When it comes to making personal New Year’s resolutions, the majority of them are geared towards making more sensible food choices and buying a gym membership. However, to adopt an overall healthier lifestyle, it’s important to put as much emphasis on bettering our minds as we do our bodies.


What is meditation?
According to Yoga International, “Meditation is a precise technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is totally different from the normal waking state. The mind is clear, relaxed and inwardly focused. When you meditate, you are fully awake and alert, but your mind is not focused on the external world or on the vents taking place around you.”

What are the benefits of meditation?
It reduces stress.
Meditation allows you to take charge of your own emotions. Various studies have shown that meditating for just a few minutes a day greatly reduces anxiety.

It improves concentration.
Meditation has been linked to a number of things that lead to the increased ability to focus. Greater concentration is related to the higher amount of energy that meditation provides.

It benefits cardiovascular and immune health.
Studies show that meditation has been directly linked to lowering blood pressure. Relaxation increases the compound nitric oxide that causes blood vessels to open up, and ultimately causes blood pressure to drop.

What is mindfulness meditation?
Mindfulness is a popular practice that acknowledges reality, lets the mind wander, and accepts thoughts as they come and go. During your practice, you should pay close attention to your posture, gaze, breath, and thoughts.

How to practice mindfulness meditation:
Posture.
It starts with keeping an upright posture. Develop a solid situation where your shoulders and hips are level and your spine is stacked up. Use this posture to remain relaxed and awake throughout the meditation.

Gaze.
The fewer the distractions, the better. Your eyes should be open but not staring. Maintaining a soft, downward gaze helps you to purposely ignore what is going on around you.

Breath.
After you develop a sense of your body and where you are, you’ll begin to notice your breath. Your breath should be natural and not forced. With each inhale and exhale, you’ll become more relaxed.

Thoughts.
It takes too much effort to try and force your thoughts out; your mind will wander regardless. Letting the thoughts come and go as they please and refocusing on the breaths will help you stay mindful.

5 tips for meditation:

  1. Choose a convenient time to practice—either morning or night.
  2. Select a quiet place with few distractions.
  3. Find a seated position that is most comfortable for you.
  4. Check to see how your mind and body feel in the moment.
  5. Appreciate that you’ve taken time for yourself.

Consider adding meditation to your list of resolutions, and enjoy a healthy body AND mind this New Year.