Healthy Habits: Meditation

Meditation is truly a life-changing practice and for various reasons has gained popularity in the wellness space. It has been shown to increase happiness, improve concentration, promote relaxation and create structural changes in the brain. Many people get stuck on the how when approaching meditation, but one of the reasons meditation is so great is that it’s all about what resonates with you.

There are many resources to help you start a meditation practice. Calm is a great place to begin your journey, it features a user-friendly website and mobile apps for iOS and Android. Calm provides users with mood music, various meditations and a deep breathing tool. Another great feature on Calm is the ability to meditate for as little as two minutes at a time. Headspace is another great resource for beginners, with guided meditations accompanied by interactive videos to help users better understand meditation and make it a regular part of their day. Headspace is awesome because it explains meditation, and why we should do it regularly in a way that everyone can understand. Both platforms offer notification reminders to assist with consistency. Last but certainly not least, good old YouTube has countless guided and unguided meditations. YouTube is my personal favorite because you can search for meditations based on what you need for the day.

Meditation is one of my favorite healthy habits, because it has made my days better and easier to navigate. The basic purpose of meditating is to just have a moment to yourself. When I first started my meditation practice, I didn’t understand how to do it or how to make my thoughts stop. It really is as simple as closing your eyes, taking some deep breaths and focusing on the inhales and exhales. Inevitably, when you begin meditating it will feel as if you’re doing it wrong because you can’t stop your mind from focusing on everything else. It is more important to let thoughts pass without judgement, than try to prevent them from coming. Meditation is a practice of being in the moment; so if you close your eyes and can’t stop thinking about a million things just allow the thoughts and feelings to continue to flow in and out without judging them. With consistency, meditation places you in an observant space of your thoughts, instead of being stuck in your head. It can help you develop a pause in your daily interactions and allow you to respond instead of react. Consistent meditation can provide you with a deeper level of understanding and control over your cognitive experience.

I have created a survey about meditation, in hopes of conducting my own research about its impact on people’s emotional and mental states. It takes about 15 minutes to complete, if interested follow the prompt below to participate.

Design Your Life:Part II

 Design Your Life2018

Now that you have a detailed vision for your life, it’s time to compile your core values in order to develop a personal mission statement.

I’m currently reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey and this part of the Design Your Life Series is influenced by the chapter on Habit 2. The focus of habit 2 is “begin with the end in mind.” In the chapter, Covey discusses how to draft a personal mission statement based on principles that are most important to you. Overall it’s a great read and I encourage you to read it if you have not.

A personal mission statement is basically a creed that provides a birds eye view of your life or the life you want. I decided this was the perfect follow up to part 1, because often when completing life visioning you will notice trends in your desires. When I conducted the process the overall themes for me were health, mindfulness, and love. In every area of my life those components were the underlying thread of what I wanted.

How to: revisit your life vision, notice any words you repeat or patterns you notice. From the vision you created answer the following questions: Based on this vision, what values are most important to me? What areas of life do I find most significant? If I could describe my life in a few sentences what would that be?

Now that you have answered those questions it should be fairly easy to develop a personal mission statement. You can create it in paragraph form, a few short sentences, or just a quick blurb of the life you want. For Example, I desire to have a well rounded healthy, active lifestyle. I want to spend my time serving others and cultivating relationships grounded in truth and love. I will devote time to my family, friends and personal development. I will take care of myself with the same generosity that I give to others. I will always make time for having fun and engaging in creative endeavors. I will share my successes and failures to those around me in hopes of helping others with their own progression.

If you feel like creating a personal mission statement is too intimidating, just focus on the year 2018. You can still revisit your life vision and develop a mantra based on the year.

Be on the lookout for Part III: Free Yourself

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