There are so many benefits of having a daily meditation practice:
Decreasing stress, anxiety, and loneliness.
Increase in happiness, healthier friendships and relationships, better decision making and problem solving.
An improved immune system, better sleep, and higher energy levels.
The benefits of daily meditation are powerful and I do believe as a human, I am better for meditating.
Recently I began to reflect on all the ways that having a daily meditation practice benefits not only my personal self but also my professional self and my counseling practice. Here are some of the awesome things I have noticed:
- I am a better listener. As a counselor, I have always prided myself on being a strong listener. However, since meditating I feel that this sense is even more heightened and tuned in. In classroom lessons, teacher consultations, and 1:1 sessions I still notice what is being said but I also feel I have become more skilled in listening to more than just words. I notice tones, the pace of speaking, and the breaths of my students. This puts together a better picture of the story that is being shared and connects me with what might be omitted, as well. As a counselor listening is key. Meditation took my listening from an 8 to a 10.
- I am more generous with my time. As I have explained before, as a counselor – time is not my own. However, there are still the daily pieces of work that need to get scheduled and done. Sometimes it is hard to fit those pieces into a counseling schedule and so I resist face-to-face interactions when they come my way for the need of getting tasks completed. Now through meditation I realize that nothing more matters than this moment we are in now. Therefore, if someone needs to connect, chat, question for a few minutes I am happy to stop and let that process happen — even if I was “working on something.” I realize that giving two minutes to someone does not negatively impact my schedule or get me off track. Rather it creates a humanistic connection and helps build my approachability as a counselor. Most importantly, it keeps me centered and present and in the now.
- I am more patient with students, staff, and parents. Let’s be honest. Even if I’m a counselor, I am still human. My patience can wear thin and I can feel with an interaction before it even starts. Now by meditating I realize that my patience > frustration. This isn’t just acting patient – it is true patience in action. This means that the frustration that used to be present in certain conversations or situations – which made me want to “fix” the situation to get out of it – just doesn’t show up as much. I find that even in the most challenging of situations I have a higher tolerance for things and I’m not looking for an escape like I did in the past. I am patient and willing to be open to whatever situation is coming my way.
- I forgive myself more. In my professional life I can be pretty hard on myself. I want to do things and do them well. Most importantly, I never want to disappoint people. Since meditating, I realize that I regularly and willingly forgive others but I don’t do the same for myself. So, through meditation I have started to practice forgiveness toward myself especially when it comes to counseling. If I missed something at work or did not support a situation in a way I wished I had, I forgive myself. If I have an interaction that doesn’t go the way I wanted it to, I forgive myself. If I forgot to do something, I apologize and then forgive myself. It has been a beautiful and freeing thing to give myself the same grace that I daily give to others.
- I notice more. At work I tend to work from the minute I walk in till the minute I leave. I put my head down and get the tasks done. This work-ethic and “busyness” causes me to miss out on amazing things going on around me. Through meditation, I find I am more in tune with all my senses and this allows me to appreciate more throughout the day. I now pick my head up and slow the pace down. Due to this, little things I would be too busy to notice during work no longer get left behind. As I notice more I feel more grateful for the world in which I live and the environment in which I work. So noticing leads to more gratitude. We all need more gratitude.
I am just a true beginner when it comes to meditation and practicing mindfulness. However, I do believe the benefits are more than I ever could have hoped for. If you are interested in developing a mindfulness practice of your own, here are some great resources to help you develop your understanding and practice.
Resources for Personal Practice:
This is your brain on meditation
Resources for Schools:
Do you meditate as an educator? How has your meditation improved or impacted your education practice? Do you think meditation matters as an educator?