It seems like everywhere you go people are meditating. Before COVID, in NYC, people could often be found in parks, on busses, and the subway trying to catch a few moments of Zen. Communities like MediClub and the Big Quit hosted mass meditations with thousands of people in the Oculus, at Lincoln Center, and even on tour with Oprah!
Now, on social media, there are so many free meditation offers, we would be in a constant state of bliss if we were to take up even half of them. Why is this? Well, because meditation works! Thought to have started in India, meditation is a practice and tradition that is over 5,000 years old. Meditation has many benefits including reducing anxiety and feelings of stress, and increasing the feeling of loving kindness. But it goes even further! Studies have shown it has the ability to impact the chemicals we release in our bodies that can decrease inflammation and increase feelings of joy. Gurus like Joe Dispenza even believe it can connect you to the cosmos.
However, with its increased popularity and celebrity endorsement, it almost feels like if you don’t meditate, you are not one of the “cool kids.” This creates some stress and I believe, a barrier to starting the practice. The questions “can I meditate?” or “am I good enough, cool enough or calm enough to meditate?” combined with the natural inclination of an overstimulated mind to fight the thought of taking time to “do nothing”… yikes! It is scary to think about what will come up emotionally when we do not preoccupy our minds with to-dos and TV.
So you ask, how do I start? Well, meditation is a practice and can be effective for all people who physically have a brain – no matter how “cool,” and how many thoughts are in it. To start, pick a time and duration. You don’t go to the gym and run on the treadmill for 15 miles in your first week. The same is true for your meditation practice. Click through for my recommendations on how to get started.
Jim Curtis, head of brand and health coach at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN), is here to provide advice in his new GofG series, Ask A Health Coach! He'll be answering all your mental health, lifestyle, career, relationship and spiritual wellness questions during this time and beyond.