You may be accustomed to hearing your pharmacist remind to to take your medication but I'm going to give you some great excuses today to take time for meditation instead!
Whether you call it meditation, prayer or quiet time, carving out time for a mindfulness practice is as essential to your health as exercise, sleep and supplements. In fact, a mindfulness practice can augment the effects of already healthy lifestyle changes you have made and reduce your need for medications.
Meditation has been proven to help with the following common ailments: pain, inflammation, stress, anxiety, depression and high blood pressure to name a few.
Meditation is a great way to begin your day less frazzled and more focused. It's a nice pause midday to help refocus and energize your mind and body that also useful for winding down at night to prepare for restful and restorative sleep.
I try to start my day with 10 minutes of meditation in the morning, preferably outside if the weather is nice (as an added benefit, exposure to the sun first thing in the morning is great for your hormones!).
A simple Google search for "guided meditation" will lead you to tons of YouTube videos that can help get you started. I personally use and recommend an app like Calm www.calm.com or Headspace www.headspace.com.
Here are a few tips for when you're ready to start taking your meditation:
1.) Find a quiet spot where you won't be disturbed. This is why mornings are great. Typically, there are fewer interruptions and it makes for a great start to your day. For me, meditation has replaced my early morning social media scrolling and helps get my mind in the right place before all the busyness of the day begins.
2.) Get comfortable. You don't have to have a special meditation cushion. I sit on a comfy bolster or my yoga mat. You can also sit in a chair or on your couch. Anywhere besides your bed (unless you're meditating before bedtime) so you're not tempted to crawl back under the covers for more zzz's.
3.) Don't be critical. Our minds are so busy and it's nearly impossible to clear all the "chatter" away.
4.) Make it a ritual. I like to light a candle and turn my salt lamp on since it's usually still dark outside when I begin my practice. You might burn incense or play calming music. I also make sure to have warm lemon water or hot tea nearby to drink once I'm finished. Just make this time YOURS.
5.) Don't be afraid. Meditation isn't just for gurus and yogis and the super-enlightened. We can all benefit from the sense of peace and calm that spending a few minutes focused inward has to offer.