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Meditation & the Minds' Weather Report

How often do you check in on the weather of your mind?

There’s a lot of talk about meditation these days, but if you lead a busy life it’s likely you feel resistance to adding yet another thing to your to-do list.

You may have heard a colleague, friend, or family member talk about the benefits. CEOs and celebrities are often quoted saying how it helped them. Some companies even have meditation rooms in their offices for employees to utilize if needed.

Maybe you’ve never tried meditation, find it intimidating, or have tried it but are skeptical about whether it adds value to your life. Rest assured, there are heaps of scientific data on the benefits of meditation for a variety of health conditions and for coping with psychological distress.

In a comprehensive review of the benefits of meditation, the National Institute of Health’s summary included findings like the following:*

  • Meditation may reduce blood pressure as well as symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and flare-ups in people who have had ulcerative colitis.

  • Meditation may slow, stall, or even reverse changes that take place in the brain due to normal aging.

  • Better outcomes for symptoms of anxiety were observed in the meditation groups compared to control groups.

There are many forms of meditation. With clients, I’ve noticed the key to success is to help them identify their emotional patterns and choose a form of meditation that’s complimentary.

For a decade I meditated frequently off and on, but not every day. There were days when life felt too busy to make time for it. One day I was challenged to do 40-days of meditation without compromise. In that scenario, the meditation was a particular breathing pattern matched with a mantra. I allowed myself the freedom to practice for 3 minutes, at any time of the day, although I noticed that it was most beneficial for me to meditate first thing in the morning. Even though I already ate healthily and exercised, this consistent meditation practice was a game-changer.

So why did daily meditation stick? Two reasons:

1) The particular breathing technique I used powerfully decreased my stress levels in less than 10 minutes.

2) In a world where we’re so data-driven, the gold ended up being in the insight we can gain when observing our minds in a systematic way. It’s like getting a daily weather report of our mind!

What do I mean by a weather report? Regular meditation practice allows us to check into the “weather conditions” of our mind and our thoughts every day. For instance, is the mind:

  • Stormy (angry, judgmental, critical)?

  • Sunny (joyful, appreciative, present)?

  • Cloudy with rain showers (sad, thoughts focused on past events)?

  • Windy (fearful or anxious, thoughts focused on planning or future events)?

When we’re able to observe our mental chatter regularly, we can notice patterns or changes in our thoughts. When we don’t check in on the weather of our mind, we can operate on autopilot, allowing thoughts or emotions from the day before to bleed into the current day. We miss out on that insight and the ability to proactively address potential concerns, emotions, or thoughts.

None of the “stormy emotions” are bad; they are all valid and hold a message for us to hear and address. We talk more about this in our Emotional Fluency Workshops. With the awareness a regular meditation practice brings, we’re no longer captive to the emotions or thoughts running in the background of our mind. We can acknowledge why that thought or concern might be present and use Emotional Fluency to process and take Aligned Action as necessary.

This is just one powerful aspect of mindfulness that you may have heard about: we’re able to act more consciously instead of reacting. So we can make better decisions and say things we don’t regret a lot more often!

When we live busy lives, it’s so important to feel like anything we add is efficient and worthwhile. Remember, if you meditate with the intention to check that off your list (I used to do this) then it doesn't rejuvenate like it does if you bring a curious mindset, like you're walking through the park of your mind. If you’re curious and you’d like to start meditating but don’t know where to start, purchase a Five to Align journal and gain free access to a powerfully effective 11 minute guided mind-body meditation. There are also great tips within the journal to help find what mindfulness practice is aligned for you: one that can bring more calm and restful sleep.

Starting a new practice can be challenging, even if we know it’s going to make us feel better. Having a guided meditation and companion like the Five to Align Journal helps us start and keep the practices that bring us daily relief, especially when we’re busy or met with a challenge: because that’s when we need it most!


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