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My journey in building a meditation practice

If you had asked me 5 years ago if I would have a meditation practice, I would have said no, and that I had no interest in one. It felt a little to woo-woo for me at the time. But that was before I knew really how much everything in our body was connected. It wasn’t about being woo-woo at all. It was about connecting with myself and tuning inward.

Meditation is a practice (and opportunity) to focus inward, on what you need, on your breath, and on your mind. I had heard all the benefits of what meditation could do so I really wanted to give it a shot.

Some of the benefits of meditation include:

✨Lowers stress & cortisol levels

✨It can bring your body out of fight or flight

✨Promotes anti-inflammation in the body

✨Boost the immune system

✨Improves brain function

✨Boosts the immune system

✨Increases mindfulness & awareness

& so much more!

I had gone to my fair share of yoga classes to have some familiarity with connection to our breath but had only truly tried meditation once. I was on a weekend retreat and participated in a guided meditation. It started off great, although I think I got a little too relaxed… because I did doze off a bit (#guilty). But it was after having that exposure, learning about all the benefits, and honestly coming to a point in my life after becoming a health coach where I really wanted to make a change to continue to improve my health and happiness that I decided I would give meditation some real effort. I set as one of my goals for 2022 to build a meditation practice!

This was something that I could do, take control of, and incorporate into my life how it best served me. I didn't have anything to lose.

I knew myself well enough that starting off, it would need to be small. Super low barrier to entry, so simple I would have no reason not to. So I started with just 1-2 minutes. I set a timer on my phone and would sit and focus on breathing in, and breathing out until my timer went off. There were several times that I felt my mind thinking about random things and then I would think, crap I messed up. And start again; breathe in, breathe out.

But the beauty of meditation is there is no wrong way of doing it. Sometimes I would listen to a Meditation playlist on Spotify or try and find a guided meditation on Youtube. My go-to now is through Mellissa Wood Health using her guided meditations.

The biggest thing I learned about meditation on my own exploration and journey is that it isn’t about turning your mind off. Our brains are wired to constantly think. Instead, its about recognizing the thoughts that come up and then letting them go. That is the practice. Almost like lifting weights but for the mind.

When you contract and relax a muscle, you completed a rep.

When you let a thought go and bring yourself back to focusing on your breath, that's a rep.

I built this into my morning routine through habit stacking. After my morning walk with Bubba I would fill out my 5 Minute Journal. Now, my meditation is meshed in between and I don't think twice about it.

Actually, I look forward to it! The sense of having even just 5 minutes for myself in the morning, before I look at my phone, before I dive into the plans for the day with Joey, before anyone needs anything from me, I get to show up for myself first!

Some days it's 5 minutes and that's it. On other days I can sometimes make it 12-15 minutes.

Have I noticed any of the benefits? YES!

I will honestly say that before meditating, I was a reactive person toward a lot of things. I would easily let things stress me out if they didn't go to plan.

Now, am I a new person, no. I still have moments when I get stressed or worked up about things. But I have noticed the mornings I meditate, it's significantly less. And on the days I don't meditate because I start my day earlier or I prioritize more sleep, the things I react to are so minimal I can recognize that I shouldn’t have reacted that way. And that gets me to meditate at that moment!

Where can you start?

🧘‍♀️ Start small! I’ve heard from so many people they don't have the time but it's all about making it so simple you can’t help but do it. Before you get out of bed, pick a mantra for the day and repeat it for 2 minutes. Instead of scrolling on your phone in the morning, while drinking your coffee, or before bed try meditating!

🧘‍♀️ Free Resources! I didn't start with a paid service because I wasn’t at a place to shell out more money for something else. But there are free resources like Spotify playlists (or Apple Music if you have that) that you can listen to. Even some guided meditations on there as well. Youtube has a ton too! There is even an app called Insight Timer that I know people have used that is free!

🧘‍♀️ Subscriptions. There are some really great services out there that offer a ton of resources. Headspace, Calm, Mellissa Wood Health, and 10 Percent Happier all are great ones to look into!

🧘‍♀️ There is no wrong way. You can sit, you can lay down. You can do it in silence, you can do it in a crowded space (although that does take a bit more practice). You can focus on your breath anywhere at any time. Just remember that if you are carving out time to turn inward, you are meditating. It's going to look and feel different for everyone.

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