Take yourself to a quiet room and find a comfortable cross-legged seat. Now, close your eyes and escape to the most serene place your thoughts can imagine – for us it’s relaxing on a sandy beach at sunset or practicing tree pose on a quiet mountaintop – and start to take a few deep inhalations and exhalations. Sounds relaxing, right?
While bad eating habits, lack of exercise and even environment play a role in our health issues the number one cause of illness is: stress. Studies show that chronic stress can be tied to an increase in poor eating habits, which then causes stress-induced weight gain. It starts with a brain-to-body connection in result from conscious or even subconscious thoughts of fear and worry – you have to pay all the bills, cook dinner and finish your last minute work presentation. We get it; it’s hard to get a breath in let alone a healthy juice! So, how can you calm the mind before stress reaches the body? Practice a daily meditation.
Get quiet. Go somewhere free from distractions and find a comfortable seat on a cushion or a chair resting your palms face down on each thigh. You can either keep your eyes closed or gaze down and slightly forward. Then, sit silently. Every time your thoughts start to carry you away to dinner plans or calendar schedules, take a moment to come back to the breath. The challenge is to replace thoughts of worry with several breaths of divine presence. This is where you begin to decrease stress levels in the brain and tension held in the body.
Visualize yourself where you want to be (lifestyle, body and health)! Visualization is a key tool in mediation and the perfect opportunity to focus on the kind of lifestyle you desire. Hold this picture as you breathe through your mediation. Creating positive images shifts your brain chemistry and quickly diminishes negative thought patterns.
Practice often. Similar to your workout routines, the brain is a muscle that needs to be trained into stress-free thinking. A daily mediation practice for just 5-10 minutes will help create change. Change becomes conscious recognition of reaching for unhealthy foods vs. healthy alternatives. Notice what you’re craving (chocolate superfood, anyone?) and when you’re craving something. Reaching for sweets after a job interview? Craving pizza before a big test? Becoming more aware of your habits is essential to living a healthier life.
Have fun with it! Most people tend to take mediation too seriously. Think of it as a few minutes for yourself to check-in with your body. Meditating first thing in the morning or just before bed tends to be most effective, but there really are no rules. You can start by taking just a few minutes to find your breath between meetings, errands and deadlines. If you find that you need a little inspiration, or simply need help getting started, put on some headphones and visit this link. Letting go of stress helps cleanse any anxiety you may be holding onto so you can begin to purify and restore your mind, body and lifestyle.