Meditation - What, Why & When
'The thing about meditation is: You become more and more you' - David Lynch
As 2019 is starting one of my resolutions is to work out in the morning and to meditate, I wondered what I should to first. Some people say you should meditate as soon as you get up as your mind is still quiet. I was curious and found an interesting article about what is best practise.
I this blog post I will discuss what meditation is, why it is good for you and why do meditate after working out.
What is meditation?
Meditation has been around for thousands of years. As per www.Headspace.com meditation is the following:
Meditation isn’t about becoming a different person, a new person, or even a better person. It’s about training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective. You’re not trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings. You’re learning to observe them without judgment. And eventually, you may start to better understand them as well.
At first I was a bit weirded out by meditation but my mind is always on the go and to just sit down for 10 minutes and try and just focus on you in the here and now is very relaxing and it sort of puts my mind at ease. If you have never done this it sounds crazy, but just try it!
Why should I meditate?
Here are some amazing benefits of meditating:
It makes you happy - The funny thing I have often experienced when meditating, I just start to smile while doing it. The pituitary gland in our brain produces endorphins and as I mentioned in this blog about daily self-care habits, endorphins make you happy. They help elevate your mood and have a positive effect on the body.
Reduce stress - I worry a lot and meditation helps me to not worry as much and concentrate on myself and my goals. It helps me seeing the bigger picture. This is again is the work of endorphins.
Sleep better - As said meditation is very relaxing and brings you in a zen state of mind. Because of this it will help you sleep better. People who meditate improve their slow wave sleep pattern ( Deep Sleep) and this can help with a better nights rest.
Focus - With meditation you will become better in focussing which in return will encourage more creativity, solving problems and decrease stress
Lower blood pressure - Because you are decreasing stress by meditating this has a positive effect on lowering your blood pressure.
When should I Meditate? - after the workout!
Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. On his website he features 3 reasons why we should meditate after the work out.
1) Reduce Cortisol
When we workout, we 'stress' out our bodies. We push ourselves to do that one extra push up or jumping jack. While obviously exercising is good for you, it sends signals of stress to your brain. It wants to brain to adapt so that the next workout won’t be as difficult. When your body is stressed it produces a hormone called cortisol. In small doses this is good as it improves your mood, protecting your cells against stress and could even assist in fat loss.
But when there is too much cortisol the body is not so happy. It sees to high amount of cortisol as a sign that there is something wrong. As a result the body tries to protect you. It does that by making you feel mentally clouded, weakening the immune system, cause inflammation in the body and it could start to store abdominal fat. Ain’t nobody want that? Just after you done your workout only for your body to stress out and store fat.
Your body can’t tell the difference between different types of stress. So cortisol reacts the same whether it is an intensive workout or your dealing with road rage or your dealing with a deadline at work.
When meditating the body controls the serum levels of cortisol and this control helps you lower the feeling of stress.
2) Reduce pain
After an intense workout you can feel the work you have done. Your muscles are soar or in pain. When you control the mind you have greater control over any pain you might feel. So therefor post work out meditation can help you reduce the pain you might feel after a workout.
3) Better recovery
Because you’re meditating you keep your levels of cortisol and your pain levels under control. Now the body can focus on what is important – recovering. As the article says all positive effects of a workout happen if you give your body time to recover.
There you have it! What, why & when about meditation. Why not give it a try?
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