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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

The Benefits of Daily Meditation While on Vacation

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The Benefits of Daily Meditation While on Vacation

Being on vacation is mainly about rest and relaxation, but what if you could get a lot more out of it?

What if during your vacation you could recharge yourself with more energy than ever before?

Are you ready for something that’s going to change your life forever?

Incorporating daily meditation into your vacation plans can really help you get the most out of your retreat. This guide will explain exactly how to do just that and outlines the many benefits you can reap from adding mindful meditation to your plans.

Why Practicing Meditation Makes Total Sense

Most people assume that meditation is about sitting cross-legged and thinking about whatever comes to mind, and that there’s no real practical purpose to it. Some would even call it a complete waste of time. Of course most of these people have never really meditated a day in their life.

The truth is that meditation can have a powerful impact on your wellbeing and overall energy.

Furthermore, it can help you deal with various unbalanced emotional states and bring them into harmony. However, in order to get maximum benefits it is important to commit to at least 30 minutes of meditation each day.

The more often you meditate, the better; but remember, start slow and gradually and work your way up to this goal. If you can meditate every day of your vacation for only a few minutes at a time, then do it.

To get started, let’s look at some of the known benefits of meditation:

1. You’ll Sleep So Much Better

One of the most important things about practicing meditation before going to bed is that you can be sure the your quality of sleep is going to be deep and highly energizing.

In some rare cases it can even prevent insomnia.

Since beginning daily meditation before bedtime, never before have I slept so well. The practice has radically improved my sleeping schedule. But don’t just take my word for it, try it out for yourself. You will be surprised by the results.

2. Your Energy Levels Will Soar

Your internal energy will gain a great boost from meditation.

In a deep state of meditation your body will recharge with energy in a powerful way. This radical shift will easily be noticed. This is one of the most useful benefits from this practice.

Once I started meditating regularly, my energy levels improved to the point where I started sleeping less and getting more things done throughout the day.

3. Your Balance Will Be On Point

Another important aspect that comes from meditation is balance.

Here I am describing both mental and emotional balance. When you practice regular meditation, your mind stabilizes and becomes organized and disciplined, while your emotional states become easier to control.

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You will no longer feel like thoughts and emotions are controlling you; it will be the other way around. You will become a sovereign of your life.

Before getting into meditation, my mind was all over the place; but, in time and with perseverance, I reached an internal balance that helped me overcome many stressful situations with relative ease.

4. You’ll Be Far Less Forgetful

When you meditate, you gradually become more aware of everything going on around you because the mind is no longer distracted.

It should come as no surprise that if you’re consciously more aware of things, your recall ability will improve greatly.

In the past I used to forget things easily; but after a few months of daily meditation I began to retain all sorts of details about what I’ve read, where I had placed things, what tasks I had left to do that day, etc.

5. You’ll Gain a Finer-Tuned Focus

Proper meditation also improves your focus because you learn to pay attention to your breath and not allow other thoughts to divide your attention.

If practiced enough, it will not only manifest while meditating but also while you’re in a regular state of consciousness. This means your focus will become laser sharp!

After practicing daily meditation for some time, I can easily focus on a task without becoming distracted.

This has helped me a great deal in every project that I’ve worked on. When your mind is totally present in the moment, it becomes an actual force. Things will get done properly and on time. There is little doubt about how useful this ability will become in time.

6. Pain Will No Longer Phase You

Whatever the cause of injury might be, meditation can help reduce your pain.

This is not to say that you will no longer feel that pain, it’s just that it will move into the background somewhere.

Through daily meditation you will learn pain control.

The more I meditated, the more I was able to control how much physical pain bothered me. The pain was still there, it just didn’t have the same effect on me as prior to my incorporating a daily meditation routine.

7. You’ll Become Enlightened

Ultimately meditation makes you realize that you’re something above a physical body. You’re not the body or emotions… or even your thoughts.

This will give you an unusual freedom.

You will no longer feel as limited as before and your entire perception of life will change. In some cases the fear of death will disappear altogether.

The exact internal states are difficult to describe, but when practicing daily meditation a feeling of superior happiness will manifest and will even make you question what happiness really is.

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Years back when I started meditating it just seemed like a boring activity at first. It took a while to fully grasp the depth of what meditation actually meant. At that stage it still seemed forced (and to be honest it was to a certain extent).

One of the most important things to keep in mind is to discipline yourself to keep going at the beginning. This is when it seems like nothing actually gets done, although eventually you’ll discover that there’s something to it, which will change you in many positive ways.

You might find many reasons to discontinue the practice, but you have to keep going if you want to see real results. Don’t give up!

