As moms, it feels like our lives are centered around chaos. That’s why we are unofficially designated as the “Chaos Coordinators” of the house. I don’t know about you, but this month has been quite a month. I think we can thank Mercury for being in retrograde this month for all of the extra craziness.1
But all of the nonstop chaos made me realize that I need to make the time to do some self-care, particularly for my mind and spirit.
We all have those moments when we think, “I can’t do this.” “I give up.” “This will never happen.” “I’m not good enough.” “I’m a bad mom.” “I quit.” They can truly determine the results of our day.
We all know these thoughts are untrue, but in the middle of a bad day or week (or month), our minds can beat us down. But you know what? They can also build us up. Our minds are pretty powerful like that. This is why I have decided to try something new. Something that has been proven to help with all of these things. And that is meditation.
Meditation is a means of transforming the mind. It’s a practice that encourages and develops concentration, clarity, emotional positivity, and a calm seeing of the true nature of things. I think we all could use a little more of that.
Mindfulness can do wonders when your kid is screaming “MOMMY!” for the millionth time. But why is meditation so helpful? Research on mindfulness suggests that meditation sharpens many skills and has multiple benefits. These are some of the reasons (including their research) why I am making the time to meditate and why you should, too! Our kids and spouses will thank us later. 😉
Why Moms Need to Meditate
Meditation . . .
1. has been proven to help you focus and improve your memory.2,3 Lord knows that I need help with my memory. Lately, I have been so forgetful. Hello, mom brain!
2. boosts emotional intelligence.4
3. enhances creativity.5 Don’t you always come up with the greatest ideas when you are in the shower or some place where you are relaxed? This is not by accident.
4. encourages divergent thinking, i.e., coming up with the greatest number of possible solutions to a problem.6
5. can help decrease stress, anxiety, and depression. This includes mothers and mothers-to-be.7,8,9,10
6. It helps boost your mood.11
7. increases your sense of connection to others.12
8. makes you kinder and more compassionate, ultimately improving your relationships.13 (Our families will appreciate this.)
9. improves information processing and decision-making.14
10. makes you stronger against pain.15 This is why I think mindfulness is so important for laboring women. I always recommend my birth doula clients practice meditation so that they have that tool when they do go into labor.
11. helps manage ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).16 I don’t have ADHD, but there are times when I think my brain is all over the place. This can be so helpful.
12. improves your mood and psychological well-being.17
13. reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.18
14. reduces blood pressure.19
15. decreases inflammatory disorders.20
16. helps prevent asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease.21
17. help treat premenstrual syndrome and menopausal symptoms.22
18. reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and premature death.23
19. It may make you live longer.24
The list keeps going and going. With so many benefits and research to back it up, I’m surprised more people aren’t practicing meditation. I know now that it’s something that I need to incorporate into my life. The problem is most people—like myself—can’t simply start meditating without learning how to do it. I needed guidance when I first started.
Tips on How to Meditate
I’m sharing a few tips that can help if you want to add mindful meditation to your day, too.
Choose a peaceful environment.
You don’t want to be easily distracted or interrupted by your kids, so pick a spot in your home or somewhere else (outside is also nice) that can help you feel peaceful and calm. I recommend doing this first thing in the morning before everyone else in the house is up.
Since you will be sitting still in one place for a little while, you want to stretch out your muscles and relieve any tension or tightness in your body that you may feel. This can help you prepare your body and mind for your mindful meditation.
Make sure you’re wearing something comfortable when you meditate. (Usually not a problem for us moms. 😉 ) If you wear tight or restricting clothing, that will not help you fully relax during meditation. Removing your shoes helps, too. It’s also important to sit in a comfortable position that allows you to be balanced, straight, and tall.
You might think, “I can easily start with 10 minutes of meditation.” You’ll soon realize just how long five minutes feels. It’s a lot longer than you think when you’re remaining quiet, still, and silencing your thoughts. You may think that silence sounds like a vacation since you’re used to nonstop rowdiness from your kids. However, I recommend starting slow (five minutes) and building your time to 20-minutes.
Clear your mind.
Closing your eyes and only focusing on your breathing or a mantra (whether that’s a word, phrase, or sound) will help you block out any external stimulation or distractions. I know it can be difficult to completely clear your mind because you have so much to do and prepare for the day, but becoming aware of your normal breathing pattern and focusing on just being will help you get into your meditative space.
To make this a part of your everyday routine, you need to make an effort to practice meditation at the same time every day. I noticed that when I didn’t make the time in the morning to meditate, it wouldn’t happen. I became “too busy.” I quickly discovered that practicing every morning before I started the day gave me the energy and inner peace to handle what the day (and my son) threw at me.
The overall goal of meditation is to focus and quiet your mind, eventually reaching a higher level of awareness and inner calm. The more we practice this, the better it is for our minds and bodies.