standing under the shower head.
Since meditation can be done anytime, here are some times you can use it, or more specifically, things meditation can help you do:
- reduce a sense of nervousness (say, before a meeting or just trying on jeans)
- problem solve
- make a big decision
- relax after a long day
- fall asleep
- explore pain in a new way
- feel less chaotic (and thereby helping everyone around you feel less chaos evaporating off you)
Unless you’re a pro meditator, it helps to listen to a guided meditation.
Here are some podcasts to try:
Here are some apps you can download:
So is meditation really necessary? Think about it this way: who around you could benefit from calming the eff down? I bet a few people come to mind immediately: your boss, a coworker, some politicians, every other driver on the road… Now, flip the script: who would have thought of you if they were asked the same thing? Who around you could benefit from you being more at peace? Your spouse? Your kids? Your coworkers? Be the change you wish to see in the world. Be the calmness. Give the gift of ease, please.