The start of a new year is when many people take up gym memberships, enroll in weight loss programs, and create their yearly goals. This New Year why not try learning meditation—you will reap benefits not only this year, but for years to come. Here are seven of the many ways you can start a meditation practice for the New Year.
1. New Skill for a New Year
It’s great to learn something new in the New Year. You have the fire of motivation behind you and a fresh, clean slate. Acquiring a new good habit or skill takes about 90 days, which should take you from the winter and into spring.
A daily meditation practice can help you stay focused on your other goals and help you with little day-to-day annoyances like impatience and anxiety. Commit to a structured and stable practice by registering for a meditation course before the New Year. That way, when the New Year hits, you have no excuse. You’ve invested the money, so you have to start. New skills come with new challenges so make sure you line up a weekly meditation group to keep you motivated.
2. Manifestation of Desires
Many of us have the tradition of doing New Year’s resolutions. You think about what you’d like to achieve, write it down on a list, try a few things, and, by January 31st, you’ve given up on most items. The reason for this is because you are relying solely on willpower and strength of resolve. But what if you had another tool to add that might help you along?
I like to refer to meditation as “plugging in” to the universe. A lot of non-meditators believe that meditation is a way to disconnect from the world. In reality, it’s the complete opposite. When you meditate, you are reconnecting to the infinite. You are accessing the super speed highway to manifestation of your desires. Therefore, instead of trying too hard to attack your New Year’s resolutions, take baby steps toward them and read through them before you start your meditation each day and see the magic at work.
3. Overcome the Post-Holiday Blues
Many people are hit with such a funk after the hustle and bustle of the holidays. From Thanksgiving through New Year’s, you’re usually so busy and distracted, that the quietness of January can seem disquieting. Sometimes you are simply on mental overload from family visits and being out of routine. In addition, you’ve likely been consuming food and drink you normally don’t, and your body is feeling out of sorts. A daily meditation practice can put you back onto routine and give you a sense of structure once again.
4. Counter the Effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Winter in January brings about shorter days and less sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere. You might be affected by this and experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which can include minor depression, trouble sleeping, lack of energy, and headaches.
Dr. Norman Rosenthal, a world-renown psychiatrist, who pioneered the use of light therapy for SAD, also studied the effects and benefits of meditation for this psychiatric disorder. Meditation works for SAD by stimulating the pineal gland and releasing melatonin. Meditation engages the prefrontal cortex, giving you a greater sense of well-being and stronger judgment skills, and helps you operate from a higher state.
5. A No-Cost “Vacation”
It’s not the Caribbean but you’ll get more. Think about the reasons you take a vacation. You want a change of scenery, change of pace, more serenity, and less stress.
In meditation, your brain literally goes on vacation as it downloads impressions, experiences, and emotions. It then organizes all of these things and files them away appropriately. As you slip into the gap, you experience joy, bliss, peacefulness, love, and compassion—all of the things you hopefully receive while taking a break from normal daily activities. Why limit yourself to only experiencing these things while vacationing, when you can have them in the midst of your daily life?
6. Increase Your Intuition
For most of us, life is not getting easier; it’s getting more complex with fuzzy boundaries and many more choices than ever before. With so much information out there at the touch of your fingers, it can be difficult to stay grounded and make correct decisions. Commit this year to making more intuitive choices based on an inner knowing as you tune into your body and soul.
Meditation will help you get in touch with your natural-born, but forgotten, talent—of thinking intuitively. The more you meditate, the more you put things into perspective from a more expanded view. You begin to widen your circle and see things differently. As you operate from a more intuitive place, you won’t need to second-guess your decisions because you’ll know they are right.
7. Open Yourself to World Peace
You will go from the microcosm to the macrocosm. Much of the focus of a New Year’s plan is on “me and mine.” There is absolutely nothing wrong with having personal goals, and you should have them.
Meditation is special in that it takes you from the tightknit place of the ego to expanded universal consciousness. Not only do you have many choices in today’s world as to what you believe, what information you let in, and how and where you live your life, but there is also much uncertainty in the world at large. With such great uncertainty, it’s easy to experience a lot of fear. World peace, tranquility, and justice come from each individual. If you strive to not only change yourself in 2017, but change your world, meditate for world peace—that will be your greatest gift of the New Year to us all.