Implementing a good strategy for the optimal recovery of your body is an important part both for your physical and mental performance.
To a large extent, recovery depends on your food intake and sleeping schedule, but there are other ways to further boost body recovery and sharpen your mind, all at once.
Meditation appears to be one of those tools and in this article, I explain exactly why you should include it in your recovery routine.
What is Meditation?
Many people think of meditation as a time where you just sit down with your eyes closed and try to empty your mind.
And though that is a good way to put it, your mind cannot be completely empty.
Try to think of meditation as a practice where your goal is to observe your thought and emotional processes and remain relatively neutral, or, take conscious action towards a change.
Now you may be asking yourself “why would I even do that?”
And well, the reason is quite simple - We live in dynamic industrial cities that often induce stress, be it from your workplace or daylife dynamics.
Such stress technically triggers our primal fight or flight mechanism, which is associated with an increase in cortisol levels, along with other stress hormones.
During periods when stress hormones are taking over, your immune system, recovery and growth are hindered, because the body perceives stress as a button for what is essentially survival mode.
What’s even more interesting is that cortisol is so good at buffering the immune system that doctors use it during organ transplants, so that the body doesn’t instantly reject the new organ.
All of this can point us to the conclusion that you don’t really want that much cortisol in your system, especially if you are active and need better recovery.
For this reason, again, including meditation in your routine can be a good way to manage stress levels and in turn, improve recovery.
How to Meditate
Now, because breathwork is one of the best ways to induce a calming feeling, it is going to be the main meditation tool throughout your practices, along with isolating the brain from sensory information
So here is how you should approach your meditation sessions:
Find a quiet place where you don’t have distractions or information going through your senses.
Sit or lie down, close your eyes and relax.
Focus your attention on your heart and your breath. Observe your current state and the work of your heart. During or after stressful situations, your heart rate might be elevated.
Take a deep and slow nose inhale, into your stomach and then up to the chest. The inhale should be 4-6 seconds.
Then, exhale for the same amount of time and consciously send a relaxation signal throughout the nervous system.
Repeat this, focusing on your heart and breath.
Tips for Meditating
If or when any intrusive thoughts pop up, try to not latch on to them.
Simply - Swipe them away.
Otherwise, you are likely to catch one thought and develop it into a full story, which will instantly take you out of your meditative, aware state.
This is the essence of meditation as a practice but keep in mind that you should aim for an overall meditative state, as that will help you instantly cast away stressors in your daily life.
In doing all of this, you will reduce stress response occurrences and thus, your body will maintain an optimal state of recovery for longer.
Combine this with a proper nutrition plan and quality sleep and you will be well off on your way to better recovery and progress, both on a mental and physical level.
If proper nutrition is new to you and you want to eat better, Check out my Beginner's Guide to Eating Healthy.
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