Make Daily Meditation Your New Year's Resolution
Adding meditation to your self-care regimen is helpful to your health.
Posted Jan 13, 2020
If you are like me, the holidays can be a little frantic and hectic. Before Christmas, there is planning, shopping, cooking, wrapping, scheduling, lots of parties and events—all of this is on top of my usual work and home demands. Then, when Christmas arrives, more cooking, traveling, and family time.
While all of this is a combination of fun and stressful, it can leave me a little exhausted afterward. Quite often, the seasonal demands can lead to my neglecting basic self-care. As a result, some of my best New Year’s resolutions are to get back to routines of diet, exercise, and, perhaps most importantly, meditation.
If you haven’t jumped into the trend of meditation, consider making this the year to try it. Meditation can seem deceptively simple and a little awkward initially. At one time, I was teaching a friend to meditate using a simple exercise of focusing entirely on a raisin. I asked her to notice the contours, the smell, the variations in the color. At that point, she popped the raisin in her mouth, swallowed it, and said, “Now what are we going to do?” So much for that particular meditation on a raisin.
Initially, meditation can definitely seem strange. Most of us spend our waking hours with a constant stream of thoughts running through our heads. We are planning, reflecting, imagining, dreading, analyzing—sometimes most of these things all at once. Much of the time, this internal conversation is skewed toward the negative and can leave us feeling exhausted.
Meditation is a method for slowing this constant internal dialogue and giving your brain a break. In its simplistic form, you focus all of your attention on your breath, noticing all of the sensations, the temperature of the air, and the sensations in your body. Most of the time, meditation goes like this: I’m sitting in a comfortable position. I close my eyes, turn my focus to my breathing, in my nose, out my mouth. I feel the cool air as I’m breathing in, feel my body relax.
Then, I think about how good this feels and how important this is, which leads me to think about what else I should be doing. I start making a mental list, and then I chastise myself for not staying on top of all of these things. I notice that my mind has completely wandered, so I bring my focus back to my breath—in through my nose, out through my mouth.
I notice the sensations in my body. In 10 meditation sessions, I have to pull my mind back from wandering several times. That is OK because the benefits are still there. Over time, I find I’ve become better at meditation and can focus for longer periods of time.
There are many reasons to take up meditation, and there is great evidence for its health benefits. Meditation can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, manage anxiety levels, improve attention span, improve memory, help fight addictions, improve sleep, and help control pain levels.
While there is no long-term need for tools and apps to practice meditation, some tools can help when you are getting started, or when you are working on particular issues. TAO Connect, Inc. has a whole library of meditation tools for learning to meditate and for common issues, such as pain management, improving sleep, body acceptance, anxiety, depression, anger management, and many others.
This year, think about adding 5-10 minutes per day of meditation to your self-care regimen. It may be one of the best things you can do for yourself.