I have had a love/hate relationship with meditation for the past few years. I truly wanted to add it into my daily routine because I know all of the benefits. However, I couldn’t get into the “meditation” headspace everyone was talking about. I would keep hearing about how great it was and how it brings you so much calmness. I would try. I would fail. I would try again. I would fail again. I went through this cycle so many times I lost count. I am not sure if you have been in the same boat. If you have had a hard time with meditation, please know that you are not alone.
Every ounce of my soul wanted to learn how to meditate. In 2015, I even went as far as visiting an Ashram in Dallas to attempt learn from a Master. Definitely extreme…I know…I know. I still couldn’t figure out this whole meditation thing. I was, then, recommended to an app called Omvana by my therapist, Traci. Two words: Game Changer. The app walks you through a 20 minute guided meditation.
Summary of the Omvana Meditation Steps:
Step 1 – The app starts off by having you focus on your light from within. Then it walks you through how we are all connected on this planet.
Step 2 – The second step is all about gratitude. You are guided to visualize at least 5 things you are grateful for in the past few days.
Step 3 – In the third step, the app walks your though an conflicts you have in your life. You are asked to visualize anyone you have a conflict with, ask for forgiveness, and then forgive them.
Step 4 –In the next step, you are asked to visualize your life in 3 years in vivid detail. This is my favorite part.
Step 5 – In the next step, you are guided to visualize what tomorrow looks like for you in detail.
Step 6 – In the final step of the meditation, you are asked to visualize your higher power for guidance and love.
Meditation is a form of mental hygiene for me and it has changed my life. I meditate about 3-5 times a week. It has truly benefited my life in so many ways. It have reduced my stress level, created more self awareness, and has brought more gratitude and happiness into my life.
Benefits of Meditation:
#1 Meditation Increases Happiness.
Serotonin and endorphins, which are the good chemicals in your brain, are increased by a consistent meditation practice. Studies have shown that meditation reduces negative emotions by decreasing the activity in the right side of the prefrontal cortex and increases positive emotions by increasing the activity in the left side of the brain. The author of The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor, has proved that 2 minutes a day or more of meditation for 21 days can rewire your brain to be more optimistic.
#2 Meditation REDUCES STRESS.
Meditation helps individuals control their nervous system, also known as the ANS systems, and their emotions. It has been proven that a consistent mindfulness practice, such as meditation, can empower individuals and improve their ability to regulate emotions. A neuroscientist at Havard Medical, Sara Lazar, was one of the first scientists to prove meditation can reduce an individual’s stress levels. She was able to prove that an individual’s brain can be changed with meditation.
MEDITATION INCREASES SELF-AWARENESS.
The process of self-awareness starts when you are able to calm the chatter in your brain. Meditation is a great way to do that. Once the chatter has calmed down, you are able to become more comfortable within yourself and self reflect. Self reflection and this inner silence allows an individual to see what changes they can make to become a better person. Through therapy, I have learned that my brain feels safe with negative self-talk. Within my own meditation practice, I have learned to be more loving to myself and more grateful.
#4 IT IMPROVES CONCENTRATION.
A daily meditation practice improves an individual’s focus, increases energy, and makes an individual feel more centered. Meditation has truly helped me reduce daily distractions and helps me stay on task. The Omvana app has you visualize your full day. This step creates a daily structure for me before even started my day. When I start my day with meditation, I have noticed that I stay on task throughout the day more. A recent study by University of Washington researchers found that a daily meditation practice increased concentration and reduced negativity in workers.
#5 Meditation INCREASES ACCEPTANCE.
A consistent meditation practice helps individuals accept themselves and their emotions for what they are. It helps individuals sit with their emotions and accept them. My meditation practice has helped me accept myself through self exploration. It has also allowed me to feel a sense of inner peace. An associate professor of psychology at UTSC, Michael Inzlicht, found that when you have a consistent meditate practice, you are able to detach and accept from emotions.
As I have expressed, starting a meditation practice can be an up and down rollercoaster ride initially. The ride is worth it. Meditation has truly changed by life. I was a skeptic initially. How could laying down, closing my eyes, and visualizing could change my life? Now that I have a regular practice, I am a strong advocate and believer. If you do try it out, please give it a chance for at least 3 weeks.