In our fast-paced world, it can be difficult to find moments of peace and stillness, and all too often this can lead to an overwhelmed and anxious state of mind. Fortunately, there is a way to ground yourself through mindfulness and meditation, which can help to create a sense of calm by bringing awareness to the present moment and oneself. CBD oil has also been shown to help with achieving calmness, providing a natural way to quieten the mind and focus the thoughts. Could CBD help us to meditate and practice mindfulness more effectively? In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of meditation and mindfulness, and how CBD can support this valuable practice for our mental wellbeing.
Mindfulness and Meditation: The Basics
The terms 'mindfulness' and 'meditation' are often used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference between the two. Mindfulness is simply being mindful or aware of the present moment, for instance, what you are experiencing or how you are feeling, in a non-judgemental way, while meditation involves going deeper into mindfulness and focusing on a particular object or experience. It can be thought of as an inner journey where you explore your physical and mental state, allowing you to gain greater insight into yourself and your life. Meditation can help to reduce stress, anxiety and depression, as well as improve focus and clarity of thought. Mindfulness has been shown to increase empathy, self-control, concentration, compassion, emotional intelligence, happiness and overall wellbeing. There are also physical benefits to mindfulness such as improved sleep and better cardiovascular health. Both meditation and mindfulness have been used in clinical psychology for many decades to help reduce anxiety, stress and depression, as well as to support people overcoming addiction. It is also an important tool for self-care that can be used in everyday life. So no matter what form or style of mindfulness and meditation you practice, it can be extremely beneficial to your mental health and overall wellbeing.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound found in hemp plants. It has been used for centuries as a natural remedy to promote overall wellness. CBD works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which helps regulate many of the body’s systems including mood, sleep, appetite and pain response. CBD has been studied for its potential benefits in treating conditions such as anxiety, chronic pain, inflammation, depression, epilepsy and more. While research into the effects of CBD is ongoing, many people have reported positive effects when using CBD products, including an uplifted mood, improved clarity of mind, less anxiety and a more positive outlook.
Does CBD Help with Mindfulness and Meditation?
As mentioned earlier, CBD works with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). It achieves this by essentially mimicking the activity of some of the chemicals in the body (endocannabinoids) and binding to CB1 and CB2 receptors of the ECS. This activity helps to stabilise the body and its emotional state.
You’ve probably heard of serotonin, a hormone which regulates mood. Low serotonin levels are linked to low mood, anxiety and negative thoughts, but preclinical studies suggest that the use of CBD can increase serotonin levels by stimulating ECS receptors. CBD can also help to improve sleep, which in turn enhances mood and energy levels. Each of these factors plays an important and beneficial role for anyone attempting to include mindfulness and meditation in their daily routine.
CBD has also shown promise in reducing pain and inflammation. A body that is pain and discomfort-free is much more capable of relaxation; this enables you to focus more effectively on the present during meditation or mindfulness practice. Therefore, the addition of CBD to your practice can enhance your overall experience and enable you to feel grounded much more quickly.
Can CBD Help with Mental Focus?
Studies indicate that CBD could be beneficial for boosting mental focus and concentration, by balancing the body and mind and supporting cognitive function. It may also help to reduce feelings of anxiety or depression, which can interfere with attention and focus.
How to Meditate with CBD
- Take your CBD oil – Drop CBD oil, such as Day + CBD Oil, under your tongue and hold it there for 60-90 seconds, allowing the cannabinoid to enter the bloodstream quickly. CBD takes some time to kick in, but taking sublingual oil is one of the most efficient methods. Do this 20-30 minutes before you start your meditation practice.
- Find a comfortable space – Choose a comfortable, quiet area free of distractions (leave your phone in another room if possible). Take a few moments to relax and clear your mind. Position yourself comfortably, whether it’s on a chair or lying down. Close your eyes if you prefer.
- Be aware of your body – Focus your attention on the body for a few minutes. Notice your position and make any adjustments if you notice any feelings of discomfort. Drop the shoulders and soften the jaw. Notice the contact that your body is making with another surface; the chair or floor, for example. If your mind begins to wander, simply make yourself aware and bring the focus back to your body.
- Focus on the breath – Now that you’re comfortable and relaxed, and your CBD should be working, it’s time for some breathwork. Listen to your natural breathing pattern and then take a few deep breaths. If it feels comfortable, inhale slowly through the nose and exhale slowly out of the mouth. Counting slowly to 4 on each inhale and exhale can be advantageous in slowing down the breath and maintaining your focus. As you become more comfortable with this process, you may want to take longer breaths.
- Be mindful of your thoughts - As you feel more relaxed in your meditation, focus on any thoughts that might be present in your mind. It’s okay if these thoughts are anxious, unpleasant or negative; this is natural and part of the process. Notice them, but don’t judge yourself for having them. Let those thoughts go, and allow the calming effects of CBD to help you move on from those feelings.
- Return to the body – When you are nearing the end of your meditation, it’s time to bring awareness back to the body. Start with a gentle wiggle of the toes and fingers, circle the ankles and wrists and gently sit up, stretch the limbs or open your eyes.
- Reflect - Once you feel as though your meditation is complete, take some time to reflect on how you are feeling and practice gratitude. Think about any positive changes that have happened during the session such as a decrease in stress or an increase in focus. Once you have taken some time to reflect, close your practice by saying a mantra out loud or silently to yourself, such as “I am relaxed and at peace”, “I am fulfilled” or “I am ready for what life has to offer me.”
A Workout for Your Mind
By practising meditation and mindfulness with CBD, you can reduce stress and anxiety, increase motivation, focus and clarity, and find peace and balance in your life. Try to include meditation in your daily routine, even if it’s just a few minutes a day, to begin with. It can be difficult to focus in the beginning, but like any workout, it gets much easier with practice. In addition, the benefits to your physical and mental wellbeing are absolutely worth it!