Meditation: it’s everywhere. From your friend’s Instagram post of her post-yoga acai-bowl to the ad that plays before the cat video you are about to watch on YouTube for the latest self-improvement app. So what is the big deal? Is it just a millennial fad that will fade out in the next year or something more? Well, to be honest, it’s both. It IS very fashionable right now to do weekly yoga or some other form of mediation and yes, many millenials are jumping on the bandwagon, including myself. However, it’s also true that it’s an incredibly powerful practice that has been practiced since as early as 1500 BCE.
So what is it exactly? It just looks like people sleeping sitting up. Do you have to do that weird chanting thing you saw in a movie that one time? It’s not sleeping while sitting up and no you don’t HAVE to chant. Meditation is a practice that trains the mind’s awareness and a healthy perspective. In an ad for a guided meditation app, which may or may not have preceded a cat video, it was described perfectly.
“If you think of the mind as a still pool of water, each thought is like a raindrop. It creates a ripple on the surface. If it starts raining very hard or it’s perhaps a little windy, then the pool might become so cloudy that we can’t see what is on the bottom. But, the potential to return to our still pool of water is still there. In fact, by training the mind the ripples naturally begin to slow and as the surface of the pool becomes still, it gets easier to see whats beneath the surface. Sometimes we might like what we see and other times, well, maybe not so much. Now occasionally finding things we don’t like may sound off-putting, but, its really important because it’s part of letting go of those things. Accepting what is in our minds also helps us be less critical of ourselves. It can even help us be less critical of others, so we start to feel more content in life, to experience more harmonious relationships and to be more at ease with the world around us.” —Headspace
Many studies have shown that regular meditation practice can significantly reduce depression, anxiety, stress and even blood pressure. It boosts your immune system, decreases pain and inflammation and increases your abilities around self-control and empathy. All from sitting for ten minutes a day, focusing on your breath or listening to a gentle voice guide you.
There are lot’s of ways to start! I personally use a free app called “Insight Timer” which provides guided meditations from people all over the world and a relaxing timer function if you’d just like to do it by yourself. There are also apps like Calm, Headspace and Simple Habit that you pay for, but, may provide more features. So give it a shot, it could change your life. It certainly has made a major impact in mine.