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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

The Guided Morning Meditation for Beginners (That Will Change Your Day)

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The Guided Morning Meditation for Beginners (That Will Change Your Day)

I’m sure you’ve heard or read about the benefits of having a meditation routine, but you might still feel a bit hesitant to start because you find the whole concept of meditating too daunting, or you think that you need a lot of time to practice meditation.

Or maybe, you tried it a few times but it felt frustrating because you felt your mind overflown with thoughts and you might have felt overwhelmed, and probably told yourself that you’re not good at it.

In this article, I’ll share basic concepts about the real purpose of meditation, the benefits of incorporating this sacred practice into your life and simple tips to follow, so you can clear away the obstacles to your daily practice and learn some basic practicing exercises that will make a positive difference in your life.

Your body and mind on morning meditation

Meditation is a great tool to maintain a healthy balance of dialogue between your mind and your body. It is a simple technique that you can practice anytime and anywhere to alleviate stress. Just like physical exercise, the more you practice, the more benefits you’ll notice and the longer they will last – in both, mind and body.

A study by The American Psychological Association reported that 40 percent of the people they surveyed reported overeating or eating unhealthy foods as a result of stress, while 46 percent said they lie awake at night due to high stress levels.

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Here’s the thing: you can focus on eating healthier, exercising more frequently, getting more sleep, using more natural products on our skin and at home, but if you don’t take care of your mind, you will still feel unbalanced in your life.

Meditation makes you have a cleaner body and clearer mind:[1]

    A Harvard study showed that meditating can help decrease stress and anxiety levels which in turn will diminish inflammation in our bodies, reduce blood pressure, improve attention, sleep better, help us make smarter choices and regulate our thoughts, so we don’t jump so fast into reacting and judging.

    Meditation helps to reduce stress, but a great benefit is that you will find peace within, the peace that spiritual traditions talk about that passes all understanding. One of the biggest goals of meditation is that you tune in with yourself and connect with your center, to get in touch with the energy of “oneness”.

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    Meditation is a way to get in the space between your thoughts. You have a thought here, a thought there and there’s little space between every thought that is called stillness – this space is the gateway to the infinite mind and that sense of divine connection.

    Clearing the obstacles to morning meditation

    The most common obstacles to meditation are the ones that we create ourselves, even if sometimes we are not aware.

    Here are a few of the most common ways we tend to resist starting a new meditation practice and what to do about it:

    “I don’t have time.”

    There’s a misconception that you need to sit down to meditate for at least 30 minutes to an hour. You can start your daily practice investing anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour. You can set the rules for yourself! You just need to commit to starting.

    Start small, and as you practice more consistently I can tell you that you’ll start adding more time to your practice.

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    “I can’t sit still.”

    Do meditation your own way. Some people don’t like sitting but they enjoy walking meditations.

    Dr. Kelly McGonigal suggests a 10 minute walking meditation involving 1 minute of paying attention to each of the feelings of your body while walking, the feeling of your breath, the sensations of air or wind on your skin, what you can hear, and what you can see.

    “My mind never stops.”

    It is normal to feel frustration while learning to meditate. Shifting your expectations will help in overcoming this obstacle.

    Always focus on subtle incremental improvements. A great achievement is to gradually understand your mind and learn how to shift negative thinking.

    Basic morning meditation techniques

    Every good meditation practice begins with finding what works best for you. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to meditate since there are different techniques or styles of meditation.

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    Here are a few of them:

    • Breathing meditation – You can use this technique alone as a meditation to calm your mind and reduce distractions. Simply focus your attention on your breath, the inhale and exhale. This video can help you with this.
    • Candle staring – This is great if you find it hard focusing. Just light a candle and stare at it. Your attention will be held. If your mind has thoughts, just thank them and go back to staring at the candle.
    • Mantra meditation – Repeating words can help you find calm and focus. Here are 8 powerful mantras for deep inner peace.
    • Guided meditation – There are many resources online that have guided meditations and music to help you relax. Just google “guided meditation” and you’ll find tons of resources.
    • Walking meditation – We cover that one above — a 10 minute walking meditation involving 1 minute of paying attention to each of the feelings of your body while walking, the feeling of your breath, the sensations of air or wind on your skin, what you can hear, and what you can see.
    • Mindfulness meditation – Mindfulness is about recognizing what is happening in the present moment, including what is arising and passing. This includes thoughts, sounds, feelings in the body and anything else present. The idea is to just observe without judgment, and remain open and aware. Here is a step-by-step guide to practice mindfulness in your day-to-day life.

