Are You Mentally Fit? How to Start Your Own Meditation Practice!

Uncategorized May 21, 2019

Many people understand the importance of having a fit and strong body for overall well being and health.

They can even see the correlation between having a fit body and being more productive at work, better able to focus, and being a better leader. 

It is even commonly known how much a difference having a healthy and fit body can have on mental and emotional health.

But what about mental fitness?

So many leaders I know prioritize their physical health but do nothing for their mental health. 

They can get stuck in "survival mode" which impacts everything they touch by imbuing it with a sense of anxiety and rushing. 

But I believe all leaders and all people everywhere can find a place in their lives where they are in "thrive mode" where their impact and influence in their lives has a sense of possibility, creativity, inspiration and fun!

And the best way I've found in my 20+ years of leadership and management has been by focusing on building your mental fitness through having both a physical fitness routine but also a meditation practice that helps to have a mentally fit life as well!

But before I get into how to start or refresh your own meditation practice, I'd like to share a bit about my background and what brought meditation into my own life... 

 

 

Why I started Meditating?

First, I'd love to share some of my own journey and why I started meditating. As well as why I began teaching it to others. 

I started meditating in 2006 when I was completely stressed out and was having difficulty sleeping, had a stomach ulcer and couldn't stop biting my nails. I had also recently injured my back so was coping with that. Plus I was acting as a care-giver for someone else in my family. 

And that left me completely burnt out, running on empty and my body was trying to get my attention. 

So I figured it was time to do something different. 

And I found a transcendental meditation pdf guide online and started meditating for 10 minutes a day. Just sitting in silence with me and my thoughts, in a quiet room after dinner in the evenings. Simple. 

It was incredible!

Not only did I feel more relaxed after each session, within a couple of weeks I found my overall stress was lower, my body felt more relaxed and I was able to fall asleep more easily. 

After a few weeks, I was able to stop biting my nails. 

Then from there, my mental health and emotional state improved exponentially! 

I continued with my meditation practice and started meditating for longer. At some points I meditated in the mornings as soon as I got up and before breakfast. Other days I meditated in my car (not while driving... but while it was parked) and continued to see the benefit it had on my stress management and overall well being. 

From all the personal experiences and shifts I saw in my life, I started to research the science behind meditation, the psychology of it and all the incredible benefits and changes it can have on the mind, brain, body, heart and soul. 

Then in 2012, I was asked if I would teach meditation at my accupuncturist's studio and I gladly accepted because of the life-changing benefits I found meditation had on my own life. 

Since then, I have taught hundreds of people to meditate. From the youngest age of 7 to the oldest was a gentleman in his 70's!

I've taught both in the community at a weekly class for many years, plus in numerous professional settings where I taught meditation to executives, leaders, care-givers and administrators. 

Since then I've been dedicated to sharing the amazing benefits of meditation with others across the globe!

And what I've seen is people finding something they didn't know they were missing. 

  • A moment of mental peace and quiet. 
  • A time to reconnect to their intuition, heart & soul.
  • A feeling of connection to themselves and sometimes something bigger. 

Plus being mentally "fit" can help increase your productivity, creativity and ability to focus at work, improve your relationships by being able to be more present, plus numerous health and brain benefits!

So whether or not you've ever meditated before... today, I encourage you to just try it.

To sit for 5 minutes in silence or following a guided mediation and see how it feels.

Notice what comes up and play with it. 

There's no right or wrong way to meditate. 

In this free Simply Mindful Starter Kit PDF Guide and email course I created recently, I'll share some tips and techniques that I've found helpful over the years to help you get started but I encourage you to find what works best for you. 

Okay, let's get started shall we??

What do you need to start a meditation practice?

You don't need much at all, just:

  1. Somewhere quiet to sit or lay down. 
  2. A timer
  3. A few minutes to try it out
  4. An open, curious mind 

 

Where to meditate?

This doesn't have to be a special meditation room like you might have seen on Pintrest or a special dedicated spot although they sure are nice to have.

Most of the time I just meditate in my living room on the couch. :p 

Or you could meditate in bed after you wake up but before you get out of bed for the day. This is especially nice on cold winter mornings! 

Or you could meditate outside... one of my favourite places to meditate is on a beach overlooking the ocean, with the waves and open sky. It's beautiful!

Meditating at the end of a yoga session can be lovely though I often find that the few minutes aren't enough.

I also enjoy meditating before bed, though this can end up being short if you fall asleep. Falling asleep during mediation can be pleasant but you may not get all the benefits compared to doing a full session during waking hours. 

So I recommend you just start sitting in your chair or couch.

You can try sitting or laying on the floor, on your bed or yoga mat. Whatever feels good for you.

For maximum comfort, wear comfortable clothes and you may want a blanket to cover you to stay comfortable and able to relax. 

 

What position is best?

This doesn't really matter as long as it's a position you can be comfortable in for the duration of your meditation session.

90% of the time, I sit cross-legged on my couch with a blanket over my legs and sometimes a pillow behind my back.

Ideally, you'll have a straight, yet relaxed spine. 

I've heard it described as sitting like a mountain. Poised and upright, while also being grounded and still. 

Or you could try sitting upright in a chair or laying down maybe with a blanket under your knees, as long as your spine is able to be neutral and relax. 

 

How long to meditate?

I recommend starting for 5-10 minutes.

It's long enough to try it out without being so long that it's a disruption for your day.

Plus, the shorter it is, the easier it will be to do it daily because the consistency is where the most impact comes in! 

Then over time, you can gradually extend the duration until about 20 minutes in a session. This seems to be the "sweet spot" for physical, mental and emotional unwinding. 

Or you can meditate for longer if you feel like it and have the time. 

Occasionally, I have done two 20 minute sessions back to back because the first one wasn't long enough but that's an exception.

Normally, I like to do a 20 minute session and then get going with the rest of my day!

 

Free Guided Meditation & Email Course

If you'd like to try meditating yourself... I'd love to share my gift of a guided meditation, you can get a free one as part of my Simply Mindful Starter Kit Email Course which is just 5 minutes long that focuses on the breath. 

Download your free PDF guide and register for the email course here

 

Conclusion:

So we've talked about what you need to start your meditation practice, where to do it, what position to meditate in and for how long to start. 

Just find some time today to sit for 5-10 minutes and see how it goes! 

Plus I shared a free guided meditation for you to try out as part of my Simply Mindful Starter Kit Email Course. 

 

If you'd like some accountability and reminders to keep meditating, just sign up for the Simply Mindful Email Course and you'll get daily emails with tools, tips, inspiration and how-to's to help you establish your meditation practice and new mindful life! 

Happy meditating,

Sarah

 

PS - If you'd like more guided meditations than the one in my free Meditation Starter Kit, I have an online course that includes 5 guided meditations, workbooks and video training to help you establish your meditation practice.

The full Simply Mindful Intro to Meditation course uses transformational habit-change techniques and more advanced meditation approaches to not only start but continue to deepen your practice over time! 

Check out the full Simply Mindful Intro to Meditation Online Course

 

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