What if I told you there is a 10 minute exercise you can do to build your brain. This one activity can build grey matter in the part of your brain that makes planning, emotional management, and stress reduction a lot easier. I started meditating for stress reduction 15 years ago and nothing else has helped more. Since then I have helped bring meditation and mindfulness to hundreds of people through trainings, groups, and individual therapy. That being said, when it comes to daily meditation, stress reduction is just the tip of the iceberg.
Like with any new skill or tool, you’re going to have to be a little patient, many people who’ve tried meditation don’t continue because they didn’t feel the effects quickly enough. In my experience, those people may have tried to use meditation while having a crisis or even during a stressful time and find it ineffective. Meditation is great for those moments but you need to have developed the skills first.
The best time to learn how to meditate is, like with anything really, when you have the time and the ability to focus on it. Does that mean you have to do it daily? Like any skill the more you do it, the better you get. And with meditation, the better you are at it, the more effective it is. But I’ve also witnessed hundreds of people feel relief from the very first time try an 8 minutes body scan. I like body scans because they require your mind to stay active and focussed.
I utilize meditation in my therapy practice to help people get and stay present. If you tried the the meditation above, you should be feeling a little more connected and present than you did before. I liken it to exercise or any other activity that requires you to get out of your head and into your body. Your body is where all the feelings are and spending more focussed and intentional time there will give our heads a rest and bring relaxation.
Meditation offers much more relaxation however. That focused attention also builds our ability to regulate our emotions so in the future we won’t get as stressed out. The more we meditate the more we experience the centered and grounded feeling that helps us weather difficult moments. Over time, we become more resilient.
This process occurs because we are practicing being in touch with ourselves and then letting go. We scan a part of our body, we sit with it without judgement, and then we move on. The experience of being with and then moving forward translates to our daily life. When we face an emotional obstacle, we sit with it without judgement and then move forward without letting it overwhelm us. For me, this aspect of meditation has been the most rewarding and teaching it to others has furthered my belief that meditation can help anyone.