I started practicing meditation about 4 years ago. Since that time, I have quit smoking, took an immense chance on love, moved to another country, finished college, started this business, let go of a tremendous amount of physical things I once thought were so important, freed myself from the daily pain of loss, rejection and betrayal, and left behind an enormous amount of loving family and friends I hold dear on this journey in love, business, and trying to change my corner of the world. There is no way I could've accomplished, managed, and handled all of this if it weren't for meditation. I'm not sure I could've done even one of those things.
This journey has been heart-wrenching, mentally taxing, and physically beyond limits. As someone who regularly exercised and has little time for such things right now, meditation is the way I stay focused on my goals, health, priorities, and the task at hand. It's what keeps me grounded, balanced, and filled with love in even the darkest of times. And it's what pushes me even higher during times I could be resting on laurels. It is what enables me to put my heart, soul, mind, sweat, and tears completely into this life, completely fearlessly. Well, to a point anyway. :)
First things first: you can't just meditate once and expect results. I had tried meditating on sporadic occasions before, but to really see any results you need to be consistent and disciplined. Research has shown that the best approach is approximately 20 minutes daily to see results within two months. And you will need to maintain a regular schedule after that point to continue to maintain and develop more benefits, such as increasing the size of your brain. I personally shoot for 20 minutes of meditation, 4 days a week at this point, because my brain could always use more help :D But if I'm feeling particularly stressed, worried, or otherwise challenged, I try to add in an extra meditation session, no matter how small.
Also, you have to meditate at the right time of day. Meditating right before bedtime should be avoided, as it doesn't really exercise or train the brain the same way. This was my problem at first, as I would often fall asleep when trying to meditate. If falling asleep is an issue for you when starting out, you may want to start with walking meditation, because simply closing your eyes for 20 minutes while staying awake does take practice, no matter what time of day you choose.
As far as other meditation types, there's technically 23 types of meditation. I personally prefer visualization or guided meditation and it's what is usually suggested for newcomers to meditation. Meditainment is what I mostly work with now, simply because the guided imagery really helps keep me awake on days I'm feeling especially tired or drained. Benefits of visualization meditation include improved focus, goal achievement, and boosts to health and mood, although meditation in itself provides an astounding 76 scientifically proven benefits.
So as you head into the new year and set your goals and intentions for breaking habits or making new ones, I highly recommend you start with a daily meditation ritual. Give it time, make it a practice, and you may be surprised to see just how far out of your comfort zone, reach, and dreams you can go. And we've included a few here to help get you started!
1. A guided meditation to balance all of your chakras:
2. A 7 day guided meditation to balance each of your chakras:
3. A guided visualization meditation:
4. A visualization meditation for problem solving:
5. A guided meditation for peace:
6. A binaural beats guided meditation:
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