You might have gathered by now that I am VERY passionate about healthy living. I love researching ways to improve my health and luckily, there is already so much knowledge out there, and different opinions, that the journey is really adventurous too.
I would say that my interest in how to “survive” started when I moved away from my parents at the age of 18 to a foreign country and became a student. I had a lot of things on my plate to deal with, and for the first time, I had to take full responsibility for the outcome.
All those novelties brought me a lot of pressure and stress. I felt overwhelmed at times which affected a lot my results and openness to new experiences, learning, and friendships. Anxiety and stress are no joke. I kept thinking what could I possibly do to deal with it, as it won’t miraculously disappear overnight. I started browsing on the internet (which was fun as it was a new tool back then and I finally had full access to it) and came across some really helpful tips and tricks.
Since I didn’t have much money back then, I decided to go natural all the way and use what I have, and make the most of it! And that’s how I discovered yoga, breathing, and meditation. My God, what a game changer that was!
However, the more I shared these “discoveries” with my friends and family, the more I heard back their excuses and different opinions such as “meditation is not for me, I prefer action, I don’t like sitting and doing nothing; I don’t see the point in switching off my brain when right now it is making some real gold for me…”
But as the trend was growing and getting more and more accepted globally, even my friends and family were starting to think about it more. Not to mention, the impact that celebrities and business people had on them when they started publicly speaking about the benefits of meditation.
The thing is when you try the meditation for the first time you think it doesn’t work. I’ve heard it million times by now.
“I cannot stop thinking!! This obviously doesn’t work. I am not wired for this.”
So I’ve put together this short blog to share with you some really cool things I know about the meditation. Maybe it will encourage you to try it. All you have to do is pay attention – to yourself. 🙂
When science confirms the ancient wisdom…
It took a while for science to jump on board and confirm what the ancient wisdom has been telling us for centuries: we need to get to know ourselves and listen to our body in order to reach the level of ultimate harmony with one’s self. When you are in this state of harmony, there is no room for disease.
With a healthy mind, anyone can reap physical, psychological and emotional benefits.
Science – the same reductionistic science that is used to evaluate various drugs and medical procedures – has proven that your mind can heal the body. It is no overstatement to say that virtually every single health problem and disease can be improved with a mind-body approach
This seems very straightforward to me. I mean, we do tend to worry ourselves sick, right?
If we would only learn how to calm ourselves in those situations, we would avoid many, many illnesses. When I’m under stress, my stomach is the first one to suffer. What stress triggers in you?
While I was reading the book “Thrive” by Arianna Huffington, I was amazed to read how many scientists have backed up the meditation as the best tool for improving health.
Here are just a few that I have taken out to illustrate the benefits of meditation:
1. A study funded by the National Institutes of Health showed a 23% decrease in mortality in people who meditated versus those who did not, a 30% decrease in death due to cardiovascular problems, and a significant decrease in cancer mortality. “This effect is equivalent to discovering an entirely new class of drugs (but without inevitable side effects)”, observe Mark Williams and Danny Penman.
2. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Harvard Medical School found that the relaxation response – the state of calm produced by meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises – actually switched on genes that are related to augmenting our immune system, reducing inflammation, and fighting a range of conditions from arthritis to high blood pressure to diabetes.
3. It physically changes our brains. One study found that meditation can actually increase the thickness of the prefrontal cortex region of the brain and slow the thinning that occurs as we age, impacting cognitive functions such as sensory and emotional processing.
4. A study of patients with a history of depression at the University of Cambridge found that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy lowered the risk of depression relapse in participants who had experienced three or more episodes from 78% to 36%
5. Researchers at UCLA found that mindfulness and meditation helped lower feelings of loneliness among the elderly, while researchers from the University of Michigan documented that military veterans experienced lowered levels of post-traumatic stress disorder after mindfulness training.
Do you meditate? If yes, what are your favorite ways to switch off and how do you feel after it? If not, did reading this convince you to try your hand at meditation? Please share your comments below. I quite enjoy interacting with you.
