Did you know that we have around 60,000 thoughts per day, with an average 80% of them being negative? That’s a lot of thoughts, and if you’re anything like me, it can feel like more than 80% are negative. If you tend to be hard on yourself and you struggle with self-love, this episode is for you.
Your mind can take you down unproductive and even destructive rabbit holes, so today, I’m sharing my favorite topic and something that can help: meditation. Meditation saved my life. I know this sounds dramatic, but it really is true, and I can’t wait to tell you how meditation could also change your life for the better.
Tune in this week to discover how meditation has the power to change your life forever. Find out why people experience resistance around starting a meditation practice, what changes when you try it for yourself, and my tips for getting started and experiencing the benefits right now.
Hi, I’m Natalie Ottosen and you’re listening to The Mindset School podcast, episode number three.
Welcome to The Mindset School podcast, a show for spiritual entrepreneurs who are ready to stop feeling stuck, reconnect to their soul’s purpose, and create a deeply fulfilling life and business. I’m Natalie Ottosen, transformational life coach, and reconnection healing foundational practitioner, and I can help you scale and grow a six-figure business from a place of inner authority, wisdom, knowledge, and truth.
If you are a spiritual entrepreneur and you are looking to take that first step towards your dream of running your own business, this is the show for you. Ready to step into your power and move forward with clarity and purpose? Let’s go.
This is my favorite topic, you all, meditation saved my life. And I know that sounds dramatic, but it really is true, and I can’t wait to tell you why. Before I do, did you know that we have somewhere around 60,000 thoughts a day with an average of 80% of them being negative? That is a lot of thoughts, my friend. And if you are anything like me, mine were closer to about 95%. So do you experience negative thoughts? Are you hard on yourself and unaware of how much your mind is running you and taking you down destructive and unproductive rabbit holes?
Do you struggle with self-love? Do you struggle to love yourself and feel worthy? Here’s what this might mean. This thinking, it’s shaping how you view yourself, the world and how you experience life. Meditation saved my life, and while it might not save yours, because you might not be as dramatic as I am, it may possibly change your life in amazing ways just as it changed mine. Before I talk about the incredible benefits of meditation, I want to explain what meditation is, in case you have no idea and are wondering what I’m even talking about, why you would ever want to do it, and why you might struggle with meditation.
Meditation is a way to train your mind to be more focused and calm. It’s like exercising for your brain, so just as you would go to the gym to work out your body, you go and do meditation to work out your brain. When you meditate, you sit or lie down in a quiet place, and you try to concentrate on something simple, like the sensation of your breath moving in and out of your body.
Why would you want to meditate? Meditation is used for all kinds of reasons. You may want to increase your self-awareness, or reduce stress, maybe you want to boost your self-confidence, develop a more positive outlook on life, improve your sleep, or connect to yourself on a deeper level. Here are a few ways our thinking can get in the way and create struggle and resistance to meditation. I can’t sit for that long. I’m too restless.
This is boring. I don’t see the point. I’m too busy. I don’t have time for this. I’m not doing it right. I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing. This is uncomfortable. I don’t like the way it feels. My mind is too busy. I can’t stop thinking. I’m not good at this. I’ll never be able to do it. What’s the point? It’s not even going to make a difference. I don’t have the right environment. I’ve done it before. It doesn’t work.
These thoughts, they are so common and normal. Especially for beginning meditators. It’s important to acknowledge them and not judge yourself for having them. Instead, try to just observe them, without any attachment so that you can start bringing your attention back to your breath, or other focal points during a meditation practice. With patience, you’ll find that it becomes easier to let go of these distracting thoughts, and be able to focus your mind during meditation. In fact, that is the process of meditation.
It was so fascinating I remember when I had the epiphany about meditation. I used to do a meditation and I would get all the way through, my brain would be so distracted that I didn’t even know what happened during the meditation. So let’s say it was a 10 minute meditation, it was a guided meditation, so the person that I was listening to would constantly be coming back in and refocusing the breath, right? Or the mantra, or whatever it was.
Then, what I started to notice was that I started to catch my thoughts, and then I started to catch them sooner, then I started to catch them sooner and next thing I knew, I was noticing these thoughts that were popping in my brain, and I was able to recognize them and then release them and let them go. That’s the process of meditation. It is so beautiful in helping us to focus the mind so that our mind isn’t running us, we’re running our mind. And I totally get it, I had resistance too. And not only did I struggle with all of these thoughts above, but I also had some pretty critical negative thinking.
