How To Incorporate Meditation Into Your Daily Life
Once upon a time, life was a little less complicated — or so we’d like to believe. Regardless of age, everyone experiences some form of stress as they go through the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Whether you’re a student trying to juggle a job and schoolwork, or a parent doing the daily marathon of working and managing a household, stress is a fact of life.
However, learning how to manage that stress may be the single most important piece of knowledge we attain in life. It can mean the difference between living a healthy, productive life, or suffering from things like headaches, insomnia, digestive problems, depression, anxiety, obesity, and substance addictions.
The good news is, there’s a helpful tool we can use to replace some of those unhealthy coping strategies: meditation. Meditation can help you calm your mind and make you more resilient to handle future stress. Right about now, you’re probably thinking, “I’m already time-stressed... how in the world will I find time to meditate?” Padma Sripada, MD at Columbia Internal Medicine in Castleton, New York, offers her insights into how you can incorporate meditation into your daily life.
So, what’s meditation anyway?
When you think of meditation, you may conjure up visions of yoga or even religion. Although meditation can be part of yoga, and references to meditation can be found in many religions, it’s ultimately about finding time to quiet all the thoughts in your head. This allows you to de-stress and relax both your mind and body.
There are different types of meditation, but two key elements that are found in many types of meditation are focused concentration and attention to the breath (specifically, deep relaxed breathing).
Just 15 minutes a day makes a difference
For more than 5,000 years, people have been practicing meditation as a way to relax, reset, and restore balance in their lives. One of the best things about meditation is that everyone can do it. Other big pluses are that it doesn’t require a membership or special equipment. In fact, you don’t even have to leave home to do it. For example, one technique, referred to as concentration meditation, is all about focusing on something visual, like a candle flame, or a verbal cue, such as a mantra.
Meditating for as little as 10-15 minutes a day can be beneficial for your overall health. In the beginning, it may be difficult to sit still and calm your mind. Don’t beat yourself up or judge yourself when thoughts linger and your mind drifts. It will happen. Simply acknowledge it and then return your focus to meditating.
Find natural breaks in your routine
Natural breaks in your everyday routine can be the perfect time to meditate. For instance, you may be sitting at your computer after having just sent an email, and are about to go to lunch. Take a few minutes during this transition between activities to take a few deep breaths first.
Breathe through your routine chores
Mundane, repetitive chores like washing dishes and folding laundry can be transformed into a meditation session with a few well-timed deep breaths. Such moments that don’t require decision-making are well-suited for mindfulness meditation. During mindfulness meditation, you allow yourself to be in the moment, acknowledging thoughts and emotions without judgment.
Once you meditate for a while, you’ll wonder how you lived without it. Take your time and experiment with different times of day and settings to figure out what works best for you. Try not to put pressure on yourself to do it perfectly, either. After all, the point is to relax, de-stress, and let go of the negative energy that can impact your overall health.
If you’re interested in learning more about meditation and stress management, contact Padma Sripada, MD, at Columbia Internal Medicine in Castleton, New York to schedule an appointment.