Hello my beautiful souls!
Welcome back to the Modern Manifestation blog. Feel free to listen in to today's topic in the podcast.
Meditation... just like drinking water, taking vitamins, and stretching after each workout, for many of us, meditation is the thing we all want to do, but few of us commit to long term.
Because meditation is mentally challenging. Even though you're literally just sitting there, it takes a lot of mental focus and effort to fight against our daily habits and our "monkey mind". It is uncomfortable and few of us intentionally seek discomfort in our modern day.
I used to sit my ass down on the mat, only to give up after a few minutes. I couldn't handle the annoying thoughts peppering my brain, the draw to do ANYTHING else, and the need to get moving.
In fact for many years, I was the person who always wanted to meditate, but never did. Okay... to be honest, I didn’t really want to meditate… I liked the idea of meditating.
I would visualize myself going on vacations and sitting on a beach, losing myself in a meditation practice. Or sitting on my porch during a thunderstorm, peacefully becoming one with nature as rain came down outside. Or sitting in a park meditating as the world moved on around me. I loved the idea of what it would look and feel like to meditate, but every time I sat my ass down to do it…. I couldn’t last more than a few minutes because the idea of meditating was always better than the actual practice.
I loved believing that I had the potential to become a meditator, but never truly gave the practice a fair shot.
To be honest, I’m not really sure when I officially transitioned into actually meditating… but it didn’t occur until I read at least 5 books about it, listened to a million podcast episodes about it, and was recommended to embrace this practice by every spiritual practitioner I ran into. Even then, it still took me years of resisting a meditation before I actually started my practice.
I looked at meditation the same way I looked at taking vitamins, meal prepping, and foam rolling… I knew it would be really good for me, but that didn't mean I was eager to do it consistently.
One of the first books I read that really started to change my mind about meditation was Dr. Joe Dispenza’s “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself” followed by “Becoming Supernatural” (Amazon Affiliate). Dr. Joe talks about what meditation does to the brain, to your neural networks, and how this practice can influence your overall energy field. In other words, how to begin changing your identity, so manifestation becomes natural.
Anyone that has read my blog or listened to my podcast long enough knows that I believe we manifest our energy, or our identities, and the best way to change our energy and our identity is to adopt a meditation practice.
How Meditation Changed Me After 3 Months
Soon after reading Joe Dispenza's books, I made the decision to commit to a meditation practice, at least temporarily. After about 3 months of meditating semi-consistently… I began to notice shifts in myself.
The changes I noticed started small at first, but they gradually became more and more apparent. The first change I became aware of was that I was able to focus better (huge win for my ADHD). I could remain focused on a task longer, without getting distracted by other things. I also found myself better able to prioritize in my head instead of becoming overwhelmed. If you are someone who struggles with ADHD, I highly recommend meditation for this reason alone.
Another change I noticed was that I was able to sleep better and I was more relaxed. I won't say I was the epitome of zen.... I think I'll need many more years of therapy and stress relief until I get to that place, but I found myself finding more moments where I could relax more than I was. Where my anxiety took a breather for 5, 10, even 15 minutes. As someone who constantly feels anxious, this was better than a spa day because I could tap into this each day.
The biggest change I noticed, however, was that I was becoming significantly more emotionally resilient. So much so, that even my therapist took notice! Whenever I used to get upset or overwhelmed, my default reaction always involved blowing up in anger, or more appropriately, frustration.
I come from a family where you repress, repress, repress and bottle shit up until you *pop*. My *pops* would always materialize as outbursts that would seemingly come out of nowhere—because of someone’s driving, or the house being a mess, or something not getting done the way I wanted it to… and usually, my outbursts weren’t warranted for the situation at hand. I would explode because I couldn’t emotionally handle my negative emotions, so I allowed them to pile on until I couldn’t take any more pressure—and I would burst like an over inflated balloon. Afterward, I would feel embarrassed because I got angry over something so small, so ridiculous, and then I'd feel shame. I repeated this cycle for decades.
