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10 Tips For People Who Want To Try Meditation

10 Tips For People Who Want To Try Meditation

The ultimate tip in meditation is simply allowing yourself to be. I wanted to ensure I started this article on the right note, without placing too much emphasis and rigid rules on something that’s meant to help you center yourself.

For some, meditation is repeating a powerful and meaningful mantra, in order to increase their own vibrations. For others, it is opening or realigning of their chakras to feel rooted and connected. For many however, meditation means sitting or lying still, saying OM and eventually reaching enlightenment. Meditation can be all of those things and it can also be none of those things. I will list some simple ways to help you begin meditation, without pressure or expectation, if that’s what you need but also how to recognize meditation in its many forms.

1. Turn off your phone and limit distractions

I need to start here in order to point out that meditation is a selfish endeavor to help you become more selfless. In order to begin a deep meditation, you must focus on the very things you do regularly. One simple trick is to breathe in counting to four, hold your breath for another count of four and release on the final count of four. Repeating this simple habit during meditation can calm your thoughts, keep you in the present moment and bring tremendous relaxation.

It’s hard to focus on your breath with the TV in the background or your phone buzzing with alerts and texts every few minutes. Give yourself the time to breathe. When you position it that way, you can find five minutes in your busy day to simply sit and breathe.

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2. Get comfortable

A lot of meditative poses and stances look incredible in pictures but feel very uncomfortable. Don’t worry about your hands or being in the lotus position. Simply find a spot you feel safe and at ease in and a position you’re comfortable holding for at least five minutes. This is a brief indulgent period of time you’re carving for yourself so whatever essentials (pillow, blanket, a fan…) will help should be considered beforehand.

3. Put on some music

Often when starting meditation, it’s the sudden silence that’s unsettling. The same silence contrasts the rambling thoughts dashing around your head. Find music you find soothing online or through a free app on your phone before beginning your meditation. That simple step will get you nice and relaxed, aiding once you begin to focus on your breath.

Another choice I personally find very helpful is guided meditation. Sometimes, you simply don’t know what to do and you spend all your focus wondering if you’re doing it right. Following a guided meditation allows you to simply listen to the voice of your guide and allowing yourself to fall into a meditative trance.

4. Allow your thoughts

A huge myth of meditation is that you have to stop thinking. By simply following the first step listed and focusing on your breath, on the silent gratitude you feel for being able to inhale and exhale, your thoughts will inevitably slow down. You don’t have to banish them or exert too much energy on trying to control them.

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Let them flow at first, focusing on everything, including the colors you see when your eyes are closed and slowly let them go. Don’t shoo them away rudely like unwanted guests, just let them go as if they’re memories that will return to you again. Let go of judgments about everything, especially about whether you are doing this the right or wrong way. If you can’t succeed with slowing your thought process at first, just focus on the positive and keep breathing.

5. Allow your emotions

Being connected to yourself often means allowing everything to flow through you with acceptance. Meditation will teach you to respect your many emotions and try to understand them rather then quickly trying to rationalize or avoid them. When you feel fear, it’s no longer your mind judging you for being weak. Meditation will turn that into an inquiry, to search for the root of that fear. Treating your emotions as valid will lead to greater self-love and patience as you work through small and big issues alike and prevent them from reoccurring so frequently.

6. Practice meditation

Meditation is no different from any other exercises or aspiration in your life. The more you meditate, the easier it will be to make this a habit. Start small if needed, with five minutes a day and once you begin to enjoy the calm that this practice bring, repeat it for another five minutes at night before bedtime. Aim to meditate at least three times per week.

7. Be Patient

Even the wisest man starts with one wise thought. Every time you fail at meditation, remind yourself that there is no failure because you paused, you breathed, you relaxed. Some days you will be more distracted than on others, some days might feel more fluid once you begin your practice. Pat yourself to sticking with it long enough to experience both type of days. Be patient with your practice and be kind to yourself.

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8. Keep yourself accountable

Keep a calendar or a meditation journal handy to jot down the days you’ve successfully completed your practice. This will help to keep you motivated. The journal is a great tool for noting any of the pressing thoughts you either accepted or derailed during your meditation. As you practice more often, you might even be able to make strong realizations that can help or guide you personally.

9. Forgive

It’s a lot easier to sit or lay in a relaxed manner and delve deep into yourself when you don’t have any grudges or heavy emotions tearing at you. As you make meditation a habit, it will be easier to let go of things that no longer serve you and to harness your energy, effort, will and heart into the present – where you belong.

10. Grateful meditation

If you’re too restless for standard meditation and simply can’t grasp sitting still, there’s something else you can do every day that’s just as simple and beneficial. Start with a minute, a pen and a piece of paper. Write down three things you are grateful for. Most people have to think a bit to jot three things down.

That moment of reflection and appreciation on the little things in life is meditation. The hint of smile, internal or external, as you realize the things you’re grateful for today is meditation. Once you finish jotting them down, drop your pen and hold on to that feeling for another minute and say Thank you. To the universe. To yourself. To the present.

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Namaste.

Featured photo credit: Sleeping Buddha by Matt Westgate via flickr.com

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Jolie Adam

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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