Have you ever wondered how to meditate and why you should? What are the benefits of meditation? I have heard people say, “it’s just stress” countless times. In fact, I used to be one of those people. I would take physical ailments seriously, but stress? What was the big deal? Well, I have since learned the damaging effects of chronic stress, including:
- Digestive problems
- Heart disease
- Sleep problems
- Weight gain
- Memory and concentration impairment
As a recovering high-stress person, meditation is critical to my well-being. It is helping to rewire my brain and calm my anxious mind. My favourite place to do it is on my dock at the cottage so I can enjoy the silence of nature, hear the water hitting the rocks, and feel the lake breeze on my skin:
Do you meditate? Why or why not? If so, what are you best tips?
Benefits of Meditation
Understand the concept and personalize your approach. I highly recommend reading the following books to understand the benefits of meditation and to learn a variety of strategies to incorporate mindfulness into your life – at least one has got to stick: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Wherever You Go, There You Are, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, and Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers.
Find your meditation corner. Unfortunately, I’m only at the cottage on weekends, so I can’t always access my favourite place to meditate (and write!). When I’m at home in Toronto, I find a dark, quiet spot in my house, get in a comfortable posture on my yoga mat, and listen to a guided meditation.
Stick with it. It will take eight weeks of daily practice to rewire your brain and you might feel like “it’s not doing anything,” but I assure you that it is. If you consistently show up, you will eventually notice a difference.
Be kind to yourself. Meditation isn’t easy and it doesn’t happen overnight. Being mindful isn’t about never having distracting thoughts, but learning how to approach them. Think of sitting at the side of the highway and cars milling by – those are your thoughts. It’s okay that you’re having them, but the key is acknowledging them and then letting them drive by so you can get on with you day.
Use an app at first. There are countless apps available to help guide your meditations that are both free and available for a small fee. I personally use Insight Timer, but my recommendation is to download a bunch and see which one resonates with you!
James’ photography essentials
- James shoots with a fancy (and expensive) camera, but highly recommends the Canon Rebel as a great entry option
- A sturdy tripod and carrying case are crucial accessories
- If you’re often out and about on adventures like we are, you’ll also need a cleaning kit
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