How Meditation has Helped Quiet My Mind
The mental and physical benefits of a meditation practice
I wake up every morning with a running to-do list in my head—emails to send, meetings to attend, chapters to write or places to fly. The list is endless. I typically wake up at 4:45 a.m. jump out of bed and hit the ground running.
I work in my office at home for approximately 60 minutes, then drive to a nearby trail and go for a run. While I run, my mind is either racing with new ideas or I am listening to a complete book on Audible or highlights of a book I have already read or want to read on Blinkist.
Slight variations of this daily routine have been my constant practice for years, that is until I started focusing on my health and wellness and researching for my new book, “The Real Man Plan.”
After reading the book “Ten Percent Happier” I added meditation to my routine. Now, before I go on my morning run, I sit in my car and meditate using the app, Brightmind for 10 minutes.
Meditation is a key aspect of a person’s wellness and health. I never realized the true benefits of quieting the mind and simply being in the present moment.
Wherever we are, we can take a deep breath, feel our body, open our senses and step outside the endless stories of the mind. — Jack Kornfield
Meditation alters your state of consciousness and changes the way you perceive and respond to the world around you. It has been practiced for thousands of years by cultures and religions around the world.
Benefits of Meditation
By practicing meditation and mindfulness, I have improved my mental and physical health and learned more about myself.
On a physical level, meditating can help lower blood pressure, improve the immune system, increase energy level, decrease tension and increase serotonin production, which improves your mood and behavior.
On a mental level, the practice helps reduce stress and anxiety, increase self-awareness, increase creativity, develop intuition, increase focus and concentration and bring clarity and peace of mind.
Meditation is not a one size fits all.
There are many different types of meditation and ways to be mindful. I practice in two ways. Sometimes I sit and listen to a meditation app to help me get in the right state of mind, other times I simply focus on being mindful throughout my day.
While I am running or reading, I work to clear my mind and focus on my breathing, the words I’m reading or my feet as they crunch on the gravel. This practice alone has helped me stay present.
Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. — Buddha
Whether you are just getting started or have been meditating for years, guided meditation apps are a great resource. There are timed meditations to help you focus on your breathing and offer life lessons as you stay present.
When I sit and meditate I use the app, Brightmind. However, there are a number of other great apps, such as Calm and Headspace. Look through all of them and find what works best for you. There are also free resources online to help guide you through meditation.
And then the simplest, but maybe the most difficult, is sitting down and clearing your mind with no guide. Focus on your breathing and try not to let your mind wander.
Why I Meditate
Meditation has helped me organize my mind, which in turn has increased my productivity exponentially. Through meditation and mindfulness, I have been able to focus on the present moment and live in the here and now.
Most importantly though, meditating regularly has helped me learn to relax and let things go.
If you are struggling to relax and decrease stress and anxiety, I highly recommend giving meditation a try.