Benefits to a daily practice
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Contributor
Meditation can perhaps be defined as the act of doing nothing at all. It could also be considered the practice of putting the body into another state of mind. In a world where we are more connected and bombarded with stimulation than ever before, taking a break is really important.
Many think meditation is a complicated practice, but it’s really just focusing on nothing but our own minds. You don’t have to be in a formal session. It is simply a matter of being extremely self-aware, and taking that awareness and practicing it in your daily life. Even noticing when you make the transition from standing to sitting counts as being in the moment.
My own personal journey with meditation involved a popular meditation app, Headspace. Ten free daily sessions are offered to the user, after which you pay a subscription fee for a much larger access library. While the prices may seem a bit steep ($18 a month or $96 a year), I find the diverse amount of meditation activities and guidance offered worth it. The free sessions are also an excellent introduction to the tactics, allowing you to then practice on your own. Of course, there are many free online resources (including YouTube) to help anyone get into basic practices. In addition, millions practice mediation around the world without the need of an app. At its core, the act is simply shutting the eyes and focusing on your breathing. The goal is to clear the mind and not to erase thoughts but simply set them aside.
Since I started regularly meditating for 10-15 minutes a day, I’ve noticed a difference in my clarity. I always feel super relaxed, almost intoxicated, after each session. When struggling with low moods or bad feelings, meditation also helps me work through those emotions. It is the most uplifting and refreshed I feel all day. Even going about in daily life, I’ve been able to find myself in better focus and feel more at ease when overwhelmed. Learning to concentrate on your state of mind when in meditation builds better concentration all around.
Not everyone relaxes from meditation in the same way. Even if you don’t feel the altered stream of consciousness (and this can take a few sessions), there is a lot of benefits to taking the time out of the day and simply trying. It’s hard to describe what the exact feeling of being mid-meditation is, but you’ll know when you’ve reached it. It’s very much a deep focus akin to being asleep, yet in control.
It only takes a couple of weeks to really start noticing the benefits. Whether through guided sessions or your own experimentation, I can’t recommend trying meditation enough.