Meditation has been around for centuries, but recently it seems to be more common than ever. It is no secret that life can be stressful, and with all the different ways people can deal with stress, meditation has been heralded as a universal remedy. In fact, according to researchers at Harvard University, meditation can literally rebuild grey matter in our brains in just eight weeks. So let’s dig a little deeper!
What is meditation? Meditation is the practice of focusing on the present moment to increase a sense of calmness. It involves focusing on just one thing: usually the breath, bodily sensations, or on a word or phrase.
Do I have to be able to clear my mind in order to meditate? This is a huge misconception about meditation! It’s next to impossible to have an empty mind! Instead, simply allow your thoughts to come and go as they please, but always redirect your thoughts to the present moment. That big presentation at work bogging down your mind? Let the thought enter your brain and then think about what’s happening all around you in the moment: the sounds you hear, your breath, etc. It isn’t easy at first, but the more you practice, the more you will be able to stay in the moment.
How long do I have to meditate for it to be effective? Meditation is about consistency, not about time. Build up from two minutes to five, and then five minutes to ten. Set small goals to make sure it becomes a habit. Then, before you know it, you will be doing it daily!
How can I incorporate meditation into my life? If you want a brick-and-mortar spot, we recommend Chill Chicago. This modern meditation studio is all about the basics: no incense, chakras, or gurus. They offer chair massages, complimentary tea, optional yoga to supplement their meditation classes, and an incredibly tranquil environment. If you want to try it at home, we recommend Headspace, an app for your smartphone you can access anywhere. We’re currently working through their ten-minute-a-day program and are loving it.
What is holding you back from meditation?