When I say meditation saved my life, it did, because continuing down the path I was going with my current thoughts and my self-destructive behaviors and patterns, it really could have been catastrophic for me. And the process of meditation reconnected myself on a level I never even knew was possible. So thanks to my therapist I started meditating about 17 years ago. And it really was before it became really mainstream. And it only took them about two years to finally get me to do it.
Then when I did, I actually called myself a closet meditator. I would hide in a room and meditate without anybody knowing. And I definitely didn't tell anybody about it either because my thought was, if anybody knew what I was doing they would absolutely think that I was crazy. And it's kind of a funny story. If I was in a room meditating and my husband called out for me or even came in the room, I would rustle and ruffle and pretend I wasn’t meditating, not because he would judge me or think that I was crazy for meditating.
It was because I was struggling with my own thoughts, my own self-judgment, and my own inner critic, all of the things I mentioned at the beginning of the podcast. It didn't have anything to do with him at all. In fact today, meditation is a staple in his life and has been instrumental in helping him heal his own body. Why is meditation so amazing? One of the gifts of meditation is that it can show you that your thoughts are just that, thoughts. And not only do you not have to get attached to those thoughts, but once you can recognize them you can truly begin to start questioning them.
And once you’re able to start questioning them, you can begin to shift, change, and pivot the way that you're thinking and viewing. That is so powerful. If that wasn’t enough, there are so many more reasons to start a meditation practice, and I’m going to share some articles in the show notes, one from the Mayo Clinic, one from NIH, and one from Positive Psychology, but for now, here are just a few that I’ve seen and experienced in my own life.
Increased focus, compassion and empathy, a sense of calm and peace, it boosts memory. Relieves stress and helps improve symptoms of depression and anxiety. It increases creativity. These last three are my favorite, it calms the nervous system. We are constantly being bombarded all the time and meditation allows us to go in and really start to calm this overactive nervous system. It builds gray matter in the brain they talk about this in these articles, it’s fascinating. It builds your intuition, which I believe is one of our superpowers. And I can’t wait to talk more about this in an upcoming episode.
Meditation has done all of these things for me, in fact, if I go through a period of time without meditation, my family can tell. They’ll point it out to me. I’m calmer, I’m more able to manage situations clearer, I’m less stressed and anxious. And, it was the key that reconnected me back to my spiritual path, after I left my organized religion, which I will share more about in an upcoming episode. So what I want to offer is, what if it’s possible for you to have these things too? Here are four tips on how you can start your own daily meditation practice.
Number one, start small. Don’t overwhelm yourself with long meditations. This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. And I’m actually going to use my marathon experience of when I ran my first marathon. So my sister had this brilliant idea that we should run a marathon. And I had as much resistance to running as I did meditation. I 100% thought the people who ran were crazy. You would never catch me on a treadmill. So this was after I'd had my last child. And my sister and I lived in different states, and she was like, “Hey, let’s run a marathon. We’ll come together, we'll do it, it will be amazing.”
I was like, “That’s a brilliant idea, let's do it.” So me being all gung-ho, I get my jogging stroller, I get my new shoes and I go out thinking, I’m going to run miles. I ran to the end of my street and then I'm pretty sure I walked home. I don’t even know how long I did that, but eventually the more that you do it and the more that you train and the more that you prepare and the more that you show up the longer you're able to go. I was then able to run to the end of my block. And then I was able to run to a couple of blocks. And then I was able to start running miles.
And then the next thing you know, I was signing up for 5Ks and 10Ks, and half marathons. And then eventually I had trained and prepped and ended up running a full marathon. So just like running to the end of the street you begin with one minute. Then you add an additional minute and then so one and so on. So again, start small, try a five minute meditation. It's not really about how many minutes you get. It’s more about just showing up every single day. So try a five or 10 minute daily meditation and then build from there.
Number two, be consistent and comfortable. Creating the right environment for meditation is important because it helps you focus. Be more comfortable, get the most out of your practice, it reduces those distractions and noise and physical discomforts, and makes meditation more effective in promoting that relaxation and stress, and it makes you just want to come back and do it again. Because it helps you establish a habit and stick with your practice. When you meditate at the same time each day, it becomes easier to remember to prioritize that, and make it a practice. Just like if you go work out every morning, like if you had a trainer and you went and worked out every morning at 9 o clock, that just becomes a habit.
