It seems like everyone is doing it. You keep hearing it's the #1 success tip shared by the most famous athletes, business leaders, and entertainers. Kobe, Oprah, Madonna all do it. They use it to help their focus, creativity, and resilience. It improves their ability to be proactive vs. reactive, have a positive mindset, and get in the flow. It's free, so what do you have to lose?
You finally find time to sit still and close your eyes. You take a deep breath. You are going to get in the Z O N E.
Instead of feeling relaxed though, you start to feel anxious. You notice you need to scratch your nose. You remind yourself need to fold the laundry. You hear the neighbor next door. O-M-G goes off in your head. How long do you have to do this?
You open your eyes and tell yourself that must have been like 15 minutes. You look at the clock. 3 minutes has passed.
What the h...? You decide this must not be for you. It’s too painful. It takes too much discipline. You don’t have what it takes after all.
Honestly, if you can watch a movie, you can meditate. It’s a form of mindfulness. Mindfulness is being present, aware, and learning to appreciate everything around you.
Meditation is exercise for your mind. You are training your attention muscle. There are many ways to do it. We want to show you how painless it can be to start a daily practice.
The research on meditation is vast and the health benefits are numerous. It's been researched extensively.
Just 10 minutes a day can sharpen your thinking and decrease your blood pressure! It’s so worth giving it another shot.
Additional benefits of having a daily meditation practice:
That list is pretty awesome for one form of mind exercise. It can be confusing to get started because there are many ways to meditate and we tend to try too much when we start a new exercise or activity.
To create a new habit, it’s best to connect it to something you already do and if possible, enjoy. That’s why we’ve made a video for you on how you can start your meditation practice with your pet since you’re cuddling with them daily anyway (hopefully).
Here are some basics to know followed by the video to help you get going today:
How do you do it? Find a comfortable position to sit or lay down. Eyes open or closed. Choose something to focus on (your focal point). Your breath is one of the simplest ways to start as a focal point. When you mind wanders, you return your focus to the breath. There are many types of meditation such as laughing meditation, walking meditation, or meditating with mantras (positive words or affirmations you say over and over). You can even meditate with your pet.
What should you feel? Calm, centered, relaxed.
What should you do? Watch and enjoy the show going on in your mind. Meditation is sometimes described like the state you are in when you are watching a movie. When you are at the movie you just enjoy the show without effort. If your mind wanders, come back to the show (in your mind).
When to do it? Anytime, although it’s easy for the day to get away from you so most people recommend meditating in the morning. Set an alarm and do it anytime it fits in your day.
How long? 10 to 30 minutes. Start small even for 1-2 minutes and build your tolerance. Remember, it’s exercise. You wouldn’t expect to run a marathon on your first day of training, especially if you’ve never run before. Don’t put that kind of pressure on yourself to sit still for an hour on your first attempt. Take baby steps.
How often? Daily is best for a healthy brain and all the benefits it can provide you.
Where? Anywhere. When you are starting out, it will be easier in a comfortable, calm environment with fewer distractions. Check out the apps recommended below that you can use anywhere.
Meditating is a simple exercise for a healthy brain but the tricky part is that your mind will always wander. The more you practice, the less it wanders, and the easier it is for you to return to your focal point. Your goal is to not judge yourself when it wanders.
Dr. Ron Siegel likens this skill to potty training a puppy. When you’re cute, sweet, cuddly puppy is in training, you don’t scold or shame it when it poops or pees in places it shouldn’t. When you are learning to meditate, your brain will poop and pee when it’s not supposed to by losing focus from time to time. When this happens, don’t get stuck on it, just let it roll by, accept it’s going to happen and refocus when you notice it happening. Don’t tell yourself stories that you suck at this or can’t do it. It’s totally NORMAL.
THE GOOD NEWS:
Just the intention to meditate lights up the areas of the brain that we are targeting with this exercise, i.e. there is no perfect way of doing it!
GETTING STARTED VIDEO:
In this video, Ender teaches you how to start your meditation practice with your pet. Your focal point will be on your breath and your pet. Your pet will receive all the health benefits along with you.
Take a few minutes and join Ender and one of our dogs, Teddie, doing a simple meditation:
It's time to turn on your brain with daily meditation. It’s like a muscle- you've gotta use it or lose it.
We'd love to know if you tried the pet meditation in the video or if you have your own favorite way to meditate. Please share with us in the comments below.
Mollie & Ender (& Teddie)
P.S. Fit Dawg Boot Camp launches soon- our healthy living + cardio workout for you & your dog! Click here to be the 1st to know about it + get access to our FREE Fit Quiz!
Mollie Miller, PT