If you’re like most women, you’ve got a lot on your plate. Your mind is always racing with how you will complete your To-Do list. You don’t have a second for yourself, let alone time to meditate! Maybe you’ve thought meditation is too boring or too new age spiritual. You’d rather spend your time reaping bigger results. But did you know that just 5 minutes of meditation can have important impacts on your physiological and psychological health? Just 5 minutes. Even the busiest of women can find 5 minutes in their day. That 5 minutes of meditation might just change the course of your entire day for the better. Now that doesn’t sound boring.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a set of techniques that are intended to encourage a heightened state of awareness and focused attention. That sounds pretty exciting! Being more aware and more focused is just what a busy woman needs. Meditation has been practiced in many cultures all over the world for thousands of years. Almost every religion has a tradition of meditation. Meditation is even used as a psychotherapeutic technique. Meditation might involve focusing your attention on a single object, word, your breath, or mantra while tuning everything else out around you. The goal is to reach a higher state of consciousness. Another type of mindfulness meditation involves a higher state of awareness and being present in the moment. You might notice the sounds around you, the feelings you feel, or even the tastes and actions of your body, for instance.
Let’s Define Boredom
Boredom can be defined as causing weariness and restlessness through lack of interest. Tiresome. Not interesting. Tedious. Dull and interesting.
Why Might We Consider Meditation Boring?
We might have assumed meditation is boring because we just weren’t interested in it. We didn’t know the interesting facts about meditation. We might be unaware of the significant impact it can have on our physical and psychological health. It’s possible you’ve attended a meditation session before and you just couldn’t connect to the mantras or methods being used. Boredom usually arises because we are not focused on the end result. We are not connected to the meaning and purpose that the work is leading to. If we aren’t aware of how important meditation can be to our overall well-being, we might have a hard time finding the purpose of the stillness and the focus. Thus, we might become restless and distracted. Understanding the immediate and long-term health impacts of meditation can fuel your interest and passion for mediation. A purpose brings focus.
Benefits of Meditation
Meditation activates the parasympathetic nervous system which is the reverse of the fight or flight sympathetic nervous system. As a result, the physiological effects of meditation include a lowered state of arousal, lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, lowered resting heart rate, reduced breathing rate, lowered blood pressure, and even produces changes in brain wave patterns. All of these markers can lead to a longer life, better quality of life, and yes, even improve weight loss.
Meditation is a deliberate means of changing streams of consciousness and can alter the way you perceive and respond to the world around you. This is critical to managing our emotional and psychological health. As a result of this practice, some psychological effects of meditation include better management of anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, pains, and mood. Other benefits of meditation include increased self-awareness, improved emotional well-being, improved memory and intelligence, headache relief, and greater empathy for yourself and others.
Benefits of meditation can be immediate. It doesn’t take long for the heart rate to lower, breathing rate to slow down, and the sense of calm and stillness to take over.
Research has revealed long term benefits of meditation as well. In a landmark study by Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital, it was found that 8 weeks of meditation resulted in decreased anxiety, greater feelings of calm, and produced growth in areas of the brain linked to memory, empathy, sense of self, and stress regulation.
Which of the listed benefits are most important to you? The idea of meditation being boring evaporates once we connect to the purpose and meaning of meditation for you.
How to meditate
- Choose a quiet spot that is free of distractions
- Set a time limit – can be as little as 5 minutes
- Pay attention to your body and get comfortable
- Focus on your breathing
- Notice your thoughts
- Focus on what you are feeling
- Don’t try to suppress feelings
- Set a schedule to meditate at the same time every day
Meditation can cultivate a sense of stillness and peace. Since when was peace boring? As busy women, aren’t we all wishing for a sense of peace?
Listening to the sound of the ocean waves crashing is one of the most peaceful things. I would not call this boring at all. It brings stillness to the soul. Cultivate stillness by setting an object of attention to focus on like breath, or an image, or paying attention to surrounding sounds. Where can you meditate that gives you an image or sound to focus on? The beach? The mountains? Near a fountain, or picture of your favorite beach or scenery? Outside with the sound of the birds chirping? Outside where you can feel the warmth of the sun on your face?
Use visual aids in your space to direct your attention on the purpose. You might hang signs or images to set the mindset and mood. Make your meditation space beautiful and appealing to be in. Enjoy the space and the moment. Be present and remove all distractions. Distractions can lead to boredom and lack of focus.
Meditation is not about clearing your thoughts. As you meditate, thoughts will arise. Notice your thoughts. Acknowledge your thoughts without judgement or trying to push them away. Explore a thought or return your attention to the object of attention (breath, image, sound). Sometimes letting your thoughts wander allows for creativity and ingenuity and problem solving.
Need a Sample Mantra to Get You Started?
“I change my thoughts, I change my world”
Take 5 minutes of your day today. Find a quiet space and just breathe and focus on each breath. Notice how you feel during the 5 minutes and after. Can you feel the immediate benefits? Are you invigorated to keep that feeling going? Did that 5 minutes redirect the course of your day? Who’s bored now?
XO, Coach Heather, Owner of Kaia FIT Santa Clarita