Stress has a major influence on our overall health and happiness. It's an ongoing subject of study in both the medical and nutrition world and something we fight to manage on a daily basis. Reducing and managing stress is a huge component in Sweat and Butter's coaching programs and we use a variety of different techniques to help clients reduce and manage the stress in their lives and bodies.
Here is the thing about managing stress. Like nutrition, there is no "right" way to do it. There are approaches that everyone can benefit from like eating nutritious foods, getting more restful sleep and moving your body. There are however, many other strategies to incorporate and some may resonate better than others with your schedule and personality.
My guest blogger today touches on a topic that many of us have tried, or perhaps are afraid to try: meditation. We often view this as reserved for only those who are already enlightened, or zen. It seems too hard, or that we are too far from "the kind of person" who meditates. She believes fully that everyone deserves and needs a little more zen in their lives and shares it through her blog, Get Me to Zen.
Her words of wisdom and tips have helped me get a little close to being "the kind of person that meditates" and continues to teach me that everyone is, in fact, that kind of person.
Without further delay, let's all take a step closer to Zen...
How to Meditate - Get Me to Zen
Many people think they don't have the temperament for meditation...they may have tried it briefly only to give up, or simply see it as an esoteric discipline without application to their lives. It's unfortunate, because meditation is a simple way for everyone to access life fully and deeply.
Meditation - The very name conjures mystical states of being, a higher plane of existence, a peaceful, better life. But for most of us in the ‘go-go’ western world of always being connected and always pushing and striving for more of...well just about anything, we just can’t imagine devoting the time required to master the discipline of meditation. Everyone has 4 minutes a day...even a busy mom like myself. I meditate every day and I allow myself those 4 minutes.
You do not need to always sit on the floor. In fact, since I am now in the end of pregnancy I actually sit up straight on my bed and meditate there. I realize that it's not easy for everyone to get down on the floor and there are many different types of meditation.
How to Meditate
Usually, the mind tries to hold several different thoughts and ideas at once. When you sit down to meditate for the first time, you realize how cluttered the mind is. Mediation teachers have described the mind as a “mad monkey”. However, the mind can be tamed and forced to concentrate on a single thought.
One helpful technique I learned from Gabby Bernstein is concentrating on a candle flame. Narrow your gaze to the small tip and block out all other thoughts. When you get distracted, go back to focusing on the candle flame. You can also use other objects like a small dot or flower. The important thing is that you concentrate only on one thing at a time.
Meditation has helped me in so many areas of my life. Through decision making, divorce, illness, and peace. I truly hope this article has inspired you to be kind to yourself and adopt a regular meditation practice.
Here are a couple of ladies who have helped me with my meditation practice and who continue to inspire me:
Carmela is freelance writer/social media expert. Growing up with a power lifting father and mother who cooked nutritious meals daily for their family, she values the importance of healthy living. She believes fitness and nutrition are a guide to living life to the fullest. Implementing better eating habits and a personal exercise routine into your daily life will allow your inner beauty and joy to shine through. Juggling career, family, and life can be chaotic. To keep from feeling burnt out, she tries to always keep a sense of humor, practice daily meditation and yoga, a stress relieving sweat session, and offer her perspective on her zen inspired blog, www.GetMeToZen.com
Carmela is scheduled for Level 1 Yoga Teacher Training this coming February 2015.