Meditation can help us manage stress and much more.


The Three M’s of Meditation

Before I really understood what meditation was all about, I bought into the cliché that it involved sitting in uncomfortable, cross-legged silence for long stretches of time, with the goal of attaining some kind of profound spiritual experience. How wrong I was!

The backstory
Sacred Hindu texts dating back more than 3,000 years suggest meditation was used as a means of training and strengthening the mind, and later, Buddhists in India and Taoists in China were using it as both a strategy for personal development and to connect to the divine. Today, meditation is broadly considered an effective tool for helping us manage modern-day stresses while bringing balance to our emotions and fostering overall wellbeing.

While there are many different approaches to meditation, it’s generally agreed that the point isn’t to find inner peace in 45 minutes, but rather something more practical and, frankly, a lot easier. At its core, meditation is all about self acceptance, which in and of itself can lead to profound positive changes in the way we move through our lives and engage with others. This is just one of many reasons I’ve integrated a regular meditation practice into my life.

Meditation 101
Meditation is as simple as paying attention to our thoughts and accepting whatever comes up and letting those thoughts pass by without judging them. This act can imbue us with a sense of peace and calm, and research even suggests that meditation can alter the size of our brains, shrinking the areas linked to stress response and strengthening the areas that govern our thought processes. For me, it’s the actual results I see and the way I feel that give me all the proof I need to know meditation works. 

One thing I love about meditation is that it doesn’t require any special tools or accoutrements. It’s something that can literally be practiced, anytime, anyplace. My strategy is to weave in meditative moments throughout the day, allowing me to clear space, lift my mood, and release stagnant energy. While I wish I could sit for long periods of time in silence, that’s just not my reality. Instead, I have a simple routine that’s flexible and effective. 

My approach
I begin each morning by lighting a stick of palo santo wood to infuse my living space with a sacred vibe, then squeeze in a little meditative time before my day begins. Depending on the day and my mood, it might include: 

>> Mantra
Setting aside a few moments to sit quietly and repeat a positive affirmation—often focused on gratitude—or to read and recite inspiring words helps me move through my day with a feeling of hopefulness and joy. 

>> Movement
Creating space for movement, whether that’s dancing, an early morning walk on the beach, or a  hike in nature works like a meditative experience, allowing me to focus on my breath and clear the clutter from my mind.

>> Music
Gentle music is great for easing into the day, but for a mental reset and energy shift, I crank the dance tunes and connect with the universe through the magic of melody. The end result is harmony, in every sense of the word! 

If you choose to create space for a meditation practice in your life, remember that it is a  practice, and not the pursuit of perfection. Allowing yourself even five minutes to sit quietly and focus on your breathing will feel like a full-body tune up, and give you a few moments of respite from life’s daily demands.