The feeling of anxiety and stress is no stranger to most of us. According to the American Psychological Association, 75% of adults reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress in the past month, and nearly half reported that their stress has increased in the past year. The physical and mental effects are profound; stress can lead to insomnia, weight gain, fatigue, high blood pressure, and depression, to name a few. Which is why more and more people are leveraging mindfulness and meditation to help calm their thoughts during times of panic.
Mindfulness, meditation, and visualization are scientifically proven ways to train your brain. Through breathing techniques and guided meditation, you can actually trigger your brain to turn off your sympathetic nervous system – better known as that “fight or flight” feeling – and turn on your parasympathetic nervous system – also known as the “rest and digest” feeling.
If you’re new to the practice of mindfulness and meditation, it can be hard to know where to start. You might not know what “it” is and if you’re doing “it” right. Plus, in the overstimulating world we live in, it’s hard to sit down and be still for 60-seconds, much less meditate for an hour.
So, let me break it down for you and give you the tools you need to get started today.
The Differences and Misconceptions of Mindfulness and Mediation
Meditation is the practice of resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is totally different from a normal waking state.
Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned practitioner, sitting down, focusing, and achieving a state of meditation can feel unachievable. It’s often hard to quiet your thoughts, but you don’t have to. Our own Jason Williams, a certified meditation coach, says “Meditation sometimes is about embracing your thoughts. It’s your mind and body’s way of distressing. So, you may need to allow those thoughts to be, for your mind to settle.”
Deepak Chopra clarifies the misconception that meditation is just not thinking, saying “Everyone thinks that the purpose of meditation is to handle stress, to tune out, to get away from it all. While that’s partially true, the real purpose of meditation is actually to tune in, not to get away from it all, to get in touch with it all. Not to just de-stress, but to find that peace within, the peace that spiritual traditions talk about that passes all understanding. So, meditation is a way to get in the space between your thoughts. You have a thought here, a thought here, and there’s little space between every thought.”
Mindfulness, on the other hand, is the ability to be fully present. Completely aware of where you are, what you are doing and what is happening around you. You aren’t obsessing over things that happened in the past or imagining what will happen in the future; you’re fully aware of your thoughts in the present moment. Often we get overwhelmed with thoughts, but it’s important to know one thing: What we believe and what we say to ourselves is registered all over our bodies. We become our thoughts, so it’s important to be mindful.
“The amount of time it takes to sit down and pause and breathe with intention can make all the difference, in your week, and in your life,” says Julie Reisler, Life Designer.
So why not get started right now?
Six amazing guided meditations
Check out six of BurnAlong’s most popular guided meditation videos that will leave you feeling calm, recharged, and totally blissed out in less than 15-minutes!
- Introduction to Meditation led by Jason Williams from Charm City PT is the perfect 12-minute guide for anyone new to meditation. Jason explains what meditation is and then walks you through a guided meditation.
- Short Energy Boost Meditation led by Julie Reisler from Julie Reisler, Life Designer is the perfect way to start your morning or reboot your day when you’re feeling tired, stressed, or overwhelmed.
- Meditation Series Part 1: Breath Work led by Jason Williams from Charm City PT is a great 10-minute guide to relaxation focusing on breathing. Jason walks you through controlled breathing techniques, which are key to meditation.
- Meditation Series Part 2: Mantra led by Jason Williams from Charm City PT will help you become more aware of the present moment in just 10 minutes. Jason shows how mantras, or affirmations, allow you to manifest what you want out of your meditation practice and your life.
- Meditation Series Part 3: Vision led by Jason Williams from Charm City PT is the perfect way to begin focusing on your own goals and intentions while remaining relaxed and mindful.
- Meditation Series Part 4: Love & Compassion led by Jason Williams from Charm City PT reminds you to love others, and most importantly, yourself. Give yourself the care and compassion you deserve in this 5-minute video.