This in itself is a lesson when it comes to meditation and even life itself. One must develop patience in order to succeed in reaching the deeper states. In fact anything worth going after in life will require patience and determination.

Nothing happens overnight!

Take Your Daily Practice on Vacation

So, you’re on vacation and you want to get the most out of your meditations. How do you do it? It’s actually pretty simple and can easily be scheduled into your plans.

If you’re on vacation with your kids, the good thing about meditation is that anybody can do it.

No matter what age, meditation is safe for everyone–so get the kids to join in! It can be beneficial to encourage your children to meditate from an early age, but there’s no reason to insist on it if they find no pleasure in it. Then again, you never know; kids will sometimes surprise you with their curiosity and interest in trying new things!

So no matter who has come along for vacation, whether you choose to meditate solo or as a family, it’s possible to reap the benefits even when you’re away from home.

Start Reaping the Rewards of Mindfulness Today

Now that you understand the vast benefits of meditation, and that anyone can practice meditation just about anywhere, you may be wondering: what are the essential components for a successful meditation session?

1. Embrace Silence

There’s no real meditation without first finding a quiet spot.

Unless you’re an experienced practitioner who has been meditating for decades, the noise will most likely distract and even bother you during the meditation.

You can use ear plugs to cancel most external noise if a quiet place cannot be found.

Depending on where you are vacationing, consider the idea of meditating in nature. For instance, if you are on a hike or are walking through a forest and find a nice quiet place for meditation, then go for it!

2. Get In a Proper Position

Once you’ve found the right place for meditation, choosing a position to meditate in that you’re comfortable with is essential to the quality of the experience.

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If you meditate in a difficult posture that causes pain, then you can imagine that the experience will have a negative impact on you.

Be careful about meditating in bed, as it is very easy to fall asleep.

Another thing worth mentioning is that often a meditation posture is not comfortable at first; in fact, it could take months to get used to the posture so that you feel totally relaxed while in it. While on vacation, cut yourself some slack and stick to a posture that’s already easy to relax in, such as sitting comfortably.

3. Dress for Success

It is best to wear something relaxing while meditating, otherwise it will distract your internal focus to the external aspects that make your body uncomfortable.

Needless to say, the temperature of the body has to be pleasant. You don’t want to have clothing on that makes you feel too warm or too cold. If you want to meditate outside make sure that you check the weather and that you’re prepared accordingly.

Your choice of clothing can really make a big difference when it comes to the quality of your meditations.

4. Be Mindful of What You Eat (and Drink)

It’s recommendable to drink water before a meditation to have the body hydrated.

Another very important aspect is to never meditate right after you eat.

Take a break of 2-3 hours after a meal, before beginning to meditate. I’ve ignored this aspect before and it didn’t end up well. Here would be a great place to mention that meditation has a powerful and beneficial effect on digestion.

5. Destroy All Distractions

Make sure to turn off the TV, the laptop, the tablet, the phone, etc. for the period that you will be meditating.

It’s important that you will not be disturbed from your meditation by a sudden noise. Distractions such as these could make the entire experience difficult and you won’t reap as many benefits.

It’s most unpleasant to be engaged in deep meditation and suddenly be forced out of it.

6. Plan Accordingly

It would be unwise to meditate immediately after playing games, watching a movie or listening to music for a prolonged period of time.

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In all those cases the mind will become increasingly more active with various thoughts. To meditate in such a state would be a constant struggle. I remember when I used to play video games years ago and then tried to meditate after that. Those were the most unsuccessful meditations of my life.

Ready, Set, Meditate!

Take the posture that you are most comfortable in and begin by slowly breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth.

Keep on doing that for a while until you feel quite relaxed.

Being relaxed in a meditation is a very important aspect if you want to succeed in attaining deeper states of consciousness.

After that, continue to pay attention to your breath, but breathe only through the nose now.

The true mental freedom and the real appreciation of meditation will come when you will realize that empty gap between breaths and especially between your thoughts.

That pure emptiness is the true internal peace. When you’re able to maintain that state, your body will be filled with energy and the meditation will become a blessing!

It’s essential not to become frustrated or upset because you’re unable to let go at first because intrusive thoughts keep flooding into your awareness.

Acknowledge the situation and continue forward with the meditation.

Little by little you will continue making progress as long as you keep going and maintain a calm attitude. There’s no reason to try to force things.

A meditative state should come naturally, almost all on its own. You’ll need to learn to adapt to your internal states and go with the flow, while at the same time retaining awareness.

That’s it! Keep it up and reap a ton of rewards.

