20 Minutes a Day to Change Your Life
The evidence is clear: a consistent meditation practice has immense mental and physical health benefits. If you knew that 20 minutes a day of something could transform multiple aspects of your life, would it seem worth it? I think so!
In my therapy practice in Old Saybrook, as well as with my video clients in other states, I've been incorporating meditation as part of their journey of growth and increased self-awareness. The results have been stunning. I'm so excited to share this with you today so that, like some of my clients, you can begin the awesome work of getting truly present and centered in your own life.
In this blog post I'm going to share the proven benefits of meditation, and provide you with some seriously impactful resources so you can get started today.
1. Reduced Stress: meditation helps shift stress levels in the body, to not only reduce them overall, but also helps you clear stressful feelings in the mind to better manage stresses of everyday life.
2. Anxiety Control: Like its stress reducing effects, meditation helps those who practice it to get on top of anxieties and anxious behaviors.
3. Improved Emotional Health: reduces depression and improves outlook on life in the present and for the long-term.
4. Builds Self-Awareness: when I work with clients I start with raising self-awareness as the foundation of everything else. Self-awareness is the first step to changing your emotional and behavioral health. Meditation creates a space for knowing yourself, which paves the way for improving everything else.
5. Increased Attention-Span: a meditation practice strengthens your ability to redirect and maintain your attention.
6. May Reduce Age-Related Memory Loss: the improved focus and attention built through meditation suggests that memory decline and dementia might be kept at bay.
7. Generates Kindness: I love the Loving Kindness meditations that are available. They increase your compassion, empathy, and positivity for others.
8. May Help Fight Addictions: the mental strength and improved willpower that develops through meditation help strengthen the ability to recover from addictions and other unwanted repetitive behaviors.
9. Improved Sleep: sleep meditations have changed my life! These simple body scans before bed calm your mind, quiet stressful thoughts, and ground your body, relaxing you for a deep and restful sleep. I can personally say I've never slept better in my life since making meditation a nightly pre-bed practice.
10. Improved Pain Control: meditation can help to diminish the perception of pain in the brain.
11. Decreased Blood Pressure: By reducing the "fight or flight" response that helps stress stay in the body, meditation improves blood pressure, which paves the way for a healthier arteries and heart.
12. Portability: You Can Meditate Anywhere! Unlike a location-specific gym membership, or other wellness activities that are confined by time and location, meditation only requires your brain. You can meditate on the subway, in your car, in bed, in the shower.... you get the idea. It's life-changing wellness to go!
My Top Resources:
Headspace: Touted as "Your guide to health and happiness," Headspace has brought mindfulness and meditation to millions of people around the world. What I love about the Headspace App is that it's a modern approach to an ancient practice. The skills it introduces to you will be applicable in so many areas of your daily life. You'll pick up on new ways to handle emotional and mental challenges with the tips and insight from Headspace. With the app on your phone, you can use Headspace anywhere and everywhere.
UCLA Mindful Awareness Resource Center: I adore these UCLA Free Guided Meditations. I use them nightly, choosing one meditation that fits my need for the day, then always finishing with the Body Scan for Sleep. As needed, I focus on my breath when I find my head filling with worries or thoughts when meditation is over and I'm ready to get to sleep.
* Start at wake up: it's a wonderful way to start the day with peace and clarity.
* In the shower: sometimes this is the only private time you've got! Use your shower time to breathe, set an intention for the day, and refresh with mindfulness.
* Bedtime: this is my only private time in the day, and I find that it relaxes me and clears my head in all the ways I really need after a busy day full of information and stressors I'd normally let fill my head during the pre-sleep time. I sit on my bed in a relaxed position for my first meditation, then lie down comfy under the covers for my body scan for sleep.
Start with a 3 minute meditation, or whichever meditation calls to you, then work your way up. With all the benefits of meditation, it's truly possible to start changing your life from the inside out in just minutes a day. The reason I say "20 minutes a day to change your life" is that most of the research on the changes that occur in your brain due to meditation have been done on subjects meditating for 20 minutes or more. However, starting with just a few minutes a day will begin to change your life, because it will grow and build from there. As you feel the slight shifts within you, you'll find yourself drawn to expanding this practice in other ways.
Most of us spend our day looking for fixes from the outside world that will help make things easier and better for us. But what's missing is the deep connection to what's already inside of us. Only in the stillness and silence of our bodies and minds can we begin the most important and effective work of all. It is work that will serve you life-long. Don't ever forget that real healing, grace, and peace is already within you, waiting to be visited and fully known. Meditation opens that door. Are you ready to step inside?
Lauren L. Drago, MSEd, LMHC, LPC is a women's therapist and counselor, providing individual counseling in Old Saybrook, CT and online in greater CT, NY & PA. She specializes in working with smart, insightful and capable women to overcome stress, anxiety, loss of identity, self-limiting beliefs, perfectionism, marriage strain, and the pressure of "trying to do it all." Lauren has a passion for helping others to achieve the happy, fulfilling, productive, and meaningful life they deserve. She believes that every woman can and should live out her personal definition of her own best life. Call (860) 339-6515 to schedule your free initial consultation.