Dear Jelena, thank you for article :-). Would you be so kind and share some tips about how to start meditation. From what shoul we start? It is really challenging to stop thinking and concentrate on ourselves. Thank you 🙂
Hi Anna, read through some of my comments below. I will do my best to write a useful article about how to start 🙂
Thank you for bringing attention to meditation and the effects of it. I am a Zen Buddhist nun. The way this tradition meditates is just observing every in and out breath. The helpful thing is that we can take this into everything we do. Though sitting meditation is important, for me it is also important to take these qualities into everything I do in my life, every moment. And yes, I agree with you: Yoga and meditation were life changers for me. Leading to more reflection, paying attention to food and how I live in the world. I was happy to find someone who supported me through this process. Claude AnShin Thomas. He is an US-American Vietnam Veteran and Zen buddhist monk. So, thanks a lot that you explore this topic! I also saw your husband win today and I also saw you. The German Reporter mentioned that you are interested in meditation, so I looked it up. Great, your husband won. He is in an incredible form. I also loved playing tennis. Warmly: Marion GenRai Lukas
I trained in Transcendental Meditation but I eventually found that the repeating of the mantra became a burden. I started thinking about its pronunciation,; then worried about how fast or slowly to say it etc etc – it all became a source of stress for me. I think I’ll start over and find some type of meditation that is just relaxing. Maybe think of a scene? Do you have any advice on what you do?
Haha, I remember that experience too!!! Transcendental mediation didn’t work for me back then… Lol. So funny how we had a similar experience!
I am mostly imagining things… or focusing on my body. Depends what you want to accomplish. I will try to explain it better in one of my blogs, I have first to think it through as I switched off thinking when it comes to meditation… No logic or intellectualization was useful, it was just blocking me to relax.
But I pray a lot for instance! I do lots of repetitions of Lord’s prayer and Glory Mary, but I don’t consider that as meditation but more of like raising my vibration to higher, purer level. I use also affirmations and mantras when I am cooking and doing something… Sit down meditation I use to focus on my body.
When you think a lot about meditation through your mind – you start counting thoughts or minutes or feel like you are not doing something right… That’s not what meditation is.
It is about bringing that sense of calmness to everything else you do later on. Meditation calms your mind and rests your body and then you can live in meditation rather than count how many times per day or minutes you’ve done it.
Hope this was a tiny bit helpful while I think through it more.
Jeelna! You’re the first person I’ve found who felt that! It was awful – I was practically hyperventilating during meditation and highly anxious! Not what it’s supposed to do. Thanks for your response and the sound advice. Have a lovely rest of the week. Much love – from England.
Dear Anna, you need to have your practice of Transcendental Meditation checked by a certified TM teacher. I have trained 1,000+ people in TM (I was personally trained as a TM teacher by TM’s founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi). I can tell from your description that you were confused about how to properly practice TM. Ten million people have learned TM and testify to its tremendous benefits. But those benefits only come from correct practice. You have the right to private sessions with a trained TM teacher to make sure you are doing the practice correctly. There is no charge for these follow-up sessions. Go for it!
You are very inspiring. Your beautiful smile and skin reflect how you live. I also don’t know how to get started but would very much like to. You have convinced me to actually do it but I have no idea how. Thanks and looking forward to your next post.
Thank you for your kind words. When you are trying to “think” about meditation, it won’t work. Feeling is a better way. Say you are outdoors and you are walking in the park.
Try to listen to the birds, the sound of the wind, feel the sun or cold on your skin…. try to feel your body. It is important to understand that we are not our thoughts, we are something bigger than that. When you start feeling your body (not only when you are in pain) regularly, that’s when you will “feel” what meditation brings to you. That is a good start… Then you can look for books or articles, I’ll share as much as I can with you too 🙂
Can you share with us some youtube tutorials that are good for meditation starters??
Thank you for sharing with us this great things?
Also, I want to recomend you great book if you havent already read it: “Love, Medicine and Miracles”
Book by Bernie S. Siegel
Hvala vam na svemu sto jeste Djokovici❤️
Dear Jelena, 🙂
I didn’t use much youtube for meditation purposes, but I know somebody who did and it worked. So, I will investigate and share 🙂
Thank you for the book recommendation, I will add it to my reading list. Getting longer each day – love it!
