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That Was Zen, This is Now

One of my goals this year is to be more mindful, to live more in the here and now. For years I have toyed with, even attempted to add meditation into my daily routine to no avail. I’ve always been a practicing yogi and considered myself pretty zen. Heck, I can do a sun salutation in my sleep, but consistent meditation has always been tough for me. With new reading material comes new knowledge, and I recently began my yearly book journey with Arianna Huffington’s book, Thrive.

The incredible benefits of meditation are laid out almost off the bat.  For someone who thrives on facts and research, the information provided is a dream.  A truly profound realization came at the introduction of the idea that meditation can be done on the move.  As Huffington explains, “at any time we choose, we can take a moment to bring our attention to the rising and falling of our breath without our conscious interference … To reap the benefits of it, all we have to do is become present and pay attention.”

Meditation can allow the brain to become more present and boasts a laundry list of hefty health benefits.  The National Institute of Health (NIH) has found that meditation can ease stress, lower high blood pressure, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, help regulate the immune system, boost feelings of self confidence and so much more.  It may sound too good to be true, but the fact is studies have shown that there are innumerable benefits to providing a moment of rest for your brain.

When my husband and I got our first pup together, I took to the books.  Believing I needed to be well prepared for this new endeavor, I read a myriad of online articles and a few Cesar Milan books.  A concept of Milans’ that has always stood out to me is that to maintain a happy and content dog, that dog must do something it was bred for everyday and be exercised to its energy level.  Not that we are dogs, but the idea is simple enough and seemingly applicable.  Do something everyday that makes your soul feel good, and exert your energy in healthy and meaningful ways.  Happiness is being present to enjoy the body and talents you possess, and you deserve happiness.        

Taking the first step can be the most difficult step, but I’ve found that setting aside specific time can help.  If I tell myself, “tomorrow at 10am, I’m going to sit quietly for 10 minutes,” granted my son’s sleep schedule complies, then I will take that time.  Starting small is a good way to ease into a new routine, and even mere minutes of meditation are clarifying and restorative.  There are apps that can help, providing guided meditation, and often there are local classes and retreats available, like this one coming up in February through Organic Krush.  Taking care of your mind is equally as important as taking care of your body.  Use your brain, don’t abuse it.



by Catie Zimmerman

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