    Experiment different techniques and stick to what works best for you.

    The guided morning meditation

    If you have never meditated before or if you haven’t meditated in a long time, I recommend that you start with 5-10 minutes. With practice, you’ll be able to sit for longer periods of time.

    You can set an intention before you begin, but start your practice without attachment to any particular outcome or how your meditation practice “should” be. Just be open to experience what you’re meant to receive from every practice.

    The best time to meditate is early in the morning (before your coffee or tea), that way you set yourself up for a peaceful start to your day. Follow these simple steps to start you meditation practice:

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    1. Find a place that will be your sacred space for meditation. Try to pick a room that is free from a lot noise or distractions, and make it cozy. You can add relaxing background music, light a candle and/or incense, or diffuse a relaxing essential oil.
    2. Choose a time. Make meditation a priority, set an appointment with yourself and practice at the same time every day and see this as feeding your soul. Some people like to meditate right before they go to bed, this will help you sleep more soundly.
    3. Wear comfortable clothes. For example your PJ’s.
    4. Sit comfortably. You can sit on a cushion on the floor, on your couch or a chair. Try to have backrest so you can keep your back erect. You don’t need to try fancy yogi postures at the beginning. Don’t lay down because most likely, you’ll fall asleep. Just sit still and straight.
    5. Set a timer.
    6. Always start your meditation practice with 5 to 7 long and slow deep breaths so you can start releasing tension.
    7. Then just start focusing your mind on an object. It could be the flame of a candle, your breathing or repeating a mantra like “I am”.
    8. Just know that you’ll have thoughts, you might feel sensations in your body and you might hear sounds in your environment. It’s all normal. Whenever you become conscious of that, just go back to the object you were focusing on, or go back to paying attention to your breathing again, or repeating your mantra, but do it mentally without moving your lips and your tongue.

    Even if you feel like you didn’t accomplish much with your practice on a specific day, be consistent. Honor and acknowledge yourself for taking the time to practice. Even if you feel that the effects are not obvious, be grateful for your practice and in no time you’ll be glad you started!

    Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

    Reference

    [1] The Art of Living: The benefits of meditation
    you never knew

    More by this author

    Patricia Young

    Certified Professional & Holistic Coach, bestselling author, host of the Awakening to Life podcast

    How to Practice Positive Thinking And Change Your Life The Guided Morning Meditation for Beginners (That Will Change Your Day) How to Forgive and Live a Happy Life Again (A Step-By-Step Guide) Why Some People Have a Lack of Empathy (And How to Deal with Them)

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    Published on October 15, 2021

    Does Anxiety Make You Tired And Why?

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    Does Anxiety Make You Tired And Why?

    When you think of anxiety, several scenarios may come to mind: the endless tossing and turning of a restless night, dread over potential future events, pandemic-related overwhelm, or full-blown panic attacks. Even if you’re not diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, you’ve likely experienced anxiety symptoms at some point in your life. In these situations, you might feel a queasiness in your stomach, racing heartbeat, excessive sweating, chest tightness, some tension in your jaw/neck/shoulders, or worrisome thoughts as you prepare for the worst possible scenario. But does anxiety also make you tired?

    After experiencing these symptoms, you may indeed feel fatigued. The sensation could fall anywhere on the exhaustion spectrum, from feeling like you just ran a marathon and need to sleep for two days, to just a little worn down and wanting a quick nap to recover.

    Below are 7 ways anxiety zaps your energy and how to restore it.