I started meditating in Sept 2017 after attending a course from an indian academy. It has been at transforming experience. I have found calm, awareness, control of my inner state, focus and creating synchronicities in my life, to mention just a few. I am totally committed to making the practice of meditation and the awareness of the profound changes you can bring to your life and family, not to mention the country, a common practice in Colombia, South America. Love your energy and sharings!!
Aw, thank you so much for sharing your passion! Love it! ❤
Pozdrav. Vezbala sam 5 godina yogu i meditaciju. I prestala. Razlozi instruktorka mi se odselila nisam pronasla dobru vibraciju sa nekim drugim, nisam nastavila da upraznjavam sama… Setim se mnogo toga uglavnom kad mi je potrebno, a to je usporiti dah, setati i fokusirati se, stopiti se sa prirodom, grliti drvece, hodati bos… Da u to vreme sam se osecala psihicki dobro, ali mislim i dalje da je ljubav ipak pokretac svega pa i psihicke ravnoteze. Pozdrav
Sigurna sam da će vam se potreba za meditacijom javiti u pravo vreme. Do tada, uživajte kad god možete u tim momentima svesnosti 🙂 PUno ljubavi!
Beautiful piece. Thank you.
thank you very much for this post.
I suffered of anxiety some years ago but, as I was not very informed about the power of meditation and yoga, I chose the traditional medicine and I took some drugs. Luckily this period was quite short and after four or five months I was in good health. One day I discovered by chance the meditation power: I brought my daughter to her riding school and I spent some time speaking with her teacher’s mum. This very kind lady is yoga and meditation addicter since a long time; she gave me some precious tips and suggestions and I stull try to practice them as much as possible. Do you remembrer what Latins were used to say? Mens sana in corpore sano
And now I found your interesting blog. I really appreciate all your suggestions and the time you spend for us.
Thank you again I will be your follower
Thank you Alessandra,
Everything happens for a reason right?
I read somewhere that people who do extreme sports get hooked on it not only because of adrenaline, but also because they experience a high level of presence at the moment. Like in meditation. They have to be super focused or else they may put themselves in danger… This is what meditation does to us. Brings us back to the present moment and when you are in now – there are no thoughts. We just are. I am sure you have experienced those kinds of moments… maybe for a brief moment (so that’s why you are not aware of it), but for sure you did!
Thank you for joining us here !
Imam istu molbu kao I Anna, neki savet za pocetnika u meditaciji. DA LI POSTOJI NEKA DOBRA LITERATURA O MEDITACIJI, KOJU BI TI PREPORUCILA?
Sastaviću onda jedan blog na tu temu pa će vam nadam se biti korisno 😉
Draga Jelena , odusevljena sam sa ovom Vasom idejom da na ovaj nacin priblizite ovu temu i mladima i starijima sirom sveta a narocito na ovim nasim prostorima ..Srbije i Balkana ..za mnoge je ovo jos uvek tabu tema mada je vrlo vidljiva expanzija mnogih blogova na temu meditacije , joge..treba jos dosta raditi na osvestavanju ljudi da je zapravo briga za sebe i sopstveno zdravlje treba da su nam na prvom mestu. Ako smo mi zdravi bice i nasa okolina a rast, razvoj i dobrobit svih je neminovna?..Licno sam nakon vrlo teskog perioda u zivotu , pogibije supruga a tada sam bila u 7mes.trudnoce ostala sam samohrana majka cetvoro predivne dece??sina i tri cerke..zapala u depresiju , bila sam anksiozna..i mog oca gubim u bitci sa rakom… u svemu tome pocinjem sa meditacijom, majndfulnes, zdravom ishranom i dozivljavam jedan neverovatan obrt zivotne energije, zdravlja…verujem da je i ovo samo jedna u nizu zivotnih prica..ali o ovoj temi se zaista mora puno govoriti i priblizavati mladim ljudima jer je njena dobrobit ogromna..Ja sam zivotni primer????i neizmerno sam zahvalna mnogim divnim ljudima koji su se poput Vas odvazili da o ovoj temi potkrepljenu mnogim naucnim istrazivanjima, primerima doprineli da se briblizimo jednom potpuno prirodnom pristupu i nacinu zivljenja…Zelim Vam od ❤puno uspeha u daljem radu i naravno praticu sa ogromnim zadovoljstvom Vas rast ???
