When we say the word “meditation,” what do you think of? Someone crossed-legged, hands upturned, eyes closed and chanting a few ‘ommm’s…?’ And what would your answer be if we asked you why do you meditate? And what are the benefits of meditation?
A few common answers might mention the terms relaxation, mindfulness and tranquillity. Which, while true, they're just the tip of the iceberg. You see, consistent meditation can actually help rewire the brain to improve cognitive function, memory and focus.
So read on to discover some of our favourite meditation tips and benefits.
Meditation Benefits - What’s So Good About It Anyway?
Okay, so we slightly touched on the relaxation bit. And yes, meditation will most definitely help the body to relax. But that’s just the beginning. You see, once your body has relaxed, that’s when the good stuff happens. Because slowing down, staying still and focusing on the moment all contribute to you achieving mindfulness, which can boost decision-making and stress management.
Not only that, long-term meditation can increase attention span, reduce mind wandering and improve our ability to solve problems. According to Headspace, this is because regular meditation has the ability to build up areas of the brain and actually rewire it to enhance positive traits (like focus and decision making) and diminish the less positive ones (like fear and stress). This means that meditation has the potential to change the way the brain processes and reacts in times of stress, pain and uncertainty. So unsurprisingly, meditation can also lead to better sleep, reduced memory loss, lower blood pressure, decreased symptoms in chronic pain and improved happiness.
Okay, now that we know why we should do it, what are the most important tips for meditation?
1. Forget everything you think you know about meditation
Weird tip to start with we know, but just stay with us. Many people tend to have a fixed idea of what meditation is supposed to look and feel like. And then they get frustrated when their meditative experience doesn’t quite match their expectation. Can’t stop thinking while your mind is supposed to be blank? That’s okay! You find crossed legs to be uncomfortable? Totally fine, extend them instead! Let go of what you think meditation is supposed to be like, and embrace your own version of it.
2. Get comfortable
One of the most important tips for meditation is to ensure you’re practising in a comfortable and uninterrupted space. It doesn’t matter where – you could be lying on the floor, sitting on a cushion or reclined in your office chair. As long as you’re comfortable and free from distractions, the space is right for you. The more comfortable you are, the deeper and longer your meditation will be.
3. Focus on your breathing
This may sound like an obvious one, but it’s dang important. The essence of mindful meditation is simply about bringing awareness back to your breathing, over and over again. Focus on your lungs filling and deflating with air… And everything else tends to float away, too. Using your breathing as an anchor can also stop your mind from wandering too far and letting those pesky distractions in. This brings us to our next point…
4. Don’t worry if your mind wanders
Okay, I know we just contradicted ourselves, but it’s important to know that mind wandering is completely normal! When it happens, don’t get frustrated. Just re-focus on the meditation as best as you can - there’s no need for judgement or anger. Remember that some days will be better than others.
5. Consistency is key
To truly feel the benefits of meditation, make it a part of your daily routine. A 2018 study found that meditating for just 15 minutes a day promoted positive wellbeing and decreased stress levels, having the same effect on the body as taking a holiday would! Start with a couple of minutes each day and then slowly build it up.
Already have your routine in place and just want to know how to meditate longer? There are many benefits to lengthening your meditation time, with longer sitting times helping to calm the nervous system and establish a still and tranquil mind. Once again, it’s in the consistency of the practise. In the same way that a muscle is strengthened by repetitions of a certain movement – your mind can be strengthened the longer you meditate. Try adding a few minutes onto your session at a time - until longer meditative sessions becomes the norm, rather than the exception.
6. Try the use of nootropics for meditation
Never heard of them? Nootropics (AKA ‘smart drugs’) are known as synthetic or natural substances that can be taken to improve mental performance and focus in healthy people. Nootropics are often referred to as ‘cognitive enhancers,’ and can be used in attempt to improve memory, increase mental alertness and boost energy levels and wakefulness.
On that note, let us introduce you to the Lion’s Mane mushroom. Named for its white shaggy appearance, Lion’s Mane absolutely roars with health and cognitive benefits, and is extremely effective at stimulating Nerve Growth Factor within the brain. So much so, that it was known as a “brain tonic” amongst Buddhist monks who would brew it as tea prior to meditation. They believed this would improve clarity and focus within their practice. The mushroom also acts as a powerful catalyst for brain cell regeneration to help improve memory and cognition, while helping to eliminate brain fog and lower stress levels.
Lion’s Mane can be enjoyed in a variety of ways… Here at Natura Mushrooms, we offer both the Lion’s Mane Mushroom Powder and the Lion’s Mane Mushroom Dual Liquid Extract. If you’re unsure about which form is right for you, check out our blog post here on the differences between mushroom powders and mushroom extracts. We recommend taking:
- ½ a teaspoon of Lion’s Mane powder daily, or
- 2ml of Lion’s Mane Dual Liquid Extract per day
As always, make sure you chat with your doctor prior to taking Lion’s Mane as a supplement.
The Lion’s Mane Dual Liquid is infused with native botanicals, so you can enjoy the rich flavours of Davidson Plum, Quandong, Strawberry Gum, Lemon Myrtle and Mountain Pepperberry (plus, enjoy the extra boost of antioxidants, vitamin C and vitamin E that come with it). Better yet, our Lion’s Mane mushroom is 100% Australian-grown, organic and sustainably harvested right here on our farm in Gippsland, Victoria.