How to start a meditation practice

Mindfulness is the foundation of my work in the Mindful Nutrition Method ™ and everything we do here at Nutrition Stripped, however most people don’t consider mindfulness an important part of their diet.

Daily mindfulness practice can support your eating habits and give you countless other benefits of meditation itself.

If you are new to mindfulness, let’s first define what it is:

Mindfulness is experiencing the present moment by becoming aware of your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, surroundings, and physical body sensations while practicing non-judgment and compassion as you observe.

This awareness assists you in the way you eat in many ways. So let’s examine why it is so important for you to use mindfulness in building your eating habits.

How a meditation practice can positively support your eating habits

1. You cultivate a positive relationship with food

There is no such thing as “right” or “wrong” diet in mindful nutrition. Mindfulness helps you let go of judgment, guilt, and perfectionism and instead learn to practice self-compassion so that you can learn from your experiences and also appreciate the many roles that food plays in your life.

2. You develop confidence in what is best for your individual needs

You will learn to develop a deeper awareness of your body and experiences that will help you discover and understand your unique needs. When you are more attuned to your body, you build confidence in how best to eat and care for yourself, which makes your eating habits so much easier.

3. You take better care of all aspects of your wellbeing

Mindful Meditation and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) have been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, physical pain, heart rate, and high blood pressure while increasing and improving emotional health, attention span, immune function, brain function, and mental function Clarity, mental focus, a sense of calm and sleep. Mindfulness itself not only has a direct impact on your wellbeing, it supports your ability to make nutritious decisions for yourself when these areas of your wellbeing are well looked after.

4 steps to creating a meditation practice

There are so many accessible ways to start meditating! Whatever your learning preference, there is a resource that includes apps, books, videos, group lessons, and one-to-one training to get you started in meditation.

1. Prepare a quiet and comfortable room

Sitting still can be a huge challenge, especially if you are just beginning your mindfulness journey. Having a comfortable place to sit dedicated to your meditation is key.

I love the avocado mattress meditation pillow because it is made from natural and organic vegan materials and has a buckwheat filling that forms a firm but comfortable base that adapts to your unique body.

I have been a long time customer of Avocado because they are committed to making products that are both high quality and better for your health, the farmers and the planet that is so important to our wellbeing.

2. Download a meditation app and start small

If you’re just starting out, the easiest way to do this is to use an app on your phone to try out guided meditations and see what type of meditation you enjoy.

Some highly rated apps are:

  1. Headroom
  2. Calm
  3. Insight timer

Once you find an app with the style of meditation you want, look for a few meditations that last 5 minutes or less. Remember, you are just getting started and it will take a little while to build patience, comfort, and ease as you sit still and clear your mind.

You don’t have to start with 30 minutes (and you may never take or want that long!). Take one step at a time and know that 2-5 minutes is more than enough to feel a shift!

This is how you strengthen your mind-body connection

3. Choose which part of your routine fits your meditation practice

Setting your alarm clock to wake up earlier may not be the best time to meditate.

Instead, look at your current day and find out where you typically have 5 to 10 minutes. This can be during your lunch break, just before bed, or in the morning while your coffee or tea is brewing.

If you build your meditation practice into your already established routine, it will be much easier for you to pull it off! Once you know what time is best for you, set a reminder or alarm on your phone or calendar so you don’t forget. It is a new habit, and this memory will be very helpful in cultivating the habit.

4. Keep a reflective journal

I can’t recommend journaling enough because it’s one of the most powerful tools out there.

You can use a journal to support you in many different ways, from food journals (i.e. what you ate, when, how you are feeling, how was your hunger, cravings, digestive problems, emotional health surrounding food, etc.), Journal records of the stress of the day to think about, journal records of what you are grateful for each morning, etc.

Physical pen and paper journaling has been shown to help improve cognitive function and information storage rather than using a digital one – so try the old ways and check in yourself.

After your mediation practice, take a few minutes to write and think about how you are feeling, what came up during the practice, and what your intentions are for your day (or the next day if you are meditating at night). This extra moment of mindfulness after a meditation practice leads you to become more attuned to your mind and body and can help you deepen your practice.

Put it into practice

Meditation is a practice for a reason. There is no wrong way to meditate, and as you practice and adjust you will find what works best for you. The beginning is the first step in cultivating a strong meditation practice.

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