Vaša životna priča nije ni malo laka i hvala vam što ste je ukratko podelili sa nama. Nisam sigurna da izazove s kojima ste se suočili mogu u potpunosti da spoznam, ali se saosećam sa vama. Hvala vam što ste izabrali da iz toga izadjete jači i zahvalni za ono što imate. To je tako moćna poruka za vašu decu, i sve nas! Hvala vam od srca na podeljenoj priči, jako ste me dirnuli i podsetili da budem zahvalna na svakom trenutku s mojim najbližima.
Zdravo Jeco, mnogo mi je drago da si odlucila da imas svoj sajt …..Toliko imamo slicnosti i zajednickih sfera intersovanja da prosto covek postane svestan zasto se povezuje sa nekim ljudima virtuelno iako ih licno ne poznaje. Da skratim, ja meditiram vec dve godine, i bavim se jogom skoro deceniju. Ali na zalost nisam redovna kao pre zbog obaveza i to nastojim da promenim. Ja licno praktikujem meditacije koje se mogu naci na You Tube-u od jedne divne zene iz Splita ( ne znam da li smem da napisem kako se zove da ne bude da nekog reklamiram) ili pustim neku melodiju na YT, licno najvise volim zvuk kise i klavira i navijem alarm na 20 min. Obavezno legnem, rasirim ruke i noge tako da budu skroz opusteni i fokusiram se na disanje. Ako dodje misao, a doci ce, regisrujem je i kazem joj “cao” ? pa opet vratim fokus na disanje. Meditacija se vezba i ljudi ocekuju svasta i ljute se na sebe ako dodju misli a u stvari poenta je biti istrajan i reci sebi “bravo” posle svake meditacije pa ce vremenom ici sve lakse. Sve zavisi od dana ali poenta je ne kriviti se i biti uporan. Pozdrav iz Beograda.
Draga Marija – HVALA na ovom komentaru!!! NAdam se da će ga mnogi pročitati i da će ih ohrabriti da nastave da rade na sebi i da pronadju mir u sebi :)))
I read this p ost and I found it very interesting. Thank you very much for all your suggestions.
I suffered of anxiety some yars ago but, as I was not very informed about the power of meditation, I took care of myself by the traditional systerm: I used some drugs. Luckily this was a short period and in four-five months I was in good health.
One day I was at the riding school of my daughter and I spent my time speaking with her teacher’s mum. This kind lady is yoga and meditation addicted since a long time, so she kindly gave me some precious tips and suggestions about this topic. Since then I try to do this as much as possible, because I really understood the importance of this practice. In fact what were Latins used to say? Mens sana in corpore sano. We sometimes forget this, probably because of the stressful life of our society.
I am very happy to have found your blog : I noticed it by chance, but I consider it very interesting.
Thank you for everything you teach us and for the time you spend
Ciao Jelena, i tuoi consigli sono preziosi e sono felice di seguire il tuo blog. Intanto ho cominciato a cambiare qualcosa nella mia alimentazione e già mi sento meglio . Grazie, tu hai un bel modo di esporre le tue convinzioni, i tuoi metodi e quello in cui credi. Brava Jelena ?
Grazie a te Michela! Davvero mi piace di sentire che avete trovati inspirazione di fare cambio nella vostra vita! (parlo meglio che scrivo :))
Još jedan sjajan, nadahnjujuć tekst.
Dugo sam u potrazi za nekim instruktorom s kojim će mi se poklopiti energije i od koga bih mogla najviše da naučim.
Uglavnom me prosto disanje najviše smiruje kad se suočavam sa nekom stresnom situacijom.
Zanima me kad i prethodne čitateljke, da li možete neku knjigu da nam preporučite.
Takođe, da podelite neka svoja iskustva i rutine iz studentskih dana, kako se najbolje suočiti sa ispitnim stresom i ne zablokirati kad je najvažnije.
Veoma sam Vam zahvalna na vremenu koji izdvajate za ovaj blog i svim korisnim savetima!?
Puno ljubavi od jedne Elene za Jelenu?❤
Nemojte da vas obeshrabri to što nemate učitelja. Nastavite sami da tražite način koji vam najviše odgovara. Verujte mi da vam ide jako dobro! Mi smo često negativni prema sebi u momentima kada mirujemo, ne zato što to ne radimo dobro, već zato što naš Ego tako želi da mi mislimo.
