Does the idea of meditation make you picture a monk sitting on top of some remote mountain chanting “OM” over and over? It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of yoga, and while the postures (or asana practice) are what most people think about when it comes to yoga, meditation is actually one of the most disciplined practices in yoga. And if at times you’re losing motivation or encountering high levels in stress in your daily life, it may be time to explore the art of written meditation.
Written meditation is just fancy talk for “journaling”. It’s an opportunity to reflect on the day, with an emphasis on the positive versus “What Went Wrong Today”. I can’t tell you how many people I have encountered who become so fixated on what “bad thing” they did that day when it comes to eating, that they completely overlook their good habits and progress. Putting more positivity in our lives doesn’t just make us feel better mentally, but there is also research that shows people who are more positive have better health outcomes.
Stress that we build up in our minds causes poor digestion, inflammation, sickness, and even leads to weight gain from our stress hormones working overtime. Not to mention poor sleep at night due to our minds replaying the good, the bad, or what needs to get done tomorrow. And yes, poor sleep habits have also been connected to weight gain and negative health outcomes due to the body never fully resting in that deep sleep state.
Do your written meditation each night just before going to bed. The first step to starting your written meditation practice is get a good old fashioned notebook and pen. While it’s tempting to keep a digital journal, research has shown that exposure to screens at night prior to bedtime can lead to poor sleep due to brain overactivity and excess stimulation. Keep the journal next to your bed to serve as a reminder.
Remember the key is to focus on the POSITIVE and not dwell on negative occurrences. If something bad did happen that day, describe how you can learn and grow from that experience. Remember- you can’t change the past. While some people may want to write about every detail of their day, a great place to start is to focus on the following three things each night:
- One thing (or person) that you are thankful for today.
- One good thing that happened to you today.
- One thing that makes you happy overall.
The info in your written meditation can be just for yourself. But to truly connect the mind, body, and create a positive environment, it’s recommended to share the above with your significant other. It’s a chance to connect on a more personal level and drop our guards a little bit. And if your significant other is the reason for your happiness or gratitude, don’t you think they’d appreciate hearing that?