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A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation for Wellness

Health & Wellness, Life Coach Library, Personal Growth & Spirituality, Recovery

If you’re anything like I was, the word meditation brings up images of yogi’s sitting in lotus position chanting “ommm”~incense burning in the background, all in a quest to enlightenment.

For me, that misconception got in the way of sincerely engaging in what has become the single most positive and life-changing habit I practice. Got in the way for years and not until I discovered meditation on You Tube did I change my stance.

What are the benefits of meditation?

For thousands of years people have meditated to gain peace of mind, clarity and focus. Today, some begin on a doctor’s recommendation, others to find relief from painful thoughts or feelings, while others simply want to find greater self-understanding. Regular meditation has proven to have profound benefits mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Just to name a few:

  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Decreased depression and anxiety
  • Restful sleep
  • Improved self-image and increased positive thinking
  • Longer attention span/concentration
  • Pain management

Why is meditation so powerfully effective?

Have you ever been overwhelmed and confused for a while until you just stopped to take time and think? And when you slowed down to really process you were able to see clearly, and simple solutions became obvious? Well, meditation is kinda like that ~ on steroids.

I’m not a guru or a neuroscientist, but based on my research here is a practical explanation:

When we are awake, our brains are busy. Like 40-60 thoughts per minute, busy. Only about 10% of those thoughts are conscious, while the other 90% are running in either the sub-conscious or the pre-conscious. Think of the pre-conscious as the “waiting room” between the other two. For most of us, a whopping 80% of those unconscious thoughts are negative (Psychology Today, 2012).

So, while we are having 40-60 thoughts per minute, our brainwaves are pretty rapid. These are called alpha or beta-waves. They correlate to active learning, thinking and processing information. I think of this an impenetrable and frenzied barrier that clouds any inner wisdom we may possess.

Photo by Davinder Ojaita

In meditation, the brain slows down to theta and delta waves, which is related to relaxation and heightened awareness. In short, it slows down the frenzy enough to open the door to the sub-conscious, leading to deeper self-awareness and visualization, a.k.a. inner wisdom.

In this relaxed state, we are able to uncover buried negative, fear-based, & limiting beliefs and then begin the process of weeding them out and replacing them with new, positive, and empowering ones.

Not quite feeling your inner guru? No worries!

In truth there are an infinite number of ways to meditate and none of them are wrong. The common thread amongst all meditative practice is the cultivation of awareness and expanded consciousness.

Learn to Practice Meditation

Here is a very simple process to help you get started in your practice:

Before beginning any meditation, I always set an intention. This is not a necessity to meditate, but it is what I do.

An intention is a positive thought that I hope to make a part of my unconscious schema. For example, years ago, doing deep inner-child work, I needed to release shame. I didn’t know I carried shame unconsciously because I never actively thought “I wasn’t good enough”. However, running in the background were core-beliefs that my worth was measured and valued by what I accomplished and how I looked.

So I wanted to be rid of shame, but telling myself “I don’t want to feel shame anymore” wasn’t going to cut it. It’s the right idea, but it is stated negatively. Stating a negative intention is sorta like getting into a taxi and telling the driver you don’t want to go to the train station, expecting him to know that means you want to go to the airport. Doesn’t work. Stated positively, I began to use the mantra “I AM ENOUGH” (right now).

To begin:

  • · Turn your cellphone OFF! Yes OFF, you can do it 😊 (IF you use your device for music/guided meditation, you may put it on Do Not Disturb)
  • Sit or lie comfortably. Not sure about you, but for me sitting on the floor with my legs crossed is not so comfortable after a few minutes. I prefer to lay down. Some highly recommend “grounding” by sitting or having your feet on the floor and opening your palms upward to increase “energy” flow. If you are comfortable with this, great. If not, don’t fret, it’s ok not to. The energy knows where to go and doing something that makes you feel awkward defeats the purpose of the whole experience.
  • Close your eyes and bring your awareness to your breath. Take 2–3 slow and deep breaths. In your mind, try counting to 5 as you inhale, pause for a count of 3, and slowly exhale counting back to 5.
  • Breathe normal. As you begin to relax, your breath will automatically slow down (your breath and your brain are in tandem so as one begins to slow, the other will naturally follow).
  • When your thoughts begin to scatter, (trust me they will) simply accept it. Don’t judge the fact that you are having thoughts or engage in them (this will only create angst) Just try to “notice” them like a cloud passing by in the sky and then and bring your attention back to your breathing.
  • As you breathe, notice your body from the inside. Bring attention to your feet, then to your legs, then your torso, and so on… Being aware of your body puts your awareness into the present moment.
  • Do this for about 5 minutes each day and gradually increase time.

