The Secret to a Happy and Healthy Life: It's All in Your Mind

The definition of health, when we were little, used to be as simple as watching our grandparents drink a spoonful of fish oil and wash it down with orange juice. Oats for breakfast, fish for dinner, and a nap before walking the dog - it was as simple as that, and it kept them going. Today, being healthy seems to be a lot more complicated. Every decision you make, whether it’s deciding what to have for dinner, when you should wake up, or if you should go for that run, are contributing factors - and it’s no wonder that most of us feel overwhelmed when it comes to health.

The Secret to a Happy and Healthy Life: It's All in Your Mind
Tree and Water Image via Pixabay

Something that is supposed to be simple and natural has turned into a money-eating beast of super foods, yoga classes, and purified water, and it’s difficult to say if you’re actually healthy or just living on the edge. Fear no more; here is the single most important step you can take to a long and healthy life, keeping your mind happy, and maybe even away from costly medical bills.

Understanding Meditation

Did you know that chronic stress is terrible for your health? Sure, you do; it keeps your brain in a constant state of flight-or-fight, making your blood pressure rise, heart rate increase, and makes you experience awful days of sweating and stressing for no specific reason.

A lot of people struggle with issues that have arisen due to stress - but rather than digging the problem up by the root, they try to cover the symptoms. The truth is that if you are relaxed and balanced, you won’t feel anxious, sweaty, and stressed during normal situations, such as being social or raising your voice to speak up.

The best way to deal with your anxious nervous system is to give it a daily dose of meditation. It might not make you live forever, or take care of your current health problems immediately - but if you give it time, people swear that it may decrease stress, anxiety, and depression, boost your immune system, increase your overall happiness - the list goes on.

Making an honest attempt at reducing stress in your life will keep your doctor away as well as certain financial instruments to tackle health issues you may develop later in life. If you’re convinced by now, it’s time to find a quiet and comfortable spot before taking a deep breath.

How Do I Do It?

There is no right or wrong way to meditate, and if anybody tells you so, they’re not the kind of person you should keep around for motivation. To meditate is a highly personal experience; it’s about creating a moment of peace for yourself to relax in, turning your mind inwards, and finding a thought or a word to focus on.

The idea is that when you’re absorbed in something, such as in the middle of a long jog, when you’re deeply focused on listening to music, or in the zone of creating art, you’re no longer allowing room for the crazy and stressed-out you. The one you have to deal with when you’re running late for a meeting, when you’re looking over your finances or having to call a perfect stranger when you’d rather deal with your own company - that person is gone when you meditate.

It’s empowering, and you’ll be able to actually listen to yourself without being overshadowed by your anxious persona.

The Basics of Meditation

If you’ve tried to meditate before but find yourself restless after five minutes, it’s a good idea to exercise first. A calm mind requires a calm and relaxed body; you’re not going to achieve that if your organism wants to move. Go for a run, for example, or keep it real and do a quick session of yoga. That way, you’ll be able to practice breathing techniques at the same time and prepare your mind for meditation.

Sit comfortably and try to stretch your spine upwards, almost as if a string is pulling you from the crown of your head - tall and proud. To focus your mind, try a specific sound, feeling, or thought - some beginners find it easy to focus on a color rather than a sound in order to clear their mind. You can try to focus on a body part, for example, and bring your attention to relax each one. If you’ve gone for the yoga option to release some physical energy first, you can practice this when you’re lying flat in savasana on the floor.

Start with your toes, then your foot, the ankle, and work your way upwards. By the end of this routine, you’ll feel your mind and body completely relaxed.

Meditation is all about continuing to practice and reap the benefits as you go. It will take time to get into it, and don’t expect to fall in love with this the first couple of sessions. When you start to notice the changes within yourself, however, you’re going to enjoy the time you have to practice - and make it a time that’s only yours.

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