Mindfulness Wherever You Go

Similarly to anything else, for lasting results you will need to meditate daily for sustained periods of time. However, on vacation is the best time to start this practice and get a taste of its power.

Once you get hooked while on vacation, you’ll be looking for other ways to integrate meditation in your everyday life.

It was only after I had been meditating for months on a daily basis that the real benefits started to become obvious to me.

However, this shouldn’t discourage you from meditating. You don’t need to meditate daily for that long in order to see a significant change in your life. And although at this point it might seem difficult to integrate meditation in your daily life when you’re not on vacation, eventually you will find a way.

I wish you the very best on your meditation journey. If you begin a daily practice while on your vacation, it will surely be one you’ll remember for the rest of your life!

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Featured photo credit: Photo by Jens Kreuter via unsplash.com

More by this author

Bogdan C.

I've been trying to combine the classical martial arts with internal development and the more esoteric aspects of generating internal energy.

The Benefits of Daily Meditation While on Vacation

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Published on August 23, 2021

Why Am I Depressed If My Life Is Fine?

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Why Am I Depressed If My Life Is Fine?

If you suffer from depression or suddenly experience bouts of sadness that seem to come out of nowhere, you probably wonder why this is happening. The truth is that there are several possibilities, and you aren’t alone. According to the World Health Organization, in January of 2020, more than 264 million people were diagnosed with depression and is the leading cause of disability worldwide.[1] In this article, I will answer the question: why am I depressed if my life is fine?” I will discuss what depression is and what the possible causes of depression are. Additionally, I will offer some solutions to consider as you navigate the depression you are experiencing.

The question of why you are depressed if your life is fine is one that I can personally identify with, as I can remember a time when I went through an intense depression even though, in many ways, my life couldn’t have been much better. I was financially secure, had a good family, lived in a beautiful place, had a pretty adventurous and exciting life, but none of that could have prevented a serious and prolonged battle with depression.

Given that you are here reading this article now, you will hopefully be able to identify the problem early and get the support you need to fend off any significant depressive episodes, as this can make a huge difference in your battle with depression.

Furthermore, you don’t have to live with depression! Despite the debilitating effects of depression, with the right treatment and support, it is also one of the more “curable” mental health disorders and you can overcome it.

What Is Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder characterized by feelings of sadness, guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness, irritability, and in the worst cases, despair and suicidality.

Depression from a clinical perspective is classified into a few distinctive categories, two of the more common categories are; major depression and dysthymia. According to the DSM 5, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual—which governs the diagnosis of psychiatric and mental health disorders—major depression is classified as experiencing five or more symptoms in the same two-week period and must include a loss in pleasure as well as a depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day.[2]

The criteria are:

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  • Loss of pleasure or joy
  • Intense feelings of sadness and depressed mood most of the day, almost every day
  • Difficulty sleeping or disturbed sleep
  • Change in appetite (increased or decreased appetite) and a 5% change in body weight
  • Difficulty focusing, poor concentration
  • Psychomotor agitation or slowing down
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Persistent thoughts of death, dying, and suicide

Dysthymia is an ongoing or persistent depressed mood for a period of two years where you feel sadness more days than not. It will include at least two of the following symptoms when depressed:

  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia (having more sleep than usual)
  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor concentration
  • Feeling of hopelessness

The above symptoms of dysthymia can coincide with the symptoms of major depression.

Causes of Depression

Depression happens for several reasons that I categorize into three: biology, environment, and situation. Depression also tends to occur in more sensitive people, tend to overthink, and get stuck in their thoughts, which—more times than not—are negative.

Biological causes of depression are related to how your body produces neurotransmitters that impact your moods, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Some people might have a biological predisposition for depression and never experience any significant symptoms but when confronted with a challenging life situation, such as a loss or disappointment, it can send them into a tailspin of despondency and intense feelings of low and sad mood.

Depression caused by one’s environment is more about those you might have grown up with, your family, and your home environment, which could also be connected to heredity. Regardless of your biological predisposition, you learn how to handle challenges in life by observing those around you.

Adults, in particular, are role models for children and will likely deal with life in similar ways as to what they observed. For example, a child who grows up witnessing partner abuse between their parents is at increased risk of either being a victim or perpetrator of violence in an intimate relationship as an adult.[3]

Situational depression, as I mentioned above, can be seen as more of a cause-and-effect relationship. When you are confronted with a particular life challenge or change, such as job loss, geographic relocation, or family and financial stress, these situations can cause you to fall into a temporary or prolonged depression.

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In some cases, depression can be a combination of all of the above.

