What is meditation? When people think of meditation, they often think of a way to calm themselves down and reduce stress. Surprisingly enough, there are actually many good reasons to practice meditation-to become less reactive to situations around you. To improve your focus. To become more mindful and aware. The people over at Headspace described meditation in this way, “training the mind through meditation is training in awareness, and training in awareness offers the potential to fundamentally transform your perspective on life.” WOW! What a profound statement!
Mindfulness and Awareness
Truth be known, when I started meditating a few years ago, I was in the group that felt meditation was to calm you and reduce stress. Little did I know! There are many ways that meditation can benefit you and it all begins with awareness! So what exactly is awareness anyway? It’s the idea of seeing the things you do in your life, but taking a deeper look. Understanding what makes you do what you do. In meditation you are doing this all from the stance of “the third person”. Picture yourself a fly on the wall and watching yourself in action. Maybe you’ve had a disagreement with your partner. The view from the “3rd person” sees the interaction between you and your partner and sees each person’s point of view. That is the art of developing awareness.
Mindfulness is when you use awareness to be curious about your “here and now”-right in this exact moment. Here is the definition for it over at Headspace.
Mindfulness is the quality of being present and fully engaged with whatever we’re doing at the moment — free from distraction or judgment, and aware of our thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them.
You can practice mindfulness in meditation of course and just think about this. You can practice mindfulness in most areas of your life. Maybe you are sitting in a traffic jam on your way home from work and you can practice being mindful right there. Being calm and mindful in the moment that there is nothing you can do at the present time. Take the time to listen to the radio, observe people walking on the sidewalks, listen to the birds chirping.
What Meditation Does
The key to meditation is the idea of building mindfulness and awareness. When you are practicing these through regular meditation sessions, you begin to notice changes in other areas in your life.
- you become calmer
- ease into a restful sleep
- you build your confidence
- help manage physical pain better
- release anxiety
- develop more focus
- ease depression
- manage stress better
- more mindful of what you eat
- become happier
- build your self-esteem
- practice more loving kindness and gratitude
- you learn to forgive
- you break habits
- increase your productivity
- handle emergencies in a more calm manner
- and more!
Meditation and Weight Loss
The one thing that most people who are losing weight can agree upon, is that emotions have played a major role in their weight gain or weight problems throughout their lives. The Noom Weight Loss Program understands this better than most programs out there. Working on techniques to change our behaviours towards eating. Understanding the role emotions play in our eating habits are key components in Noom’s overall plan and is a large base for its education. Not too surprising, Noom understands the benefits that meditation can play to improving ourselves. If you look at the list above, many people with weight issues can relate to having problems dealing with those areas.
I know when I started with Noom, I was a bit skeptical about meditating. I’ll tell you that after several decades of trying to get to goal weight, I understood that emotions were the root of my problem. I was determined to make the change this time and so I gave it a try. Meditation takes practice and on a very regular basis. I meditate daily. Some days I’m really “into it” and “in the zone” and other days not so much. That is OKAY and perfectly normal.
What you will begin to realize over repeated practice is that you are becoming more mindful. You are becoming more aware. Little things that irritated you in the past don’t bother you the same way now. You will gradually see that improvement in yourself-just keep up the practice!
How Do I Start?
I would recommend starting with what is known as “guided meditation”. This is where an instructor is prompting you through a meditation about how to do it, and what to be looking for as you go through the meditation. There are numerous apps on the market. These two apps here have free versions and beginner versions for free you can try. These are guided meditations as well. If you like it, you can upgrade to the subscription in either app. Check out your favorite app store and download it.
What is Meditation Ultimately?
Meditation is a way to better understand yourself and your motivations. By developing mindfulness and awareness you see the person you truly are and the surroundings and people around you (and it may not be what you thought). This self-discovery becomes truly refreshing and you will really be glad you gave meditation a try. Try it and see what I mean!
Frequently Asked Questions
No. You can sit in a chair. You sit with a comfortable but alert and tall posture. You can have your feet flat on the floor and your hands by your sides or cupped in your lap. You can also meditate while lying down.
Online is a great place to start through Google and YouTube searches. There are several apps that can teach you how to meditate through guided meditations. You can also check out meditation retreats.
After years of weight issues, I have finally found the formula of combining healthy food choices, regular exercise and positive behavior change to lose weight for good. Coupled with, exploring self-development, being productive and living simply, I am now maintaining a healthy lifestyle and in a good place. I enjoy writing articles to help my readers to become the best they can be!