The Benefits of Meditation

There are many benefits of meditation but I wasn't willing to start until I had some facts

Meditation to me, was always this state of bliss that I would never be able to reach in my life time.

I thought this because every time I sat down to “clear my mind” I would start thinking more and eventually get frustrated and do something else.

Photo Credit: Howtobehappy.guru

So when I realized this year that everything that I do is my choice back in June, meditation seemed like the natural way to train my monkey mind and improve my mental state.

 

Again, the “clearing of the mind” and “sitting still and in peace” came as a challenge to me. I was now open to change and letting the good in but, I still had a lot of angst and discomfort that I was wrestling with so just sitting and breathing to feel better was still not the best option for me.

 

Being curious (and a bit skeptical), I decided to start researching the benefits of meditation as incentive for me to do it. I wanted some legitimate scientific proof instead of the airy-fairy answer that it will simply just change my life.

 

Google the benefits of meditation and the amount of information is mind boggling! Firstly, there are at least 23 different ways to meditate and then there are literally millions of articles about it.

“OK… so there must be something good about it… that’s a good way to start.”

Photo Credit: Askideas.com

The Benefits of Meditation

Super Brain

Meditation can strengthen your brain! You know how you lift weights to strengthen your muscles? Well meditation is like weight lifting for your noggin’ except less sweaty.

How it works:  Meditation makes the pre-frontal cortex thicker as well as increasing the amount of grey matter.This increases concentration, as well as better thought and decision making. By having more grey matter, people experience better learning and memory, as well as a greater sense of self.

 

Deal Better With Pain

Numerous studies have found that meditation is a powerful painkiller. Even people who only just started meditating reported less pain than when they were previously tested.

 

Improves Mood and Overall Wellbeing

Studies have found that people who had depression and/or anxiety reported a better feeling of wellbeing after committing to a regular mediation practise. Some people who were getting regular panic attacks reported a dramatic decrease.

Photo Credit. Aboutmeditation.com

Not Just For The Mind, Also For The Body

Studies have found that meditation has benefited people in a physical way:

  • Reduces the risk of heart and stroke
  • Changes the immune system to better deal with stress
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Increase in inflammatory disorders like IBS, asthma and arthritis
  • Weight loss, mainly because people became more mindful of their eating habits.

 

Better Mind, Better Relationships

By calming your mind, studies have found that meditation is also great for our social lives.

One theory is that because we are at greater peace within ourselves, it makes us more empathic to the people around us. Meditation is also proven to reduce worry, hence we stop worrying about what people think of us as much (game changer for me!)

 

In The Present

Fast forward 6 months, and I now have a pretty solid meditation routine. I feel so much calmer than before and I notice that my meditation is now incorporated into other parts of my life. I can be doing the dishes or walking and suddenly realize that I had entered a meditative state again, without conscientiously meaning to.

The major benefit that I have experienced is being able to deal with my emotions. I could be a hot mess to calm and back to hot mess in a matter of minutes but my moods have definitely stabilized for the better.

 

There are many benefits of meditation but I wasn't willing to start until I had some facts
My “state of bliss” also includes giggling.

Meditation For You

Are you thinking that meditation might be something that you want to try now?

If so, my advice is to allocate 5-10 minutes a day to practise, for 7 days straight. Remember that it isn’t going to come naturally right away, but by setting the intention to sit with your thoughts, you are already well on your way.

Make sure to find some guided meditations that you like. You can find them on Spotify (in the podcast section) or on Youtube. These are perfect for keeping your mind on track and avoiding the frustration when you realize you are “thinking too much again.”

And finally, just enjoy the journey. Nobody is perfect at something straight away (and if they say they are, they are lying!) so celebrate your wins and learn from your mistakes.

 

One More Bit Of Info..

If you are into pictures, the infographic from Live and Dare is the greatest! The author really did his homework to go through all the scientific documents and make it really easy for the reader to understand all the great stuff about meditation. If you are interested in learning more, I really recommend this article.

