Luxe + Hardy ambassador, Natalia Bojanic, mindfulness teacher and founder of Sexy Mind App, shares her thoughts and advice for those who believe they can’t meditate. If you fall into this category, hopefully her words of wisdom will break down the barriers you have surrounding meditation.
As a Mindfulness Teacher, one of the most common questions that I get asked most frequently is “Why Should I Meditate?”
In a nut-shell, what I’ve come to learn to be the most valuable benefit of meditation is that it gives a deeper understanding about who we are. You should definitely understand the mental and physical benefits of meditation in order to motivate your practice.
We live a life where we know more about food, fashion, and many other topics than we know about ourselves.
If you wish to seek knowledge on the nature of the mind, all you have to do is to use yourself as your own laboratory and start watching your thoughts and sit with whatever it is there.
Other comments I hear all the time is “I can’t meditate, my mind is too busy”. The vast majority of people believe that they are uniquely unsuited to contemplative practices. Are you with me? So here are top tips to support your mental training:
Accept that you were born a meditator
The ability to quiet down the voices in our heads is literally imprinted in our nervous system. The same way you know how to naturally fall asleep, dream and how to remain awake you have the skills to access deeper layers of the mind and move away from the noisy surface. We just need guidance and methods to remind us how to get back to that quiet state. We have lost that ability since we live in a society that does not encourage or support this. Hopefully, though, this is changing.
Acknowledge when you are in the zone
You don’t necessarily need to be seated with your legs folded like a pretzel to cultivate stillness. When asked how often he meditates, the Dalai Lama said 24hs a day.
There is the huge misconception around meditation that makes people think that the aim of meditation is to prevent thoughts coming into the mind. Jon Kabat-Zinn, AKA the father of Mindfulness in Western society, teaches us that asking your brain to stop thinking is like asking your heart to stop beating because you don’t like the sound of it.
All we can all do is to notice moments when our mind is fully present and you are not wrapped around and carried away by sticky thoughts. Sometimes that can be when you are running, playing with your children or even making love.
Find a style that suits you
In addition, to finding moments in the day when your attention is focused and the mind is not flickering, it is important to take time for a dedicated practice of mental training. You can start with 3 minutes a day and increase to 5, 10, 15 until you reach 20 minutes and ideally twice a day. Like exercising, there are different modalities of contemplative practices. You can use your body, your breath or your thoughts as the object of meditation.
There are different teachers, apps sharing valuable knowledge and powerful techniques. All you need to do is to have an open and curious mind. Try and test for yourself, do not give up until you find a way to settle in stillness.
Below are a few resources of information that are all worth giving a read if you’re unsure about meditation or simply want to learn more about its benefits.
- Meditation helps to regulate moods and anxiety disorders. Learn more here
- Meditation reduces stress according to The American Journal of Psychiatry
- Meditation improves the ability of decision making according to UCLA scientists
- Meditation makes your stronger against pain. Evidence here
- Meditation fosters creativity. Want to know how?
- Meditation reduces the likelihood of depression. Check out this study
- Meditation reduces the risk of heart disease according to the American Heart Association
- Meditation may make you live for longer. Read it before its too late!
Studies on Meditation are new and the honest truth is that most of them are not rigorous enough and have been set up to sell Mindfulness. In case you are interested in learning more, I recommend the book “The Science of Meditation” by Harvard collaborators Daniel Goleman and Richard J. Davidson where they have compelled cutting-edge research and one-of-a-kind data pool. It is important that you understand that different practices result in different outcomes.