I'll never forget one night with Evan: I was already wound up tight (per usual), so one night when he left a few dishes in the sink after I'd cleaned, I exploded in a rage and stomped to the bedroom to slam the door. I immediately burst into tears afterward. I was immediately embarrassed by my actions because I knew that was not how you behave as an adult. And yet, it was how I was feeling. Like a toddler who needed to throw a tantrum because I couldn't handle big emotions. I was never given the tools to deal with big emotions, so I didn't have a strong ability to emotionally regulate.
Given my experience, it may not come as a surprise to you that I was very aware of my own behavior.
After about 3 - 4 months of meditation, it dawned on me that I was experiencing less outbursts and more controlled responses. I wasn't getting worked up as easily. I wasn't as explosive. I wasn't sweating the small stuff as often. This was a huge shift for me (especially for my marriage). Emotions simply didn't rule my life like they had previously.
Meditation created a space for me to experience my emotions in a healthy way so that I don't bottle them up.
Becoming more emotionally resilient, and stable, means that I’m not thrown off of my game as easily. I’m not thrown into a bad mood or allow bad habits to resurface because I had an off day or an off moment.
Meditation has changed my response to my emotions, for the better. Establishing a practice has changed my relationship to my emotions, so that I’m no longer ruled by negative experiences.
I don’t want to sound like a cliché, but meditation has changed my life. I hope you consider letting it change yours.
What is meditation?
Meditation is two things:
1. The practice of focusing your energy and your mind on something. You can choose to focus on space (or nothing-ness), you can focus on mindfulness, self-compassion, self-love, loving kindness for all, you can focus on your bodily sensations, your external environment, your internal environment… there is no limit to the type of focus you bring to your meditation practice. It is simply the act of focusing your energy on something.
2. It allows you to connect with yourself more fully, so you can have a healthier relationship with YOU. It is the ultimate form of dating yourself. For many years, I can honestly say that I didn’t like myself very much. I was a mean girl, to me. I could lend everyone a hand around me, except myself. Meditation helped me heal my most important relationship—the one with myself.
Meditation is more than just sitting in silence—it's an invitation to connect with our true selves and tap into the infinite wisdom that resides within. Meditation is a way for us to discover who we are, our true self, by shifting our focus.
Meditating is not a quick fix, but it is one of the BEST tools we have in our manifestation tool boxes. If the rest of the meditation tools were different types of meals, meditation would be breakfast. It is the foundation for your personal development. Do you want to reduce your negative thoughts, create a mindset that manifests for you, and experience more joy? This all starts with meditation.
I guarantee a consistent meditation practice will have a direct impact on your life. Give yourself 6 months of practicing at least 3 minutes a day and you will begin to see what I mean.
Now, let’s jump into the benefits.
The Benefits of Meditation
Research has shown that the benefits of meditation come from the challenge of meditation. It isn’t meant to be easy. Our growth comes from the fact that it is uncomfortable.
Because it is challenging, a regular meditation practice allows us to rewire our brain circuitry and recalibrate our hormones, so we can reduce stress and anxiety, improve emotional well-being, enhance concentration, and even promote better sleep. It's like pressing the pause button on the chaos of everyday life and granting ourselves the gift of inner tranquility. But to get there, we have to fight for it. Meditation is difficult to practice, but it is worth it.
So let’s dive deeper into just a few of the benefits that a regular meditation practice can have on our lives:
1. Stress Reduction: Meditation is best known for its ability to reduce stress levels. Through bodily awareness and mindfulness, we can activate the body's relaxation response, or our parasympathetic system. Activating this rest and digest system counteracts the physiological and psychological effects of stress on our bodies and mind by reducing the levels of our stress hormone, cortisol. If you ever find yourself in a state of fight or flight, the best thing you can do (as long as you’re not in a life-threatening situation) is to take one minute to stop and meditate. Seriously. This tip has kept me from making terrible decisions AND it has also improved my mental health. Overwhelmed by a project that was just dumped on you? Take a second to sit with the shit for one minute. Did you just receive a very passive aggressive text that you want to angrily respond to? Take a minute. Do you have 1000 errands to run today? Great, take a minute first. The less time you have to meditate, the more you need it. Overtime, you will experience more peace.
