Meditation has a lame reputation. It’s time to change that.
Relaxing with a good book, going on a long walk, and exercising one’s stress away are all accepted ways to slow down, but if a person mentions meditation as a means to not sweat the small stuff then people might imagine you sitting cross-legged near a quiet pond, humming and wearing some sort of robe.
Those of us that do meditate know that you don’t have to hum, you don’t have to close your eyes, and you don’t even have to be in a quiet place to do it correctly. Sure, some of those things might be helpful when getting started and some people certainly find relief in repetitive phrases or soothing humming, but meditation is something that you can do anywhere at any time and without anyone noticing.
If you’re not sure whether or not meditation is right for you, don’t be afraid to keep reading!
Meditation is slowly but surely gaining popularity in areas of the country that tend to be most on trend. Even if you’re not the type that typically jumps on fads, meditation could be right for you. Why? Well, we’re talking about Silicon Valley, a place where science rules and spirituality takes a back seat to logic.
According to an article on Wired, Google employees are lining up by the hundreds to take a class called Search Inside Yourself. It’s essentially a how-to course in meditation, and over 1,000 employees have taken it with several hundred still waiting for their turn to go through the transformation. Companies including Twitter and Facebook are also tackling the opportunity, which boasts the ability to make workers more efficient, among other positive outcomes.
Why does meditation make us better at our jobs? The Huffington Post says that the practice can reduce stress, improve concentration, and increase nitric oxide, which works out well for our cardiovascular health and immunity (translation: you might spend less days stuck at home feeling sick). Imagine if you were more relaxed at work and better able to focus on your tasks! Productivity is one of the most important measures of employee value, after all, and so it makes sense that employers are taking these studies seriously. You don’t have to take a class in meditation to reap the life-changing benefits of it, though.
The first step to meditating is finding the time for it. Once you get good at it, you can do it while you wait in line at the store or in the lobby before your big GMAT test, but baby steps are the best way to approach proficiency. Plan for just 10 minutes a day where you will be alone and can easily zone out from any surrounding sounds. At your desk before work starts, in bed after dinner, or in the morning before you have your coffee are all good places to start, but find what works for you and stick to it for a few weeks. After that, you’ll have the tools you need to practice it on a whim.
Now that you have the time for it, there are some helpful applications for meditation out there that you can use until you’re able to navigate it without direction. My favorite is Headspace. Although you have to pay for it after a while, it is the best way to spend your money if you’re expecting to get involved in the practice quite casually. The lessons slowly grow in time spent on them, giving you space to master each phase of the meditation curve, and the subscriptions work with your expected level of dedication and daily concerns. There isn’t cheesy music with this one, so it’s a bit more welcoming for someone who is skeptical about meditation being a lifestyle choice.
Pricey Headspace isn’t your only option, of course. Another straightforward application for your phone is The Mindfulness App. It is an easy-to-use program that takes even the most fleeting moments of the day and turns them into something productive for your mind and body. If you’re instead interested in having meditation sessions that are accompanied by traditional soft music and nature sounds, Simply Being is a great choice for you. While these programs are highly recommended suggestions, you are encouraged to try many apps in order to determine what style of stress reduction works for you.
Most importantly, though, remember that meditation isn’t immediately easy to master. When you live in a world filled with instant gratification, constant communication, and stimulation from anything and everything, becoming aware of your feelings and not reacting to them is actually pretty challenging. As you improve, though, you’ll find that your daily calm is more resilient than ever before, your relationships have likely benefitted from your ability to evaluate situations more neutrally, and your general sense of well-being is palpable.
That, my friends, is worth 10 minutes a day.
If you’re looking for more wellness training, check out this list of retreats that specialize in health, fitness, and (of course) meditation!
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