Vrlo rado ću podeliti sa vama moje iskustvo iz studentskih dana 🙂
Draga Jelena, Uvela sam kao svakodnevnu praksu molitvenu koncentraciju koja se u mom slučaju pokazala efikasnom. Takodje, već skoro deceniju radim sa božanstvenim motivacijama koje je razvio dr Sitin. Ogromna duhovna privlačnost koju osjećam dok izgovaram molitvu ili motivaciju je pravi melem za moju dušu. Srdačan pozdrav i sve najbolje u daljem radu. Ponosni smo na vas.
Baš ste me zainteresovali da i sama potražim Dr. Sitina 🙂 Hvala na podeljenom iskustvu!
Thank you for the very inspiring article again. I’ve just started subscribe this blog for the purpose of make my self to read something . I’m so happy that I found this. You enlightened me in so many ways! Thank you and your writing style is so beautiful so it’s also great way to study English for non native speaker.
Meditation is sometime difficult but so I don’t do occasionally. I do so only when I visit temple garden or any place where the greens are. Just closing eyes for several min during day time is good refresh:)
Thanks again for the great article, I will looking forward the next to come out!
Thank you for your kind words. I can imagine you meditating in nature! It is my favourite place to meditate too!
For me the most convenient type of finding inner peace is a long yoga nidra. In yoga nidra we work a lot with our suppressed unconsciousness and there are dozens of benefits but one of the most interesting to me is that our ’’bad karma’ from this or past lives can just burst (moze da se rasprsne, ne mogu da nadjem odgovarajucu rec na engleskom xD) and we do not have to be ’’punished‘‘ for it, plus 30 min of yoga nidra is equal to 2 hours of good, restful sleep. But it’s hard to find good teachers for that and I was so happy and blessed when I encountered mine.
This is really helpful to many people reading here. Thank you Ana for sharing your experience!
Be the ever-present witness, beyond the senses, yet engaged in them. Novak speaks about “being in the zone” makes you feel divine. This state is attainable for anyone, not just athletes. When I’m writing and in the creative flow, I am in that zone. I mainly meditate on the love of God and have had some profoundly transformative experiences. Have you heard of Kriya Yoga? Autobiography of a Yogi? Also, Jelena, I would be honoured if you’d allow me to send you a signed copy of my new book for you to read. I think you’d enjoy it, we seem to have a few things in common.
My publishers have recently created me this website for my book http://craigwoods.ampbk.com/
Its empty now but I’ll start to fill it with blogs, videos, courses and news soon.
All the best dear one.
No, I haven’t discovered Kriya Yoga. And I have Autobiography of a Yogi on my bookshelf, waiting for its turn 🙂 You are not the first one to recommend it so it must be really good 😉
You may send the book on the foundation’s address and my team will gladly keep it for me!
Thank you Craig!
I will do. Thank you, Jelena. And yes! Please do read Autobiography of a Yogi, it is a spiritual classic <3
Please let me know when you receive it, I’ll send it to the address of the Novak Foundation in Serbia then they can send it to you. I am reiiireiii86 on IG.
Shine bright sistar!
Meditation is my New Year’s resolution. I meditate for five minutes in the morning and for five minutes before I go to bed. And, it does help me. I feel like I can finally get a breather and breathe. I can relate to your struggles with anxiety and stress resulting from moving away from home to study. Now that I am trying to complete my doctorate degree, I need some strength and peace of mind to believe in myself and keep on going. I often get down on myself because I am such a perfectionist but I have realized that I will never achieve perfection in my area of study and career. However, I can get up early, be the first to go to work and the last to leave the office, and I hope that I will soon catch up. I have always been focused, which I believe has helped me be where I am right now in my life. What’s more, meditation will help me focus my thoughts and energy when I need it the most because I sometimes have all of these creative and weird ideas. I kind of have an overactive mind and can think about many things at the same time. So, meditation is a key solution for me at this point.
Good luck to Novak in his Australian Open final. You have such a beautiful family and both of you are such an inspiration for me. I can only dream and hope that one day I will have a supportive and loving family of my own. Much love to you!
