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Welcome to Day 22! You’ve already made it through three weeks! Can you believe it? January is almost over! What was the biggest challenge for you? What was the biggest lesson you learned?
This week we are focusing on taking care of you. If you aren’t at your best by taking care of your mind and body then you won’t be able to do all the other things you should be doing to improve your life.
So let’s focus on you.
A few weeks ago I started trying meditation to help me sleep. Part of my sleep problems are from anxiety so when I read about meditation helping with sleep and anxiety.
I’m still a novice at meditation but so far I can tell that it is helping me relax and fall asleep easier. I’m hoping to discover more benefits as I get better at it. You probably could benefit from this as well.
The Benefits of Meditation
There are so many benefits to meditation. I already mentioned that it reduces anxiety and helps you fall asleep. Those are just two of the benefits though.
Here are some of the benefits you could get by meditating.
- It slows aging
- It improves mindfulness
- It makes you healthier
- It makes you happier
- It boosts your self-esteem
- It improves your awareness
- It lessens depression
- It improves your focus
- It increases optimism
- It increases memory retention
- It improves your decision-making
- It increases mental strength
- It improves your immune system
- It improves your heart rate
- Literally so much more!
So if you are looking for how to improve your health physically, mentally and emotionally then learning to mediate and making time for it can greatly improve your life in so many ways.
How to Meditate
Most first-time meditators find it strange to sit in silence, to sit with their innermost thoughts and feelings, to sit and do nothing — the very things that, funnily enough, the mind tends to resist.
To a beginner, meditation might initially feel a little weird, perhaps even daunting, but that’s okay. People have been meditating for around 3,000 years, and many have doubtless experienced the same reticence, trepidation, or wonder that first-time meditators often feel.
Here is how to begin meditating, in five steps.
- Find a comfortable position for your body. Many people sit in a chair, feet flat on the floor. Others prefer to sit cross-legged on the ground or on a cushion. Others prefer to lie flat. My preference is to lay down. What’s most important is that you feel comfortable and relaxed.
- Close your eyes. If closing your eyes feels uncomfortable for any reason, you may softly focus your gaze on something specific, instead. Maybe there’s a tree out the window or a pen on your desk …
- Breathe. There’s no need to control your breath at all. Just let it come in and go out as it does naturally.
- Pay attention to your breathing. Notice how it feels as you inhale, and then exhale. Notice how the in-breath changes to an out-breath. Notice the sensations throughout your body. What do you feel inside your nose, your throat, your chest? Notice the movement of your rib cage. (All this noticing is the meditation. You’re doing it!)
- Gently return your attention to your breath. Our brains are creative marvels. They produce so many thoughts per second. Your mind is a busy place. When you notice you’re following a trail of thought, simply return your attention to your breath. You may have to do this many times, and that’s entirely okay. It’s part of meditating.
Start out with a short time like 5 minutes and work your way up to longer sessions as you get better at it. It’s hard at first to be in silence and try to clear your mind for a while. So don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to do a long 20 minute session when you are just beginning.
If you find like me that your mind struggles to calm and empty during your meditation you can use an app to walk you through a guided meditation.
I also found this post on podcasts for meditating. I want to check them out when I have the chance.
Throughout this challenge, there will be many different worksheets and printables for you to use. I suggest you print them out and organize them together in a binder or folder so you can journal as you go You can find and follow me on Instagram where I will be sharing my journey for the challenge. Follow me there at @afreshstartonabudget. Tag me in any posts you make that goes along with this month of challenge posts.
Make Sure You check out tomorrow’s post. It will be about walking or moving more to improve your life and health.
Here is my schedule for what we will be working on in January.