And you start creating that routine, your brain starts creating a new neural pathway of, this is just when we do this, this is when we show up, right? Creating a routine can help track your progress. So that you can start to see the benefits over time. When you are able to meditate each day, you can start to notice your mood changes. Your stress level changes. Your overall wellbeing changes. When I started meditating, I had the Calm app at the time, and I love that app, I thought it was just brilliant. But it allowed me to track my progress every single day, and I ended up challenging myself.
I set a goal that I was going to meditate every single day for a year, and I actually ended up doing it for over a year. And I was able to see all of the improvements in my own life, as I tracked this and I started creating a new neural pathway in my brain, I showed up for myself every single day, I created this routine, I created this process, and it had immeasurable benefits on my life. So I recommend meditating first thing in the morning but do what works best for you.
Try to keep your spine as straight as you possibly can so that you can maintain some awareness while meditating. A great tool is to take a pillow and stick it at the end of your bum and it kind of tilts your spine a little bit and makes it much more comfortable. You can also get a meditation pillow as well, but it's not necessary. I am perfectly comfortable and do just fine sitting on my couch. So again, show up and be consistent and be comfortable.
Number three, guided meditations. If you're struggling to stay focused try a guided meditation. It helps bring your focus back to the breath, the mantra or a room that you're sitting in. There are so many forms of meditation and I do recommend exploring all of them, but if you are finding yourself more distracted or having a hard time staying focused, guided meditations are a brilliant way to start because you're having somebody literally guide you through the process. And even if you do have a part where you're saying a mantra, they normally are coming in and bringing you back to the present room.
So it's a great way to start so that you can stay focused, and you can start building that muscle.
Number four, you’re doing it right, seriously you’re doing it right, just like exercising a muscle, it takes time to build a meditation practice. You will meet resistance, I promise, you’re going to meet resistance, but I just want you to allow yourself to be able to push through it and be patient and kind with yourself. All sorts of things are going to come up for you. You’re going to have thoughts and feelings and irritation and frustration, all of it, just allow it to be there. In fact, just expect it to be there.
If you can just allow it to come along for the ride with you, you can just notice it and then allow it to just dissipate and let go. So I encourage you to give these four tips a try. One other tip I want to offer you is to have a journal handy so you can take notes. As I mentioned a few minutes ago, meditation really opened me up to my spiritual journey, and reconnected me to my higher power. I got all sorts of information during my meditation practice and sometimes I would sit and write down notes as I was meditating, or I would journal right after. So I want to offer you the opportunity to have that journal handy so as information comes to you, you can start writing things down and start taking action on some of those things.
That ended up being my intuition that was speaking to me and through me, and then I was able to act on those items, and that’s how I ended up building my intuition which again I will talk about soon. And sidenote, I’m going to be giving away some of my favorite journals over this next two weeks.
Meditation is one of the building blocks that really helps you take charge of your own mind and life by helping you create that foundation for daily alignment. You may have noticed a repeating theme in the last three episodes while talking about mindset, mindfulness, and meditation. These three things, they are the key to help you develop more peace and calm, self-awareness, self-compassion and the biggest one, freedom. Freedom from the thought hamster wheel so many of us live on. There are so many resources to help you along this journey and I would love to chat with you about any of them.
Feel free to message me on Instagram @soulsistercoaching, and tell me what you’re struggling with, and I can help you. If you’re in my private community Soul Sister Society, I do host one to two live meditations every month. I also have all sorts of free meditations on YouTube as well. I hope this information was helpful. Again if you have any questions, if you’re struggling with anything please reach out to me, again, @soulsistercoaching on Instagram, and I hope you enjoyed today’s episode, I will see you next time. All my love.
To celebrate the launch of the show I’m going to be giving away my favorite books, journals, planners, energy healing sessions, binaural meditation packs, coaching packages and so much more. I’m going to be giving away 100 prizes for 100 reviews to the lucky listeners who follow, rate, and review the show.
It doesn't have to be a five-star review although I sure hope you love the show. I want your honest feedback so I can create an amazing show that provides tons of value. Visit soulsistercoaching.com/podcastlaunch to learn more about the contest and how to enter. I’ll be announcing the winners on the show in an upcoming episode.
Thank you for joining me for this week's episode of The Mindset School. Ready to dive deeper into finding your purpose and create a deeply fulfilling life? Visit soulsistercoaching.com for more guidance and resources. See you next week.