If a racing mind is keeping you up at night, meditation might be just the sleep aid that you need. The mind-calming practice can be done at bedtime—or anytime during the day—to help fight fatigue and insomnia. By practicing relaxing, whenever you do it, you learn how to let go of the stresses of the day. Think of it like exercising a muscle that gets stronger over time. This allows you to tap into that same ready relaxation state when it’s time to say goodnight.
In fact, meditation, the practice of intentionally quieting or focusing the mind, creates physiological changes that are similar to those that happen in your body during the early phases of sleep. Your pulse slows, blood pressure drops, and stress hormones decrease. Being able to get to that state on demand means that you’ll have an easier time drifting off when you want to.
There are a few different styles of meditation, and experimentation can help you to find the right fit for you.
The most popular form of meditation, mindfulness meditation involves simply paying attention to your body—and nothing else. You might become more aware of the sound of your breath or the feeling of the floor underneath you, for example. If your thoughts wander to your to-do list or something outside the present moment, just observe that and try to steer yourself back to being mindful without judging yourself.
In this type of meditation, focus your awareness on one specific thing. You could zero in on the flame from a candle or repeat a mantra out loud, such as “I am at peace.” For some beginners, having a point of focus is helpful in quieting the mind and relaxing fully.
In guided meditation, you listen to another person who leads you through your meditation practice. An instructor might tell you to focus on relaxing your toes, then your legs, and so on—all the way up your body. Or he or she might lead you through guided imagery, asking you to imagine, for example, a beautiful, white sand beach with water lapping onto the shore. Guided imagery can also be used for performance. For example, an athlete might imagine herself mastering a technical skill, or an executive might imagine himself confidently delivering a presentation. You can do guided meditation with an individual coach, as a part of a class, or by using a recording. For recordings, search your local library, bookstore, or app store on your phone. YouTube.com provides some free options, too.
Meditation can take some practice to master, so be patient. Try starting with just a few minutes before bed, and work your way up to 15 or 20 minutes a day.
What is meditation?
First, what is meditation? Meditation is a practice that trains your mind. If that sounds a little vague, it’s because there are many types of meditation done for different purposes.
One of the most popular meditation practices in the U.S. is Transcendental Meditation, or TM for short. Transcendental Meditation is practiced twice a day for 20 minutes. During this time you sit comfortably with your eyes closed and silently repeat a mantra. A great resource on TM is the book Transcendence by Dr. Norman Rosenthal. I learned TM a few years ago and I wrote a blog post about how powerful it is.
Another popular practice in the U.S. is mindfulness meditation, which is based on stillness and calming the mind. Mindfulness meditation often involves sitting comfortably and paying attention to your breath, your physical sensations and your environment. When your mind wanders, you gently bring it back to the present.
I teach Kundalini meditation. This type of meditation uses mantras, breath work, mudras (hand positions) and even physical movements. All the meditations in my book Miracles Now are Kundalini practices. But even before I became a student of Kundalini yoga and meditation, I designed my own stillness practice based on different tools I’d learned throughout my life.
I love guided meditations because they’re very easy to follow. During a guided meditation, a meditation teacher guides you (in person or via audio or video) through a meditation practice. Guided meditations are great for both beginners and long-term meditators!
I created a free 4-track meditation album that you can download instantly. All you have to do is press play, listen and follow my guidance!
The benefits of meditation
The benefits of meditation include decreased stress and anxiety, increased mental clarity, better sleep and so much more. I’ve meditated every day for nearly 15 years. I owe my happiness, health and awesome life to this one simple tool! Through my meditation I have learned how to boost my immune system, release my fears and heighten my intuition. My daily meditation practice has given me an internal power that supports all that I bring forth in the world.
This is a big promise. And I know it might even sound intimidating. But even if you’ve never meditated a day in your life, or if everything you’ve tried so far has left you feeling frustrated, I want you to know something. Meditation is a practice for everyone. That includes you.
You too can experience this groovy power, intuition and connection by following the simple meditation steps outlined below. Remember that we call meditation a “practice” because that’s exactly what it is. It is a habit. You do it to feel good. To get grounded. To calm and clear your mind and energize your body. You can begin experiencing the benefits of meditation right away. And over time they will grow greater and greater.
To help you demystify your meditation practice, I’ve created a beginner’s guide of 10 tips. These tips will help you start your own meditation practice, stick to it, love it and experience awesome benefits.
Get a new guided meditation every month!
Want fresh guided meditations every month? Check out my Miracle Membership! You’ll get a new guided meditation from me each month so you can try different styles of meditation and stay consistent on your spiritual path. There’s a lot more to the Membership. Click here to check it out!