If someone had told me as a kid that one day I’d find tremendous value in stillness, I probably would’ve sat there awaiting the punchline for 1/8 of a millisecond before leaping into the air to sprint spasmodically around the neighborhood at the mere thought of sitting still-age. While I’ve learned to embrace mindfulness since then, I couldn’t read more than a few sentences sitting still until earlier this year. (Dear Elliptical Machine: Thanks for keeping me literate!)
Everything changed when I began to explore meditation. Like much growth in my adult life, I credit my introduction to my bulldog Zoe, with whom I shared incredibly slow walks during her final months of life. Focusing on my breath and her presence, I learned to savor each moment, letting my thoughts drift to near nothingness.
Then without really trying, I began seeking stillness throughout each day. More recently, I’ve begun to meditate sitting or lying still, focusing on my breath, imagery or mantras. And guess what: it’s not boring! On the contrary, it’s a practice I’ve grown to look forward to, and that attracts exciting growth and change. It doesn’t always go as smoothly or simply as I’d like—sometimes it’s flat-out tough—but it always helps. I’ve been sleeping better, working with greater clarity, finding more joy in daily life and even reading pretty well at home.
Meditation may not sound sexy, but it so is. Here are just some of the awesome benefits.
You can meditate your way to…
…improved body image and food attitudes. Poor body image and food or dieting fixation detract from health and happiness in myriad ways by increasing stress, disrupting relationships and, if you eat a restrictive diet, lead to nutrient deficiencies, mood swings, weight gain and more. Research shows that adding mindfulness practice into your daily life can help improve these issues, reducing instances of emotional eating, food cravings and negative body- and food- related thoughts.
…a healthier, happier sex life! Meditation is great way to de-clutter your brain, improve sleep and lower stress, which are PRIMO forms of foreplay. Or foreplay-foreplay—i.e., making foreplay more enticing, feasible and pleasurable. These attributes are important because stress and sleep loss are leading libido tankers for all genders. Meditation can also improve sex hormone levels and set the stage for more powerful orgasms. If you’re really into the sexy perks of meditation, you can pair the two by practicing orgasm meditation.
…improved physical and emotional health. Meditation may be the most studied and proven means of natural health care, both as preventative medicine and as treatment, of all time. And while it shouldn’t replace doctor-recommended care without his or her approval, research has shown benefits for managing anxiety disorders, insomnia, chronic pain, depression, cancer, high blood pressure, asthma and heart disease, reports the Mayo Clinic.
…increased awareness. Little allows us to move forward, live fully, cultivate our passions or appreciate life as powerfully as self-awareness, in my opinion. Life is too precious to not do all we can to honor it. Don’t you think? That was a huge motivator for me to dig deeper.
If you’d like to learn more about meditation, sign up for Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s 21-Day Meditation Challenge, starting November 3rd. It’s FREE and convenient; you simply sign up then listen to daily meditations online. I’ve signed up and would love it you’d join me!
**Special thanks to KM Huber, Rob Riley, Scott McAllister and others who’ve encouraged me to embrace meditation. You absolutely rock.**
Do you meditate? What do you love most about it? Or find most challenging? Will you be joining the 21-Day Challenge? I love hearing from you. ♥