    1. Stress Hormone Overload

    Anxiety can make you tired via overloading your body with stress hormones. The “fight or flight” response is a key connection between anxiety and fatigue. In fact, this process is made up of three stages: Alarm, Resistance, and Exhaustion. Anxiety triggers our body systems to go into high alert. This is a natural, involuntary reaction that developed in the human brain for survival.

    When humans lived with the real, imminent threat of being attacked by a predator, it made sense for our bodies to spring into action without much preparatory thought. Such dangers are rare in modern times, but our brains continue to respond in the same way they did thousands of years ago.

    The hormones and chemicals that flood our bodies to prepare us for safety can both affect and be affected by several body systems, and this interaction itself contributes to exhaustion. Adrenaline and cortisol are the two most notable hormones to address here. First, adrenaline is sent out, tensing the muscles and increasing heart rate and blood pressure in preparation to run. Later in the stress response, cortisol is released, enhancing the brain’s use of glucose. This is one of our main fuel sources, so it’s no wonder this contributes to fatigue (see #2).

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    You can regulate baseline levels of these stress hormones by regularly practicing yoga, breathwork, meditation, and/or engaging in aerobic exercise.[1] It’s easier to lean into these routines for relief during stress when you’ve already mastered using them during times when you feel calm.

    2. Elevated Blood Sugar Levels

    Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), which is shown to be associated with anxiety in diabetic patients.[2] Many people who experience hyperglycemia report feeling tired all the time regardless of their quantity or quality of sleep, nutrition, or exercise.

    Although this connection has shown more prevalent and prolonged effects in diabetics, it also occurs with nondiabetics exposed to psychiatric stress.[3] In fact, for all people, the natural stress response elevates blood pressure and heart rate as well as cortisol levels, all of which increase blood sugar levels.[4] This means that anxiety causes a double-hit of exhaustion related to blood sugar fluctuations.

    Instead of reaching for comfort foods like chocolate during times of stress, take a calming walk around the block. Gentle movement alone is a great stress reliever that incidentally also helps to regulate blood sugars.[5]

    3. Negative Mindset

    Anxiety can also make you tired because of repetitive negative thinking (RNT), which is a common symptom of anxiety. RNT involves continuous thoughts via rumination (dwelling on sad or dark thoughts focused on the past) and worry (angst regarding the future). Some researchers argue that having a longtime habit of RNT can harm the brain’s capacity to think, reason, and form memories.[6] While the brain is busy using its energy stores to fuel negative thought patterns, the energy available for these other more productive endeavors is thereby reduced.

    Negative thoughts can also disrupt or prevent healthy sleep patterns, keeping our minds racing at night and effectively wreaking havoc on daytime energy. (See #7)

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    Reduce these patterns by reframing your feelings over anxious thoughts. Instead of staying stuck on “what if,” focus on what you can do in the here and now. What activity can you engage in for five minutes (or more) that brings you joy? What are you grateful for, no matter what’s going on around you?

    4. Digestive Issues

    It’s common for people to experience both intestinal and mental issues simultaneously. This suggests a strong connection between the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which is known as the gut-brain axis.[7] Simply put, what happens in our digestive tract (and as a result of what we eat) affects the brain and vice versa.

    The gut microbiota is a complex population of GI tract microorganisms. When its balance is altered, the body can develop conditions that affect the gut-brain-endocrine relationship. The endocrine system produces and manages adrenaline, for starters. And the gut bacteria’s production of feel-good hormones (serotonin and dopamine—see #5) ties into this relationship as well.

    GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors are also found in gut bacteria. GABA is a natural brain relaxant that makes us feel good by helping the body to unwind after a stress-induced neurotransmitter release (e.g., cortisol and adrenaline). When GABA activity is low, it leads to anxiety, depression, insomnia, and mood disorders. These are just a few of the manifestations that demonstrate how gut bacteria influences behavior. All of these contribute to feeling both physically and mentally tired.

    You can minimize the symptoms of depression and anxiety by keeping your gut microbiota balanced with probiotic-rich fermented foods. Yogurt with live cultures, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, kimchi, miso soup, and tempeh are great foods to include in your diet.[8]

    5. Depression

    Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand. Research continues to indicate a complex relationship between depression and decreased serotonin—a key neurotransmitter for regulating mood and feelings of wellbeing and happiness. Anxiety is also a direct symptom of serotonin deficiency. Serotonin helps with healthy sleep, mood, and digestion.

