Welcome to Week 7 of the ten-week New Year Health Challenge, courtesy of Christine Kling of Body Basics LLC in Boise ID.
Meditation is the act of contemplating or reflecting, a continued or extended thought and/or devout spiritual introspection. This is actually something you do on a daily basis whether you’re in the car driving home or lying in bed trying to sleep. Most brains are reactionary though—controlled by the things around us. Training your brain to focus on one thing for an extended amount of time without distraction is an art – and also excellent for overall health.
There are five different classifications of meditation: Concentration, Reflective Meditation, Mindfulness Meditation, Heart-Centered Meditation and Creative Meditation. For the challenge, the focus will be Reflective Meditation.
Reflective meditation is also known as analytical meditation and refers to disciplined thinking. In order to successfully practice reflective meditation, you will need to choose a question, theme, or topic and focus your analysis or reflection upon it. Initially, your thoughts may wander to other topics but then you need to train your mind to come back to the topic in question. As you practice this every day, your mind will be more in control and not wander off.
There are different types of questions or reflective ideas that you can focus on, such as:
- – A peaceful or joyous time in your life
- – An inspirational or motivational quote or proverb
- – A person or an event that you are truly thankful for
- – A triumphant time—going back to that feeling of courage, strength and success
Meditation improves your emotional well-being, gives you a “super” mind and produces a healthier body. These benefits can be achieved in as little as 5 to 10 minutes of meditation—even less than that in some cases!
- Lessens worry, stress and impulsivity
- Enhances self-esteem and acceptance
- Increases optimism, relaxation and awareness
- Helps prevent emotional eating and smoking
- Improves mood and emotional intelligence
- Increases mental strength and focus
- Increases memory retention and recall
- Better cognitive skills and creative thinking
- Helps manage ADHD
- Improves immune system and energy level
- Reduces blood pressure
- Lessens inflammatory disorders and asthma
- Lessens premenstrual and menopausal syndrome
Meditation leads to gratitude
Not only does gratitude improve your mood, increase your energy and improve your sleep, but according to a study by UCSC, it literally helps your heart. The state of feeling gratitude during meditation powerfully amplifies its benefits.
During the week, try to focus on a spirit of gratitude and thankfulness during your meditation or reflective times. Quiet your mind and surroundings, then ask yourself, “Who or what am I thankful for?” Bring a person or experience to mind and meditate on the blessings in your life. This practice will bring out the grateful person in you, leading to happiness and better health.
For every day you meditate at least 5 minutes you get a point! You also get points each day if you drink enough water, sleep enough and cut out the sugar, exercise, eat a balanced breakfast, and skip the alcohol.
Total amount of points possible at end of week (not including BONUS) is 49.
Click here for Challenge Log.
Christine Kling is co-owner of Body Basics and privileged to share the business with her husband, James. Her passion for health and fitness began as a teen playing sports (basketball and tennis) and dancing, which led her to become a personal trainer and group exercise instructor at the age of 17. Struggling with a thyroid disorder and adrenal fatigue from Hashimoto’s auto-immune disorder also increased her love for helping people in the area of nutrition. She has experienced first-hand how diet and exercise can beat the odds! Youth Fitness, Pre-natal/Post-natal Fitness, Senior Fitness, Mat Sciences, and Indoor Cycling have been her areas of continued study and experience. A favorite quote of hers is “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you!”
Photo courtesy of Huffington Post.