Examples of Causes of Depression

Below are some examples of situations that might lead you to experience a prolonged period of depression.

Grief

The loss of a loved one, especially when sudden and traumatic, can bring about intense feelings of loss and sadness, which can lead to clinical depression. This includes the death of pets.

Medical Issue or Diagnosis

Being diagnosed with a medical issue, especially if chronic and progressive, is much like any other loss you might experience. It represents the loss of a life you had. Very often, there will need to be changes made in one’s life that will not allow for a lifestyle previously enjoyed.

A Feeling of Failure or Perceived Shortcomings

As I mentioned, people who experience depression tend to be sensitive and self-critical. You might be struggling with not getting a job promotion or failing to progress in the way you imagined for yourself, but this doesn’t mean that you are not progressing in some other way.

Sudden Life Change

Changes—even good changes and welcomed changes—are hard. Sometimes, these changes can have an impact on your role and status in society like marriage or parenthood, which are both wonderful changes yet fraught with many challenges and new social roles.

Feeling Trapped or With Limited Options

Having options is both a blessing and a curse. We know that the more options we have, the less happy we are and the more anxious we might tend to feel, wanting and needing to make the right decision. However, on the flip side, the idea that you don’t have any options can also lead to feeling trapped and feeling that your life circumstances are already written in stone.

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Burnout

Job stress, being overworked and underpaid, or the lack of fulfillment in your profession can lead to depression, which might also coincide with the feeling of being trapped and feeling as though you don’t have many options in your life and career.

What Can You Do If You Experience Depression?

It may sometimes feel as though, out of nowhere, that you are hit with depression, and this is true for many people who have a biologically based depression. However, I would argue that whenever there is something like depression or anxiety—which are defense mechanisms—there is something in your life that is not 100% congruent with who you are and where your life is at or going.

This essentially means that it’s time to take a step back and reassess a few things in life. It doesn’t mean that you will be able to wright the ship entirely. However, you might be able to make some small changes that will help you feel more in control of your life and the direction that you are going in.

1. Consider Therapy

Therapy will help you take stock and think about what is happening in your life and where you might be able to make some changes. Needless to say, you will also have the support you need to embark on making those changes. It could also be a chance to identify what it is in your life that is causing the depression. A therapist can also help you connect to other supports that might help you as you work through this period in your life.

2. Group Support Network

Processing hurt and pain through the group experience is a powerful method of connecting with yourself and others who might be experiencing similar challenges. Part of the value of group experience is knowing that you are not alone and that you have support not just from professionals but also from other people just like you.

3. Self Assessment

Self-assessment involves assessing where you are in your life in relation to your life goals, your relationships, and the direction that you are headed. Maybe it is time to make a pivot and change course, which could be a very scary thing. Bringing this kind of information to therapy will be very valuable and will assist you in the therapeutic process.

4. Take Some Time Off

Taking some time off will be and can be helpful in many ways. If you are experiencing burnout, this will give you more time for self-care and help you give yourself a break. Moreover, taking a time off gives you more time to do some of the things I described above in therapy, group work, and self-assessment.

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5. Are You Bored?

Sometimes, when we lack stimulation or work in a job for which we are overqualified, we might find ourselves feeling underutilized and as if we are not meeting our potential. This would, hopefully, come out in a self-assessment and could indicate the need to make a change in your work life.

Depression and Suicide

Depression is a serious mental health disorder. Thirty to seventy percent of deaths by suicide are attributed to major depression or bipolar disorder.[4] If you or someone you love is experiencing depression and expresses thoughts or statements about death and suicide, consult with your medical professional or mental health counselor. People who receive treatment for depression have an 80 to 90% rate of success from therapy and/or medication.

Suffice to say, if you get the treatment you need for depression, your chances of recovering skyrocket. Again, as I mentioned earlier, you don’t have to live with depression. Get the right treatment,[5] and you can have a whole new lease on life.

Final Thoughts

Depression is a mood disorder that is characterized by feelings of sadness for a long period of time. Many people throughout their lives will experience some depression in varying degrees. If you notice that what you are experiencing resembles any of what I have described above, please know that you can make changes and you can live a life free of depression. Getting help, support, and treatment is essential to addressing the depression or changes in your life that might need to be considered.

More Tips on Coping With Depression

Featured photo credit: Paola Chaaya via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] The World Health Organization: Depression
[2] NCBI: The DSM-5: Classification and Criteria Changes
[3] OASH: Office on women’s Health: Effects of domestic violence on children
[4] Mental Health America: Suicide
[5] Upside Down Flan: The Best Treatment for Depression

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