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    Serotonin is produced in the gut, almost exclusively, at an estimated 90 percent. However, a small quantity is also produced in the hypothalamus, an area of the brain that is pivotal for transmitting energy balance signals. This small cone-shaped structure receives and relays signals transmitted via the vagus nerve from the gastrointestinal tract. It has a central role in mediating stress responses, regulating sleep, and establishing circadian rhythms. It senses and responds to a myriad of circulating hormones and nutrients, directly affecting our mood and energy.[9]

    Dopamine is another mood-boosting neurochemical that is depleted in depression. It creates feelings of alertness and wakefulness and, when the body is operating normally, is released in higher amounts in the morning (allowing for daytime energy) and lower at night (preparing for healthy sleep). Stress is one factor that can deplete dopamine, thereby leading to depression, sleep disorders, and fatigue.

    Studies show that dopamine levels in the brain can be elevated by increasing dietary intake of tyrosine and phenylalanine.[10] Both of these amino acids are naturally found in protein-rich foods like turkey, beef, eggs, dairy, soy, peas, lentils, and beans.

    6. Breathing Problems

    Breathlessness and anxiety are closely linked, and this is one of the ways anxiety can make you feel tired. Anxiety can lead to shallow breathing, which can cause shortness of breath while feeling breathless can exacerbate anxiety.[11] It’s a vicious cycle that often leads people to take rapid and shallow breaths, breathing into their upper chest and shoulders.

    This type of breathing minimizes oxygen intake and usability. Despite comprising only two percent of the body, our brains consume 20 percent of the body’s oxygen supply. Oxygen is fuel for both mental and physical tasks. When breathing patterns compromise healthy oxygen levels, this can cause considerable fatigue.[12]

    End the anxiety-fatigue cycle with focused breathing exercises. It’s important to practice this regularly while you’re not experiencing anxiety or stress, as this will help you to be prepared should a moment of breathless anxiety hit unexpectedly.

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    There are several different styles of breathing exercises. There’s an easy one to try, called “Resonant Breathing.” Simply breathe in slowly through your nose as you count to five, then exhale for a count of five. Repeat this for a few minutes. It’s helpful to bring your awareness to any tension, deliberately relaxing your neck, shoulders, and jaw in particular.

    7. Sleep Issues

    Most of the elements we’ve already discussed inherently tie into sleep issues, which is often the reason why anxiety can make you feel tired. But it’s important to note that this is not always a directly linear cause-and-effect process. Much of it is cyclic. If we don’t get enough quality sleep, we increase our risk of excessive cortisol production, elevated blood pressure and blood sugar levels, depressed mood and mindset disorders, and dysregulation of appetite/craving hormones that affect our digestive health.

    Sleep is obviously the number one antidote to feeling tired as a result of anxiety. But at the same time, many of these elements—including anxiety itself—lead to less-than-restorative sleep. We can improve our energy levels by addressing each element discussed here, as well as taking a proactive approach to our sleep health.

    One simple habit to help recalibrate your circadian rhythm for healthy sleep patterns is to get outside in the morning. Sunlight exposure in the early hours of the day regulates melatonin production, helping us to feel sleepy at night.

    You Don’t Have to Live Your Life Anxious and Exhausted

    Times of extreme stress, like driving in heavy traffic or nerve-wracking situations like public speaking, can easily induce an anxiety response. Even “normal” everyday stressors, like feeling overwhelmed with work and home responsibilities, can build up to anxious feelings over time.

    Our bodies’ response to stress and anxiety affects many of its functions in complex ways. When we unravel the interconnections of these processes, we can see how each part plays an intrinsic role in contributing to fatigue. By addressing each element individually, we can make simple lifestyle changes that resolve anxiety and diminish the ways it makes us tired as a result.

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    More Tips on Coping With Anxiety

    Featured photo credit: Joice Kelly via unsplash.com

    Reference

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