When I began to meditate, I did the Chopra Centers 21-day Meditation Challenge, which I found on You Tube, along with thousands of guided meditations and meditation music tracks. I love, love, love using them. I find the best ones use binaural beats and do require headphones, so make sure you have a pair comfortable enough that you can forget you are wearing them. Binaural beats mean the sound in each side is traveling at a different speed. The impact of this is that when the brain processes them, it responds in slower waves that are best for expanded awareness.

Be patient, it takes 14–30 days for the unconscious to absorb new information and accept it as automatic. Meditating regularly will make happiness, gratitude, clarity, focus, and inner-peace your new normal.

By Wendy J. Cope, Positive Change Coach

References:

https://www.livescience.com/

https://faithhopeandpsychology.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/80-of-thoughts-are-negative-95-are-repetitive/

About Me:

I was a rebellious teenager and at the age of 20 found myself in a recovery program for drug and alcohol addiction. That was 30 years ago and I have been passionate about the pursuit of personal-growth ever since. At one point in my recovery I felt really “stuck” and needed to do something different. That was my first encounter with coaching. I completed a 12-week program and the changes I experienced were profound. Like more than 5 years of therapy profound.

I felt inspired to become a Positive-Change Coach and later to create a platform that serves both coaches and clients. Hence, I created Life Coach Library. Educating people and getting the message to them that they CAN reach their goals while providing a practical means for great coaches to grow their businesses is what Life Coach Library is all about. If you simply register and fill out a short questionnaire you will receive up to 3 coaching sessions on us!

Education:

I hold a bachelor’s degree from Hawaii Pacific University in Justice Administration and I’m currently pursuing a graduate degree in professional counseling from Walden University. Later in my career, I completed a career switcher program and hold a professional teacher’s license in Virginia and Delaware. Additionally, I am a certified hypnotherapist and Reiki master. I completed my coach certification at Coach Training Alliance, and I am committed to personal-growth and life-long learning.

Powerful Tips for Making Hard Decisions

Career & Business, Health & Wellness, Life Coach Library

Have you ever heard of analysis paralysis? It’s when one is so afraid of making the wrong choice that they overthink and overcomplicate something. They get stuck in limbo while the issue at hand seems to grow bigger and bigger. Some get stuck for hours, others for days or weeks!

But it doesn’t have to be that way! Below are some tips to make the process much quicker and far less mind boggling. Not every strategy will work for every situation but choose the ones that apply to you and see how much easier it is to get off the fence.

Give yourself time to think it through and get clear about what you really want

For small but important decisions, give yourself about 30 minutes to de-stress, and think through several options. For more epic decisions, it’s better to give yourself hours or even days to weight out the repercussions of your choices, and then the repercussions of them.

Research proves that stress can often destroy the ability to make great decisions. Being under pressure can kick in the fight or flight response and no one makes their best choices when they feel desperate. There isn’t enough time to think about the unintended consequences that should be factored in when making a choice.

Spend time thinking about what you really want, and why. A great strategy is to ask oneself what they want, and the what do you want as a result of that. There is no limit to how deep you can take this. Finding what is called the meta- outcome will reveal your deeper values and make coming to a decision easier. Sometimes there’s a much easier way to get to the ultimate desired outcome.

Think through your options. Are there other ways of reaching your goal?

Sometimes we do what we’ve always done simply because we’ve always done it that way. Deep down we know there is a better way, but we just don’t know what it is. When we slow down, we can see alternatives and compromises that we couldn’t in the heat of the moment. While doing something is better than doing nothing about 90% of the time, there are times when it is better to not take action at all. Consider what the outcomes will be if you do nothing at all.

Are you doing what you really WANT or what are you simply SUPPOSED TO?

Once you identify what you really want, listen to your inner “voice” and make sure you are doing what’s best for you! Sometimes we unconsciously try to please others, such as a boss, parent, or spouse, that we do something purely out of obligation. While well intentioned, making decisions based on someone else’s values is generally does not serve us.

Don’t be afraid to make a mistake

There is no such thing as a mistake if you learn from it. The fear of making a mistake can be crippling. Learning to appreciate mistakes will give you inspiration to try step out of your comfort zone and try new things.

  • Ask yourself” what is the worst-case scenario?”. Is anything ever really catastrophic? Who do you know who made mistakes before achieving success? What mistakes have you not only recovered from but thrived after?
  • Don’t attach to outcomes. Whatever you decide to do, have a playful attitude towards it. Have a sense of humor. There is an element of risk in anything we do to pursue success. Look to see how stumbling blocks spark change and growth.

Talk it through and if needed, ask for perspective

Sometimes we just need to talk-it-out with someone who is detached and will allow us the space to explore. Simply hearing ourselves “think out loud” often reveals the answers we seek. At the end of the day, the decision is yours but there are times when feedback is helpful. Just remember to be true to yourself and your values.

Wendy Cope
Recovery and Personal-Growth Coach www.healthytothecore.net

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