If you've ever tried to meditate, and stopped after a few sessions, you know how difficult it can be. Anyone that meditates daily will tell you that they couldn't imagine their life without meditation, but if you're not in a regular practice, building the habit can be challenging.
Meditation is to the mind as strength training is to the body. Contrary to popular belief, meditation isn't just clearing your mind of thoughts. Meditation is actually the act of practicing sustained focus. The exercise part comes into play when your thoughts take you away from your object of focus, and realizing that you've strayed from that focus, your bring your mind back to it.
Dan Harris, author of 10% Happier and creator of the 10% Happier Meditation app, likens meditation to bicep curls for your mind. Meditation is the practice of repeatedly bringing your mind back to focus. That's it. Eventually you build up the mental strength and stamina to stay focused for long periods of time, without thoughts taking over and distracting you.
Also appropriate to this comparison is the frustration that can come along with starting a new workout routine. At first, meditation can be a slog. It can be extremely difficult to stay focused when your mind has not been trained to do so, and it can be extremely frustrating when your monkey mind just won't shift down out of high gear. This is why people give up on meditation. They get really uncomfortable and decide they just can't do it. Meditation also forces you to be alone with your thoughts, and if your thoughts habitually lean negative, being alone with them won't be the most pleasant experience.
The truth is even the most over-active mind can learn to meditate, just like a weak person can start to life weights and gain strength. In both scenarios, it takes dedication to the exercise, and time allowed to see the results.
One of the most profound benefits I've experienced from meditation is the focus translating into my everyday life. I can pull myself back into a task more easily, and I've been able to pinpoint little behaviors that take me away from the current task at hand. It's also created a calmness of mind, reduced anxiety, and mental clarity, along with space created in my mind for the belief in new possibilities.
The more practiced you become at meditation, the more you move into the space of becoming "the watcher." You watch the way your mind works, the way your brain thinks, rather than constantly running on auto pilot and reacting. Meditation makes you intentional in your thinking. Intentional thinking leads to higher emotional intelligence, and better control over emotions and reactions.
If you've never practiced meditation consistently for a period of time, I would like to challenge you to do so. Practice it daily for 30 days. I was introduced to a daily practice through the Headspace app, and it is still my daily go-to. But there are other meditation apps out there, both paid and free, to help you get started. Here are just a few:
You can also find plenty of guided meditations on YouTube. All it takes is 10 minutes per day to start to realize the powerful benefits meditation can have for your mind. So take a break, close your eyes, and experience the benefits of meditation today.
Coaching can also be a powerful way to train your mind. As a coach I can help you cut through the noise, identify your goals, and clear space in your mind to make obtaining those goals a reality. Fill out the form below to start a conversation!