Thanks for your comment. I have no doubt that you will find in meditation what you yet need to fulfill your goals. Stillness brings us so much more than unconscious movement 🙂
Thank you, Jelena! Keep up the good work. <3
Thank you Dea!
Having spent quite a bit of time in meditation, including some years as a Buddhist monk, it’s wonderful to read your article. I think your advice about not trying to meditate with one’s head is spot-on! I hope to hear at some point about Novak’s experience with the “flow” that he talks about and how this resonates with meditation. I imagine you both being great ambassadors for the benefits (and the profundity) of this practice!
I will pass on the suggestion to Novak 🙂 Thank you for joining us here! ?
Draga Jelena fenomenalan Vam je blog!Ja 4 godine primenjujem meditaciju i jogu tj pratim Indijskog gurua Sadhguru imam nameru sledeće godine ići u Isha joga centar koji se nalazi u Indiji a koji Sadhguru sprovodi duhovnu praksu u kombinaciji sa jogom. Zelela bih da znam da li ste čuli za Sadhgurua i da li ste boravili u Indiji,ako jeste molim Vas podelite vaše mišljenje sa nama, veliki pozdrav i hvala unapred.
Thank you for your post. For those people asking for a little online help to start I found these Free meditations a good help https://eqminds.com/meditate/
Hello from Australia
Thank you Bron!!! This is really kind of you to share ?
Dear Jelena, So absolutely wonderful to read this blog post. My son who is a lawyer has been meditating for over a year now and believes it has been extremely helpful. I meditate for short durations every single day and it is amazing! Thank you for all the wisdom you have been sharing – great writing! Much love from Florida ♥️Padma
Dear Padma, this makes me so happy to hear. Much love to you too! ?
Inspiring post as usual (talk about routine) Jelena!
Just like you, moved away at 18 to study in a foreign country, this is a great life changing experience to force oneself moving forward from words and to do list mindset, to actions and success list. Thanks for the UCLA article (go Bruins!). Meditation definitely sounds like the right thing to do for anyone and global benefits and impact would be tremendous. I personally find it hard however to practice it, instead I use this focus-oriented exercise elsewhere possible in everyday situation, such as sport. When we can achieve this, we feel afterwards peacefulness and being in the moment.
Much positive vibes and smile 🙂
Wonderful! Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂
Zdravo Jelena, predivni tekstovi uzivam da citam tvoju stranicu! ?Ja bih te zamolila, iako je tema mozda osetljiva, da napises blog o danasnjim vakcinama i sta ti mislis o tome. To je nekako “deo” zdravlja, jako teska tema za neke roditelje koji se susrecu sa raznim istrazivanjima i oprecnim misljenjima. Bila bih ti zahvalna na odgovoru.?
Hm, definitivno osetljiva tema iz mnogo razloga…. Razmisliću kako mogu da doprinesem, mada čini mi se da samim učenjem i produbljivanjem teme zdravlja – odgovor će vam se sam nametnuti a sumnje biti otklonjene – do prvog sledećeg ugla kada vas opet neko bude preispitivao 🙂 Tako to ide kad odlučimo nešto, stalno je tu neko da nas navede na sumnju…. ?
You are very inspiring
￼Hi Jeco ❤️
I am a 20 year old girl who moved in Milan last year for studies. I bumped on this post founding out that you’ve already experienced a similar situation, and I’ve to tell you it made my day ! As lots of things changed for me this year .. far from home, expenses, new friends etc.. only now at the end of the exam session I realized how I personally changed and how me and my inner balance are so fragile. I want to start meditating because it seems to me that it really helped you as the other people in the comments. for me you and nole are true role modes! you are both so intelligent and kind to each other and others..and I think you can’t be such good people without such good and strong spiritual wellness.
I feel as if my generation, me included, because of social media tend often to be less present and act less mindfully.. sometimes we are also incapable of knowledging that after any success there are lots of failures and sacrifices to do . Since we only see results and accomplishments from the other instagram profiles it seems as if we don’t know what and why we are doing during our journeys.
Could you give my generation a suggestion on how to stay motivated/ balanced and mentally healthy during the adulting period ? Or how after all the stress you ‘ve been throw ,managed to stay calm and motivated to finish your studies ?
Lots of love