2. Improved Emotional Well-being: This benefit is 1000% tied to my personal experience. Meditation offers a powerful tool for managing and regulating emotions. By observing our thoughts and feelings without judgment, we develop a greater understanding of our emotional patterns and can respond to them with greater clarity and compassion. We become more resilient and better able to withstand discomfort. So instead of judging ourselves for negative emotions, we allow them to exist and we create space for them. This practice keeps these emotions from storing within our body and wreaking havoc later, which leads to improved emotional resilience, enhanced self-awareness, and a greater ability to navigate challenging situations. Additionally, a long term (and consistent) meditation practice has been shown by researchers to be just as effective as anti-depressants for symptoms of depression. To learn more about this, check out the link below for Altered Traits. Of course, do your own research and consult your doctors before you make any changes to your health care. Meditation is uncomfortable, therefore it builds resilience within us. It also improves our tolerance for failure; allowing us to take greater risks and try new things. In other words, we are more likely to go after the things we want in life. This is a great tool that will help you take inspired action.
3. Enhanced Mental Clarity and Focus: If you also suffer from ADHD or any of the other neurodivergent labels, this one is for you. Through consistent meditation, we cultivate the ability to quiet the incessant chatter of the mind and enter a state of focused awareness. This heightened clarity even extends beyond the meditation practice, allowing us to approach tasks with greater focus, efficiency, and creativity throughout the day. In fact, meditation is one of the only things we can do to help quiet our monkey mind over time. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but meditation is like a system defrag for your brain, organizing bits of material into more searchable categories. The “monkey mind” is directly correlated with being unhappy. The more disorganized our brain, the less happy we report ourselves to be. Meditation also decreases the activity of the default mode network (DMN) where the monkey mind and wandering takes place, allowing us to feel more at peace, focused, and therefore… happy!
For more information about how meditation can impact your ability to focus, regulate, and many other benefits, check out Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Can Change the Mind, Brain, and Body
4. Improved Physical Health: Studies have shown that meditation can have positive effects on our bodies. People that consistently meditate tend to have lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease, improved immune function, and even reduced perception of physical pain. In one study, people who meditated consistently could withstand temperatures 5 degrees hotter and colder than the average person. They also reported less emotional pain and increased compassion to life altering events such as death, divorce, and lay offs. Of course these events still hurt to experience, but their ability to move through the emotions effectively allowed them to regain a sense of normalcy, sooner than those who did not have a practice.
5. Better Sleep: In a world filled with distractions and stimuli, mainly from our phones, many of us struggle with falling and staying asleep. Instead of reaching for a bottle of melatonin, take note that meditation can be a powerful remedy for insomnia and other sleep disorders. By promoting relaxation, reducing anxiety, and quieting the mind, meditation prepares the body and mind for a restful night's sleep, leading to improved sleep quality and waking up feeling refreshed. On days when I didn’t get a chance to meditate, I will listen to one of the guided sleeping meditations which not only helps me fall asleep quicker, but I can’t help but feel very productive for accomplishing two things with one task. Instead of reaching for a bottle of melatonin, try adopting a nighttime meditation practice to help you quiet your mind before bed.