 

Be Kind, Be Brave and Forever Curious.

Lots of Love,

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References

http://liveanddare.com/benefits-of-meditation/ 

http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2008914,00.html

https://blog.bufferapp.com/how-meditation-affects-your-brain 

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/28/how-meditation-may-change-the-brain/?_r=0 

http://www.abundance-and-happiness.com/guided-meditation-benefits.html 

 

 

Everything You Do Is Your Choice

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I could be pretty mean to myself!

And especially this year, I was going through a really rough patch of self-pity and self-loathing until someone told me to “snap out of my pity party.”

 

Photo Credit: Oh Happy Day
Photo Credit: Oh Happy Day

If you have been following me for a while, then you would know that I moved from Victoria to Tofino this May. What I didn’t disclose was that I went there kicking and screaming!

I missed Alex so I wanted to move to be with him but I did not want to live in staff accommodation again.

The day that I moved in, I bawled my eyes out and I was practically crying for the next 3 months after that. Not to mention, pretty awful to be around because I could not say anything nice at all!

To be completely honest, it wasn’t that bad! Sure I was living in a dorm with 50 other people and would get woken up some nights but that was about it. The people were lovely, I was making new friends and I was back in Tofino.

But because I felt disempowered that I hadn’t had a choice in the matter and that I was trapped until my permanent residency was approved, I hated the place and I made sure I let everyone know that I wasn’t happy.

So when I got told to leave my pity party and own up to the facts that I had chosen Tofino and staff accommodation, I was a bit stunned. Had I really chosen all of that for myself? The answer of course is YES.

“Everything that I do and think is my choice!”

BAM! It was like a door had suddenly opened for me and everything make sense. My life and what I did was my choice. How I reacted to anything was my choice and I had to own that and learn to use it to benefit myself and the others around me.

I made an intention that day to stop blaming other people for my choices. To stop being mean because I was unhappy with a choice that I had made and to make a life that I chose for myself.

Not long after that, I quit the job that I hated, I moved out of the staff accommodation and I chose to be happy about leaving Victoria to be in Tofino. I had to learn to let go of the things that made me unhappy and let the good stuff in again.

Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing but I have slowly been learning to set my boundaries and say no when I don’t want to do something and if I do falter, I remember the lesson and move on, and now I pass on the lesson to you.

If you feel empowered by your choices to live a healthier and happier life, the changes are going to be so much easier!

For example: If you choose to lose weight because someone else told you were fat, how are you going to feel about it?

Me? I would be pissed! I would begrudge that person and I would begrudge the whole weight loss journey, even if it was good for me.

But if you wanted to lose weight because it was your decision? Just thinking about it makes it easier. Making a healthy breakfast is your choice, going for a walk early in the morning is your choice. You can do anything that you want because you choose to do it!

Sounds so much nicer, doesn’t it?

 

So how can we introduce the mantra of “it’s my choice” into our lives?

 

Have it written somewhere, where you will regularly see it.

__In the bathroom, the in the kitchen or better yet, as the background on your phone or computer! I even made a little desktop wallpaper to get you started.

 

i-choose-me
To download, just click on the image to make it full sized, then right click to save.

 

Another way to check in with yourself is to meditate.

__I really like to sit down at the end of the day, close my eyes and say thank you for all the wonderful things that have happened to me. They are sometimes really small, like having a roof over my head and food to eat but just by sitting down and acknowledging everything good in my life.

It really helps me to look at the things that I didn’t like about the day and I can consciously choose to not let that happen again, or choose to handle the situation better next time. Guided meditations are a great way to get started and you can find one to suit you on youtube. Here is a great one to start with for confidence and another one for letting go of worries.

 

Finally, practise makes perfect!

__Don’t expect to change your mindset overnight. It takes time to change the way you think but I promise you, by empowering yourself to own your choices, the way that you see the world changes for the better.

 

Be Kind, Be Brave and Forever Curious!

All my love,

Olivia xx

 

 

 

 

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