Meditation for Mindfulness and Mental Clarity
“Meditation is a simple practice; anyone can try. It can reduce stress, increase clarity and focus, and promote happiness,” said Ann Marie Wakula, a certified trainer and an over-40 mother of three.
Wakula is the host of the Fitness Over 40 series, brought to you by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The series of three-minute videos feature tips and mini workouts people can incorporate into their daily lives, even at home.
In this edition of Fitness Over 40, Wakula visits Marissa Jarrett, a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Health Coach, on her farm to learn more about the benefits of meditation.
‘Calm yourself down’
“Meditation is when you take time to pause and calm yourself down. It’s an opportunity to just be present,” said Jarrett as she took Wakula through a meditation exercise as they sat under the trees on her farm.
“This is one of my favorite places where I enjoy meditating,” she said. “We raise all sorts of animals, we garden. A lot of times in the evening, I like to take a walk down the trails and admire the leaves.”
Jarrett was first introduced to meditation back in 1995, when she was preparing for her first bodybuilding competition. She was looking for something to help her focus outside of the gym.
“I needed something to help calm my anxiety about getting onstage and performing, and it really helped me just relax,” Jarrett said.
Releasing stress and tension
Another meditation exercise she recommends is coloring or painting.
“When we color or paint, we’re releasing stress and tension. Our heart rate and blood pressure decrease. When we meditate, it helps us to become more present and aware of things that are happening right now in front of us. We tend to lose sight of that as the day goes on, and as we become busier in the world, and it really helps keep you grounded,” Jarrett said.
To enjoy the benefits of meditation requires practicing on a regular basis, she said.
Wakula says she found the meditation experience with Jarrett helped her focus on her surroundings and be present.
“If you’re looking for a way to improve your health, this is a great place to start,” said Wakula. “It’s super simple, not intimidating. There are many apps and resources available to you. We give so much of ourselves to so many people on a daily basis. This gives something back to you. You can practice mindfulness meditation, anytime, anywhere. Even just a few minutes a day can make a difference. Make sure you set aside time as a gift to yourself.”
If you want to try meditation, you can register for free sessions held every Wednesday at noon by visiting bluecrossvirtualwellbeing.com. Look for future Fitness Over 40 videos at AHealthierMichigan.org
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