6. Increased Self-awareness and Acceptance: Meditation encourages us to become aware of our thoughts, patterns, and beliefs without judgement. Instead of trying to change something about ourselves, practicing mindfulness encourages us to accept what is and simple become aware of it. As you continuously find yourself sitting in meditation, you will start to recognize your own habits, thoughts, and stories that you're stuck in. Overtime, you will begin to recognize these brain loops for what they are, so you can choose differently in the future. And like I always say, once you become aware… you cannot help but change. With this awareness comes the opportunity for self-growth, self-compassion, and ultimately, self-acceptance
7. Improving of Compassion and Empathy: Meditation can improve our capacity to show and express compassion and empathy for others, but more importantly, for ourselves. Regularly engaging in this practice can lead to greater empathy, kindness, and a deeper sense of connection with others. This can have a profound impact on our relationships, fostering harmony, understanding, and positive social interactions. This also allows us to become more loving toward ourselves, creating less stress and self-harm along the way. The more compassion and empathy we have for ourselves, they more we can show up for others.
8. Improvements to Brain Function: This is likely the most exciting benefit of meditation. Science is finally able to show us, through fMRI’s and EEGs, that meditation has a direct impact on the structure of our brains—for the better. In one study, it was found that people who consistently meditated had more grey matter than those who did not. More grey matter is associated with individuals who have better cognitive functioning and a reduced likelihood of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s. In other words, meditation is an exercise for your brain that keeps you healthy and mentally present, longer. And that’s not all! Meditation has also proven to preserve our brains better as we age by enhancing connectivity between different brain regions, increasing the size of our hippocampus (which is responsible for learning and memory), decreasing the size of our amygdala (which is responsible for fear, anxiety, and stress), improving the connection between our pre-frontal cortex (which is where our reasoning comes from) and our amygdala, so that we’re less reactive and more reasonable, and so much more.
If you want to nerd out and learn more about how the brain is impacted by meditation, check out the Huberman Lab’s podcast episode on meditation (#96). Dr. Huberman is a neuroscientist at Stanford who began studying the impacts that meditation has on the brain and his work his FASCINATING. If you have a person in your life who is not into spirituality AT ALL, have them listen to this podcast episode at a minimum. It’s as scientific as you can get as he dives deep into the impact that meditation has on the structures of the brain. In fact, you all should go listen to that as well for some added motivation. It's almost 2 hours long, so you can tune in on a long drive or walk. Check out his links below!
9. Manifestation Super Power: The last (and perhaps most important) benefit of meditation is that I believe it is a superpower for manifestation. Not only does meditation help us balance our nervous system and make us more resilient, but it allows us to focus our intentions and awareness on the things that matter most to us. Instead of allowing ourselves to get distracted by the million things that pop into our minds throughout the day, we’re better able to control the thoughts that come and go. If you’ve ever asked yourself something like “How do I stop having so many negative thoughts?” or “How do I stop resisting?” or “What can I do to manifest the things I want on autopilot?” Well, this is the thing. It may not be easy, but this is the golden ticket. Meditation is encouragement of the absence of thought, so it’s also a practice in the absence of resistance. Meditation can create an opening for allowing and receiving. When we get to this state everyday, we’re creating a doorway for the things we want to manifest.
Y’all, if it isn't abundantly clear, meditation is the one thing that I wish everyone and their mom would do. The benefits I’ve mentioned above barely scratch the surface of what meditation can do for you.
If you’re really serious about creating a life that you enjoy, take this to heart and begin your own meditation journey.
Start off with just 3 minutes a day. According to Dr. Huberman of the Huberman Lab Podcast, 13 minutes is the ideal minimum amount, 5 minutes is the second best minimum, and 3 minutes is the absolute minimum in order to begin impacting your brain in positive ways.
A meditation practice does not require that you set aside 2 hours. It just requires 3 minutes a day, to start.
3 minutes to completely change your physical, psychological, and spiritual health.
3 minutes to help you manifest the life you want.
180 seconds of work to help you reach your goals—seems worth it to me. What about you?
Stay tuned for another blog post about the different types of meditation, coming soon. <3
Thank you for hanging out with me today. I will catch you in the next post!
Check out this discussion in podcast form:
Additional Resources Mentioned:
Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself (Dr. Joe Dispenza)
Becoming Supernatural (Dr. Joe Dispenza)
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