By Ana Snyder, M.S., Exercise Physiology; CPT, FNS
Where the mind goes, the body follows. People are heavily influenced by their friends, family, and associates, so why not harness peer pressure and use it to elevate your mind? The COVID-19 epidemic has kept most of us trapped indoors and socially isolated. But that shouldn’t stop us from planning a celebratory group meditation with our friends. When we do begin to return to normalcy, billions of people will be fully primed for social interactions. As summer approaches (and hopefully suppresses the virus), people will enjoy spending time outside.
Many popular summertime activities aren’t the healthiest since they can include lots of alcohol, unhealthy foods, and late hours. A night out clubbing or drinking can actually have some pretty detrimental side effects. But there are healthy activities to do in the summer, too. Meditation is more popular than ever, and meditating in nature gives you an extra kick. Most people who practice mindfulness find enormous benefit from unplugging in solitude for a half an hour or more. But what other benefits can you receive?
Meditation helps you expand your mind and sharpen your focus. When you do it with other people, the benefits are increased. If you want to maximize your mental growth, group meditation will speed you on your way. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of social meditation.
Meditation is one of my favorite methods for how to reduce stress. But there are many additional benefits to meditation. Government studies show meditation can help your mental health, blood pressure, and pain management. It’s extremely safe, and most people who meditate regularly report that it is an enjoyable pastime they look forward to whenever they are tired or worn out.
Mostly, meditation is touted as a method to reduce stress and regain a sense of calm, but meditation also helps improve your focus. Regular practice of mindfulness helps you learn to quiet your mind and bring your sense of focus under conscious control. A strong ability to focus can keep your attention from wandering, helping you learn quicker, and contribute more to conversations and meetings. Meditation can train you in the ability to better control your attention and help you be fully present in body and mind, no matter the situation.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction is extremely popular, and it is generally considered to be effective. I meditate regularly, and I have noticed that, when I miss a session, my stress level is noticeably higher and I am less patient and understanding. Therefore, I make up missed sessions as soon as possible.
On top of meditation, I often give my brain an extra boost by replacing my morning coffee with a different kind of stimulant. Four Sigmatic Mushroom Elixir gives me all the energy I’d get from a cup of coffee, without the caffeine. In addition, it provides 1,500 mg of a special blend of lion’s mane extract and other herbal supplements that reduce stress, improve sleep, and are thought to improve overall health. When I combine supplements with meditation and other stress reducers, I find my days go smoother, I’m more productive, and people like me more.
My friends add a lot of value to my life. Not only do we enjoy social activities together, but we get in shape together, too. I find group personal training to be more stimulating than my regular workout routines. My schedule is too complicated to exercise with my friends every day, but when we exercise together, we have way too much fun! We compare notes and give each other advice, which generally improves the quality of our results. I find that, after a session with my friends, I’m more motivated to work out on my own and try new things. I look forward to sharing my results with my friends, so group training helps me stay motivated and on task.
Working out with my friends also exposes me to more people. I learn more about how to make friends when I’m meeting new people in comfortable and relaxed settings. It helps my mental health as well as my physical health, so it’s a major win-win.
Stress-reducing activities like exercise are also bonding experiences with my friends. We trust each other more because we work out together, and helping each other with equipment and advice gives us practical advantages, too.
My friends are a big part of my buffer against the world. When I experience a big failure in my life, I turn to my friends to help me get back up on my feet again. Spending time with my friends is like free therapy, and they feel the same way about me. After a long week at work or when I’m feeling a little blue, I make sure to schedule extra time with my friends. I know they will make me feel better and may even have practical advice on overcoming my problems.
Good friends are among the most valuable parts of my life. We’ve recently added group meditation to our list of activities, and I can see a huge difference. I feel like my mind is more elevated, and my bonds with my friends feel deeper and stronger than ever before.
We have planned several mindfulness retreats for the near future, and because group meditation is part of emerging wellness trends, there are a lot of options from which to choose. I’m even considering suggesting them at our next family reunion. I think group meditation would be an excellent addition to our list of family activities.
You don’t need a lot of planning to enjoy the mental health benefits of nature. Local parks and trails can help you commune with the wild after work or on a Sunday morning. The boost I get from the clean air and rich smells have carried me through some difficult times.
I’m planning more group activities for mental health for me and my friends. Life keeps getting more complicated, so the more we team up and work together, the stronger and happier we will be.
How many healthy group activities are you planning for this summer? Get in touch with your friends and find a few who are willing to give group meditation a try. Find out if it may help you find deeper meaning and stronger bonds.