Hello and welcome to Motivation and Mindset Mondays! Today, let’s talk about how to develop insight with meditation. If you’re feeling burnt out, stressed, or just generally unhappy, you’re not alone. Stress is the most common reason people see their doctor, and chronic stress has been linked to depression, increased blood pressure, and many other health problems. Fortunately, there are many ways to alleviate stress and develop insight. Mindfulness meditation is one of the most accessible and effective ways to reduce stress.
One important component of mindfulness meditation is the ability to understand and accept our own emotions, as well as recognize the feelings of others. The development of emotional intelligence – the ability to identify, understand, and manage our feelings in a healthy way – is key to our overall well-being, and a practice that can help us in all aspects of our lives.
One of the best ways to develop this skill is to practice mindfulness meditation. In addition to the obvious benefits of stress reduction, increased energy, and better sleep, mindfulness practice can help us develop emotional intelligence by allowing us to recognize and understand our own emotions.
True insight doesn’t come from thinking or a book. Insight is founded in experience and can be accessed through practice. The most effective practice is that of meditation.
Meditation results in clear awareness in the absence of thinking. This is an effective state for insightfulness.
How to use meditation to gain insight:
1. Make the time.
Meditation requires practice and regular effort. Early morning and late evening seem to work the best. But 15 minutes at lunch can work, too. The more time you can spare the better, but as little as 15 minutes is enough.
2. Find a quiet place.
It’s possible to meditate under any conditions, but it’s much easier if you’re alone in quiet surroundings.
3. Find a comfortable position.
Any position can work, provided you can maintain it without fidgeting. The full lotus position can be maintained for a very long period of time, but most beginners lack the flexibility to assume this position. Try various positions. Sitting up straight in a firm chair often works well.
Once you’ve found a comfortable position, breathe and relax. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. But simple isn’t the same as easy.
5. Focus on your breath.
Maintain a focus on your breath. Feel the air moving in and out of your body. Why is meditation so focused on the breath? Because it’s happening right now. It’s part of your experience in the present.
- If you maintain awareness of your breathing, you can’t be thinking about anything else. And that’s exactly the goal: to stop your mind from thinking.
6. Continue to maintain focus on your breath.
Invariably, your attention will wander. How long it takes to realize you’ve lost your focus will vary. With practice, it will only take a few seconds. At first, it may take several minutes!
- When you do catch yourself thinking, simply notice it and bring your attention back to your breath. Avoid beating yourself up when your concentration is less than you’d like. Continue returning to your breath.
7. Apply the same idea to your daily life.
While driving, keep your mind 100% on driving. While you’re washing the dishes, do the same. When your mind wanders, bring it back to your current activity. You’ll be amazed at the peacefulness it brings to your life.
8. Enjoy the benefits.
When you’re talking to others, you’ll be able to clearly see the reality of the situation by being fully present. You’ll gain insights to people and situations that you never knew existed.
- You can apply the same practice to the challenges in your life. You’ll see the truth and solutions will present themselves to you.
9. Understand what’s really happening.
You’ve always been provided with insight, but your overactive mind, beliefs, opinions, and preconceptions have been getting in the way. Meditation clears away all of this noise and bias. You’re then able to experience true insight.
Allow yourself the advantage of all the insight available to you. Although it’s effective, meditating can take some time to master. You might not feel that you’re gaining any benefits at first. Keep at it. You’ll be well-rewarded for your efforts.
I would love to give you a free resource sheet to support your quest for a healthy mindset. Click the button below to receive your gift.
I really wanted to talk about this topic today because I wanted to share some lifestyle-based strategies to improve your overall mindset and mental health, which in turn improves your life. You must do the internal work to improve your overall health. You can do this by learning what motivates you and working each day on improving your mindset. Your thoughts control your feelings, which controls your behavior. You can cultivate certain behaviors and practices that will not only enrich your life, but that you can pass on to your family, friends, and community, so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
If you are familiar with my approach, I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle modifications, such as stress reduction and mindfulness exercises, can help you feel better about yourself and your life. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy.
Tools For Motivation And Mindset
Although you don’t need a cushion to meditate, you may want to consider using one at some point. You could meditate in a chair, or simply sit on the floor if you want. You can also use pillows or cushions from your furnishings to try out. Cushion, chair, bench, floor – it’s all good. Eventually, though, if you’re not sitting upright on a chair, you’ll probably do well to buy a dedicated meditation cushion. The cushion will support your sitting posture and help you create an appealing mindfulness corner that will encourage you to practice every day. I recommend this meditation cushion and mat bundle.
If you struggle with stress, depression, or anxiety, keeping a journal can be a great idea. Even if you don’t have these conditions, journaling can enhance your life in many ways. Having difficulty processing your thoughts and emotions? Journaling can help clear that mental clutter and move towards a positive mindset. Research suggests that keeping a journal can have positive impacts on both mental and physical health. So, to start you on your journey, I recommend this self care journal.
Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet, regular physical activity, meditation and mindfulness, as well as healthy and supportive relationships are the best ways to support mental health. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.
PPS. If you or someone you know is experiencing severe stress, anxiety, depression and/or other mental health issues, please contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889. This is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.
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