Thursday, August 11, 2016

10 Benefits of Meditation (I've Noticed)

Since I've been back from Europe, it's been extra difficult to get back into my work routine. Walking all through Europe exhausted me, but in a good way. The one thing I maintained on my travels was meditation. No matter where I am, I manage to do at least 10 minutes of meditation. Though I normally go out doors to do this, when I'm in foreign, unfamiliar environments, I stay indoors and meditate in bed for about 20 minutes. It really doesn't matter how you do it, as long as you do it, even for a short while or whatever your schedule allows.

Meditation has done so much for me in the past year or so and felt compelled to share results I've personally notices. The first few weeks of doing it though, I know I hadn't done it correctly. Like anything, meditation takes practice. Patience. Silence. I had to read a lot about it and what to expect from it. Meditation to me is being quiet with myself, focusing on each breath, clearing the mind, being still. Even though I read many, many articles about meditation, the results I've actually noticed in the last year have profoundly affected me in a positive way. Here are the 10 benefits of meditation I've noticed below.

1. In tune with body: Since I've been meditating more each morning, I've been a lot more in tune with my body and its needs. Though my career often forces me to be on the go, go, go, I move a bit slower and take time each morning (or afternoon) to sit quietly with myself, breathe deeply, pay attention to any symptoms I may have, and I also focus on the sounds and smells in a natural environment. Now, I can feel right away or early on when symptoms are coming on. I'm more aware of what my health is also telling me. Meditation helps me be fully aware of what's happening internally and externally.

2. More mindful of posture: With meditation comes strong mindfulness. Lately, I've been actively watching my posture and taking better care of my back. Mindfulness meditation allows you to truly create better habits, like sitting and standing up straighter. Now days, I've been actively beefing up my physical strength and muscles, as well as actively easing my central nervous system. I am more hyper aware of my posture and body language where as before, I often overlooked it.

3. Hyper aware of surrounding environment on regular basis: I've been especially hyper aware of my surroundings. I try to pay attention to far away sounds which has helped me be more in tune with my environment and what's happening around me. Like a few weeks ago (before my Europe travels) when I was out walking, from yards away, behind a bunch of bushes and trees, I heard a dog's leash dragging on the ground and people screaming in a distance. Immediately, I knew their dog was running away from them and heard the animal coming at full speed around a bend before I headed onto a bike trail. He would have ran right into me if I had stayed on the same path, but I moved to the other side of the street before the animal turned the corner and high-tailed it. I hope the family was able to catch him, but there was no way I would have, plus yeah, you shouldn't catch dogs you don't know. 

4. Slower breathing and movements: My breathing has drastically changed. I use to live life as fast as that dog took off by the bike trail (100 mph) and well, that's no way to live. Now, my thinking has slowed down a lot as a result of slower breathing. With slower breathing, you move a bit slower or more thoughtfully where as before, if I skipped days of meditating, myself and others would notice. When I skipped days and didn't meditate, I was agitated and jacked up. Moving slower just helps life be less stressful and more enjoyable. Now, I'm diligent about not skipping my morning meditations.

5. Increases productivity: After just fifteen minutes of my morning meditation, my mind is clear and my intentions are set for the day with a check list ready to be tackled. If you want more productivity in 2016, meditation will help. You can only accomplish a lot when your mind is clear on what it needs to get done, with no other absurd interruptions. Mediation, I've noticed, has lowered my cortisol which is a chemical your body secretes too much of when under tremendous stress. When your cortisol is leveled or lower, you are more collected and produce the work that needs to get done.

6. Boosts creativity: Whether you are or aren't a creative person, meditation boosts endorphins and overtime, has made me want to be more creative. In my moments of stillness, I'm able to identify what I want and need to do to move forward with my creative goals. Being in nature is inspiring as is and when I meditate outside, I notice I'm more creative and flowing with ideas. If you've noticed on my Snapchat (user: tessakoller), I've been shifting creative gears and writing more. Though I'm still designing clothes, I'm also exploring other creative avenues I use to be afraid to try, like writing. With meditation, I've noticed no creative blocks at all.

7. Changes perspective: My way of thinking, even a year ago, was not always the best. I use to be so focus on the destination of my career, trying to surpass my own capabilities, and in a bad competition with myself. Meditation has helped me come to grips with many personal issues, to be more patient, and to realize what I need to do to achieve more goals. Meditation also changes your perspective on things and has made me appreciate quietness, stillness, and I've been seeking a less chaotic life. Now my mindset is, if something isn't meant to happen, move on. Don't dwell in what can't be controlled. I dwell in the now, making the 'now' the best it can be. I realized too, happiness won't meet you at any destination you think it will. That's not how it works. This is where the power of meditation comes into play; it focuses your attention on now. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Not six or ten years away. Just the present moment. Being in the present moment has helped me keep my eye on the prize.

8. Disciplined Mindset: I've surely noticed more disciplined thinking. The last two weeks or so since my return from Italy, I've been disciplined with my diet, even more so. Each day, I start and end my day on a high note with plenty of veggies and fruits that have been preparing me for the fall season. For a while, I was struggling with all of these symptoms like runny nose syndrome (I swear, it was always runny), physical agitation or like I was getting a cold, and all of the above. Within just the last few weeks, my health had a major breakthrough and I noticed my body was truly absorbing nutrients. My sinuses are clearer, and I stopped feeling like a cold was coming on, for once. And, I've been making some extremely healthy recipes (my own concoctions) that taste delicious, helping me avoid those bad sweets that really just clog up your body with junk.

9. Constant state of calmness: Your mind and body craves calmness more than anything. Meditation helped me realize this. Being calm is about feeling relaxed as much as possible. When I'm calm, I'm able to tackle even the most difficult tasks whether in my fashion studio or writing projects. While in a calm state, your cortisol is leveled, your mood increases, and nothing phases you. I'm someone that always has things going on, a full list of emails with various requests from people (which I appreciate, by the way) and I face everything with a calm mindset now. Also, meditation has significantly decreased my anxiety and it's my way of managing my nervous system. I've noticed lots of improvement in just five weeks of meditation.

10. Uplifts mood and motivation: Meditation is the ultimate mood and motivation booster. All of those things I've listed above I've been noticing more and more every day. Living with a genetic syndrome comes with its list of struggles: fatigue, depression, anxiety and the feeling like you are so off balance. One year ago today, I thought I'd never experience such balance that I do now. Being in tune with my body and able to prevent symptoms from worsening has helped me a great deal. In conjunction with the Yoga and swimming I've been doing in combination with meditation, my posture improved which has nearly eliminated my back pain. The last six to eight weeks, my back has felt amazing and it doesn't even feel like I have scoliosis (though, I do.) My way of thinking has about totally transformed in ways I never thought possible. That lung surgery I had this past Christmas was such a struggle pain-wise, and by the end of May or June, I became determined to live a more balanced, pain free lifestyle and these results I've shared proved their benefits.

I highly recommend meditation to everyone. You will feel like a new person, but it took me a solid year to really get good at it and get diligent about it. Now, I feel new! Like this post? Subscribe to this blog and never miss one, more posts on the way including a big volume series on my travels through Italy, and more good stuff so keep checking back and thank you for reading!

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