October 09, 2021 2 min read
October 10th, is World Mental Health Day, and a great reminder to check in with how you are feeling. Your mental health is more important than your career, than money, than other people’s opinions, your family’s moods and wishes. If taking care of yourself means letting someone down, then Let. Them. Down. The last thing you need is another thing on your to-do list, but I’m going to challenge you to add mediation to it. IT IS WORTH IT I PROMISE YOU! Meditation is proven to improve mental health, resiliency, anxiety, depression, stress, overall well-being annnnd create a more positive outlook on life. Who doesn’t want that, right?!
How to start? It starts with practice. Pick a regular time to practice your meditation, even if it’s only for 5 minutes. I have created a gentle habit of meditating each day, and have seen massive changes in my mental health, my ability to cope with stress, and I feel like I’m just… you know, nicer. Meditation is one activity that nourishes your physical, emotional and psychological self, it is easy to do and you don’t need anything to get started.
Find a comfortable spot, maybe sitting cross-legged or in a chair, I like to do mine laying in bed. Relax your shoulders, lengthen your spine, and let your hands rest in your lap or to the side. Relax or close your eyes, and feel the muscles in your face relax. Take a deep breath, in through your nose, and out through your nose. When it comes to effective ways to improve your stress response and sense of ease, stimulating your vagus nerve is one of the best. Any type of deep, slow diaphragmatic breathing—during which you visualize filling up the lower part of your lungs just above your belly button like a balloon...and then exhaling slowly—is going to stimulate your vagus nerve, which will activate your parasympathetic nervous system, and lower cortisol (the stress hormone) for better focus and ability to manage worry.
Create a gentle habit by carving out a certain time for meditation and be gentle on yourself. I like to meditate first thing in the morning, to start my day grounded and with peace. Commit to yourself by scheduling time for meditation in your calendar, either just focusing on your deep breathing, relaxing your body, or download an app ~ I like Insight Timer (Calmis another good one) for a lovely, guided meditation. Notice how you feel after a few sessions! Remember that training your mind takes time, and any gentle guidance towards quieting the mind is progress.
“Quiet the Mind, and the Soul Will Speak.”
-Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati
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