Meditation. Turns out, the kooky monkey from the Lion King was right all along, being an enlightened being really does help when fighting off a pack of hyenas. Or in our world, specifically, our state of health, it helps in warding off stress.
Stress is the door buster in beating on your immune system. And we all know by now, that a weak immune system is the golden ticket for becoming sick. And now is not the time to succumb to our fears, stresses and anxieties with the big bad Covid-19 running amuck. Besides the obvious healthy building blocks of quality nutrition, proper exercise and quality sleep, another tool we can add is meditation. Mediation can SUPER boost our immune response.
Meditation is learning to work with the mind. The Cambridge dictionary defines meditation as “the act of giving your attention to only one thing, either as a religions activity or as a way of becoming calm and relaxed,” or “serious thought or study, or the product of this activity.” Through the intentional state of meditation, you focus your mind on the present rather than letting the mind over run you with stress and anxiety. When your mind is calm the body is calm. Same goes for the other, when the mind is fearful, so the body. So how does this help in such a situation as fighting off a virus such as the big bad Covid-19?
When the body is busy living frantically in fear and stress, the immune system weakens. It not only weakens, but it practically flashes a neon sign “OPEN” inviting any illness, such as the Coronavirus, to come make themselves at home. By taming the stress and fear, your immune system can better focus on fighting off viruses and diseases.
Meditation can be a real struggle for people, especially for those who aren’t used to sitting still. Two years ago, when I was learning the practice of mediation, I definitely was frustrated. But I made the mistake of having unrealistic goals, like sitting lotus for thirty minutes at 5am… I spent more time trying to stay awake than achieving that blissful “ohm” vibe.
So, for beginners and for those who struggle, here are some great ways to start.
1. Intention- set your goal before you begin, tell your mind and body, this time is for serenity. Or send prayer to God, Source, insert belief system here, for releasing stress, anxieties and worries.
2. Quality over quantity- its better to have 5 minutes of an intentional clear calm mind than 15 minutes of frustration.
3. Start with 5 minutes- For your first session, start with 5 minutes, then each session moving forward, add 1 minute.
4. Set your alarm- Failing to do this only tempts you to keep checking the time.
5. Ditch the phone- Either set your phone on airplane mode or leave it in another room entirely. My strongest suggestion, is meditate BEFORE you give in to your Facebook/Insta/Email cravings.
6. Sit as you wish- There’s no real rules for meditating. Sit in a chair, lie down, or if you can, sit in lotus with a nice straight back. Seriously, the goal is to get comfortable so you can calm your mind. (To start, I would sit with my back against the wall)
7. Close your eyes and just breathe- either in your nose, out your mouth, or both inhale and exhale out your mouth, again whatever is best for you to calm the mind.
8. Eye target- if closing your eyes still brings up distractions and frustations, then find a target just above your eyeline and stare at it. Or light a candle and stare into the flame.
9. Noises- if meditation and sitting quietly doesn’t work, listen for sounds and call them out. (Car passing by, the clock ticking, dog drinking water, meditation music, waves crashing, rain on roof) Focusing on the present sounds and things around you, bring you down into the present moment.
10. Mindful Meditation- Mindful mediation tends to be the easiest for beginners, its just focusing on your breathing, and bringing your focus back to it when it wanders. That’s it.
There are many other mediations of practice, but this is a great foundation for establishing habits of focusing the mind. I should mention that, not every meditation is going to pure bliss. Sometimes, it’s just you catching your train of thought, stopping them over and over. And that’s okay too. Great actually, because you are training your mind by consciously stopping the chaos before it really takes sending your body in a sick-inviting-frenzy. Remember, stress weakens your immune system. And as above, so below. A chaotic mind is a chaotic body. So, go and get your Namaste on my friends.
Meditation challenge! For 21 days, meditate for 10minutes every day!