World Mental Health Day: Making Space For A Positive Mindset
In honor of October 10th being World Mental Health Day, I wanted to share some insight about how busy women (and men!) can create space for a more positive mindset.
Incorporating a daily meditation practice can be so powerful, even if you don’t necessarily consider yourself to be a yogi, or to have a “spiritual practice”. Our minds are constantly juggling a million different thoughts, similar to having too many tabs open on your computer - this can slow down and clog your brain. Meditation has been proven to alleviate some of that chaos by quoting our mind, and helping us to think more clearly, while focusing on being in “the now”.
Below are a few of my tried and true tips for incorporating a meditation practice aimed at creating a positive mindset.
- Meditation involves calming your mind by closing your eyes and taking slow, deep breaths. You should set aside a certain amount of time each day, at least 5-10 minutes, to meditate in order to become more in-tune with your mind and body. For beginners, you can start off with 2 minutes a day, and then in the next week, increase the time to 5 minutes a day, and so on and so forth. You will be able to clock in more time as this becomes a daily habit.
- Next, you’ll want to find a quiet, comfortable place to meditate. Comfortability is very important when it comes to meditation. Some people prefer to sit on the floor with a yoga mat, some sit in a chair, and some even lay down. I suggest you simply choose whatever is your best for you, and what feels most natural. The more uncomfortable you are, the more easily distracted you will be.
- While learning to meditate, the key element to focus on should be your breathing. As I mentioned before, taking in slow, deep breaths will help to calm your mind and body, while sending a signal to your nervous system that it’s time to relax. Find a quiet place, you can use noise-cancelling headphones if needed, and focus on the cold air as you breathe in, and the warm air as you breathe out. Try and let go of all the self-talk and chatter that might be happening in your mind. Also, try to focus on the sensation of touch as you meditate. Is there any physical feeling or tingling in your hands or your feet? What’s the temperature of the air in the room? How does it feel against your body? Try to focus your awareness on the actual feeling of your diaphragm and lungs expanding and then releasing. It’s totally natural to have thoughts wander in and out of your mind as you meditate, but as long as you stay focused on your breathing, you should easily be bale to let them pass.
The benefits of meditation goes on and on. The most obvious being that meditation helps reduce anxiety and stress. However, it also serves us by processing our emotions, increasing our memory recall, and helping protect us from ill mental health.
At the end of the day, the goal should always be to see meditation as something you get to do, not something you have to do. If we view it as a chore, it will only create more anxiety, but when we see it as a source of self-care, it becomes much more beneficial. The final key point is to reminder that it’s a practice, meaning it takes time for it to become habitual. Keep in mind your mental health is just the same as your physical health, you need to build the muscles up, get them in shape, and then continue to keep them in shape by staying active.
What are your thoughts on meditation? Do you have any tips for staying mindful with your daily practice? Let me know in the comments below!