When’s the last time your mind felt at ease?
If it’s been a while, you’re not alone.
For a majority of people, their minds are rarely—if ever—calm and quiet.
And it’s no wonder. We’re in the midst of a pandemic and a time of social and cultural change, in a monumental election year. Combine all of that with the distractions social media, 24-hour news cycles, and all of our modern-day devices provide.
Just reading about it is enough to start your thoughts racing.
That’s why, today, I want to teach you a powerful, all-natural technique that can help you clear your mind and feel at peace. And the best part is, you’ll gain some important whole-body benefits in the process!
Mind-body practices on the rise
Over the past few years, more and more people have been turning to calming mind-body practices like yoga and meditation. Since 2012, the number of Americans who practice yoga has increased nearly 5 percent and those who meditate has more than tripled.
In fact, these two ancient practices are by far the most popular alternative health approaches in the U.S.—with reportedly 35 million American adults practicing them regularly.
Not surprisingly, there’s also been a rapid explosion of subscription-based apps capitalizing on these health trends.
And while these services can be useful, the membership costs can really add up.
That’s why I’m going to teach you a simple, cost-free way to calm your mind whenever, wherever.
But first, let’s explore the truly remarkable health benefits meditation can offer.
Major whole-body benefits of meditation
Over the past decade, dozens of studies have been published showing the benefits of meditation on numerous aspects of health.
For one, meditation has been shown to significantly improve heart health markers.
In a study published earlier this year in the American Journal of Cardiology, researchers analyzed health records of nearly 61,000 military veterans.
The researchers found that compared to those who didn’t meditate, those who meditated had significantly lower instances of many of the risk factors that lead to heart disease, including:
Meditation practices have also been shown to offer significant brain protection—particularly from the ravages of dementia.
In a 2016 study, Alzheimer’s patients engaged in one of the following interventions: mindfulness meditation, cognitive stimulation therapy, relaxation training, or no treatment.
After a series of cognitive tests both at the beginning and end of the study, researchers found that of all the groups, those in the mindfulness meditation group had the most improved scores.
Meditation has also been found to benefit mental health.
In a 2015 meta-analysis of 47 trials including over 3,000 subjects, researchers found that mindfulness meditation helped effectively lower stress, anxiety, depression, and pain.
Given its wide range of potential health benefits—and the fact that meditation won’t cost you a thing—it’s worth taking a few moments to check it out for yourself.
Prepare your mind to meditate
The key to meditation is taking the time to prepare your mind beforehand.
One of the most commonly reported frustrations (sometimes even for long-time meditators) is that people have trouble “turning their mind off.”
Sitting down after a hectic day, closing your eyes, and hoping to find deep relaxation typically isn’t all that effective.
In my opinion, quick, mental preparation can make all the difference in getting you in the proper headspace.
Here are a few of my favorite strategies I use to prepare myself for meditation. Feel free to use them before meditation or throughout your session.
Remember, it’s important to take time for yourself, slow down, and clear your head on a regular basis. Especially in times like these when stress and anxiety is high.
Not only will you immediately feel better, but the more you practice, the more resilient you’ll be to stress and illness.
Feel free to share this message with anyone you think might need it.
Be well, Jim
P.S. Are you on Instagram? If so, follow me there for tips, music and healing quotes and the occasional surprise livestream mini workshop!
Barclay, E., and Bulluz, J. (2019). The growth of yoga and meditation in the US since 2012 is remarkable. Vox. Retrieved from: vox.com/2018/11/8/18073422/yoga-meditation-apps-health-anxiety-cdc
Goyal, M. (2015). Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-Being: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Internal Medicine. 174(3): pp. 357 – 368. Retrieved from: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4142584/
Krittanawong, C. et al. (2020.) Meditation and Cardiovascular Health in the US. The American Journal of Cardiology. Retrieved from: ajconline.org/article/S0002-9149(20)30620-2/fulltext
Quintana-Hernández, D. et al. (2015). Mindfulness in the Maintenance of Cognitive Capacities in Alzheimer’s Disease: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Journal of Alzheimer’s disease. 50(1). Retrieved from: researchgate.net/publication/286219502_Mindfulness_in_the_Maintenance_of_Cognitive_Capacities_in_Alzheimer’s_Disease_A_Randomized_Clinical_Trial
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