by Mahalia Freed, ND
It took me years of resisting and suffering to develop and sustain a regular meditation practice. I share my tips and lessons in this article, Confessions of a Reluctant Meditator, or Tips for Fitting Meditation into Your Life.
If you are the kind of person who likes to know the why of things, here is a very brief summary of why meditating will be beneficial for you, too:
As a naturopathic doctor I am well-versed in the evidence and clinical applications for meditation. It is amazing how effective various kinds of meditation can be. An unsophisticated PubMed search on the term “meditation” yields 2, 215 studies. Depression? Meditation may be as effective as medication. Cancer? Meditation improves mood, sleep, immune system, quality of life. Stress? Meditate to lower blood pressure. Heart disease? Yup. Meditation helps. Indeed, mindfulness-based stress reduction for heart disease, chronic pain and many other conditions is taught at hospitals and in private practices across North America based on the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD.
Even more compellingly, my clients are a fantastic and inspiring bunch. They tell me that meditation practice helps them manage anxiety, gives them energy when their work involves long hours and traveling, keeps them happier, helps them connect more with their friends and family. So not only do I know about the benefits from reading the studies, I know about it from clinical practice.
The bullet points:
- It feels good.
- It is free.
- It can help restore emotional clarity and balance, making you feel better if you are stressed or sad.
- It can energize you when you feel tired (though it’s not a substitute for quality sleep, you type A’s out there!).
- It can help you tap your inner wisdom when you feel uncertain about a decision.
- It can reclaim stillness from the frenzied pace of modern day life, readjusting the skewed balance between being and doing.
- It can reconnect you with your intuition and creativity.
- It will give you unexpected gifts (for me this has included concrete reassurance when things felt dire, and recently, the name of a remedy I hadn’t consciously heard of that was the perfect fit for someone in my care with a complex clinical case).
- It doesn’t have to be hard.
Want some tips to help you find a way to integrate meditation into your full life? Get started here. And please share what works and doesn’t for you!