What Does "Meditate" Actually Mean?

Updated: Oct 3, 2021

There have been many beneficial, positive studies to show that mediation works to improve your wellbeing. However, people still seem to either be intimidated by it or think it is this weird thing to make fun of people for doing. There is just this negative vibe around meditating... what a stigma for something with such great wellness benefits. So, what does the word meditate mean to you?


I can tell you what meditate means to me...


What Meditate Means To Me


It took me a while to start meditating. I had to get my mindset right about it first. I had these thoughts that I was just going to be horrible at it. And I don't like being horrible at things. I don't like to fail or feel like a failure. So, I simply didn't do it. I didn't want to try because I didn't want to fail at something. What an excuse.


After a while, I was able to get my mindset right around it and I did it for the first time. And to my surprise... I wasn't terrible at it. Now, I needed a little work on my breathing and how to calm my mind down to refocus on my breathing. But for the first time, I didn't do too bad.


So, I continued to practice working my minutes up. I continued to work on different ways of breathing until I found the one that I could focus on the best, which helped my mind and body feel calm.


I tried box breathing which didn't work well for me, rhythmic breathing which didn't work either, and then I landed on belly breathing. This worked best for me so this is what I continue to do.


Now that I had my fear of failing under control, the fear of the stigma around meditation came up. What will others think of me? How judgmental are others going to be when they find out I meditate? So, now I had to work on my mindset around that.


However, this didn't take long because I knew the benefits and I knew what meditation was doing for me.


After a while, I didn't shy away from telling people that I practice meditation. If they look at me weird, I just shrug it off. If they want to know why I tell them.


Why Do I Meditate


I am a very anxious person. All of the assessments that I have completed have proven this theory. This is also still something I'm working on and continuing to find out new information on how to calm my mind down.


One of the benefits I have gotten from meditation is learning how to calm my mind down on my own.


When I'm feeling anxious, I start belly breathing. And because meditation has become a habit, belly breathing instantly takes me back to calmness because I have been doing this for so long. It's second nature. For example, when someone tells you to visualize the happy place you smile. You may not know you're smiling but it is instant.


Now, this strategy does not work all the time for my anxiety which I'm in the process of finding new ways to calm down when my belly breathing doesn't work.


However, this is the most simple and most of the time effective for my everyday little anxieties that may come up.


There have been many studies that meditation helps your brain function. When your brain works right, you work right.


As a Dr. Amen Licensed Brain Health Coach, I want to practice the many things I have been taught so my brain functions properly. This way I have the experiences to help my clients. I don't want to be the coach that doesn't practice what she preaches.


Learning through Dr. Amen has also taught me to love my brain, avoid the things that hurt it, and do the things that help it.


And one of those things that help your brain is meditation.


A group of researchers studied 40 college students on meditation and found that after 5 days of it, the hormone cortisol was significantly lowered. And cortisol is your stress hormone.


I have found myself to be much calmer after practicing meditation.


So, what does "meditate" mean to me?


It means reduced anxiety, a calmer mind, and a tool I can put in my wellness toolbox for when I'm feeling anxious.


It means better brain function. I love my brain and I want to help it perform its best. Meditation is a tool that can help my brain perform every day. A better brain means a better life. This is what I strive for.


And no... it doesn't mean I have to sit in a certain position. You position yourself in a way that is comfortable to you and will give you the best meditation. Which... takes some practice to find what works best. Just enjoy the ride. Don't get frustrated, get curious!


Do the things that help your brain, avoid the things that hurt it, and love your brain every day!


If you don't know what "meditate" means to you, I challenge you to experiment with it and find out!


Ashley Allen

LIcensed Brain Health Coach

Founder of SustainaBrain


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