Originally posted: 24th March 2021
Meditation... it's a mixture of ancient practice and modern science, an underrated method to calm a chaotic mind and very beneficial. Whether that's to reduce anxiety and stress, or to aid better sleep, regular meditation can help balance your mind, body and spirit.
People are often put off by meditation, as its perceived to be very "Hippy and New Age" and yes, that is true. Meditation can be very spiritual. It can also be as simple as sitting with your favourite music on, just taking a deep breath in, holding it for a second and breathing it out through your nose.
Meditation is just a set of techniques that are intended to encourage focused attention and heightened awareness.
I look at meditation as "me time." I flip the switch in my mind, so that I can just lose myself for a moment. It's not about changing your personality, it's about altering your perspective and general day-to-day mindset. When you meditate, you're in an altered state of consciousness. It's like learning any new skill, you have to practice, practice, practice!
But I have no idea how do I even go about meditating...
It can be as simple as finding a quiet place, at a convenient time and breathing deeply in and out. Make it a moment in your day that you truly enjoy. Whether it's bright and early to set you up for the day, or last thing at night to help you wind down and possibly help you drift off to sleep. Perhaps after a bath as this will have started to encourage relaxation.
Best way to start is to join a meditation group, as you will be alongside like-minded individuals. Not only will they nurture you, but help you unleash your full potential. You can follow along with guided meditations that will help you understand how it all works and talk to people about your new experiences.
Types of Meditation
This tends to be the most popular as it's exactly that, a teacher guiding you through the meditation. It's extremely useful for beginners, as the teacher often helps to build their visualisation by use of descriptive words and suggestions.
These basic steps will help you grow and understand the basic principles of meditation and possibly even become part of your daily routine.
A meditation style used by people with a more advanced understanding. It's going solo, whether that's guiding yourself in your mind or just silently focusing on a sound or your breath. This kind of meditation can be done in a place of work due to the fact it's all about focus. Just pick up on that one noise and put all your attention on it. Your mind will begin to calm, from the crazy whirlwind of pressure and deadlines. It really is a chance to just catch a breath when it all gets a bit too much.
Other type which you might not have heard of are:
what are the benefits?
There are many benefits to daily meditation. Interestingly, it can have a huge impact on various aspects of daily life. It's a positive approach to mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, and helps to restore balance and harmony.
If you are all about the science of it, there's tonnes of studies out there that show all the research backing up these benefits. Feel free to scroll google for them, but essentially regular meditation will help the following:
1.) Reduce Stress Levels:
It's a fact that our lifestyles are stressful. Stress can have such a negative impact on your general wellbeing. So, if just adding 10 minutes of meditation a day can reduce stress, it's worth setting that time aside. It will help to improve relationships and will have a knock on effect with productivity.
2.) Helps with Pain Management:
How many times have you heard "It's mind over matter" and rolled your eyes? Well... it's kinda true! There are studies and research to show that it's a moderately effective and holistic approach to pain relief. It works parts of your brain that induces your bodies own opioid system... crazy right!
3.) Improves Sleep Quality:
I don't think I know of many who can say they sleep soundly EVERY single night. Many suffer with sleep disturbance or just can't settle. Meditation will help to bring that sense of calm to your brain, that will allow for better sleep. Sometimes even sending you to sleep... WIN WIN!
4.) Reduces Risk of Cardiovascular Conditions:
Less stress will help maintain a healthy heart. The British Heart Foundation said "15 minutes of meditation a day reduced the risk of death, heart attack, and stroke by 48 per cent"
That's a big percentage for something so simple!
5.) Promotes Weight Loss:
It's not going to have you losing pounds overnight, but a better sense of wellbeing, will boost your positive impact. When I'm stressed or upset, I comfort eat... I'm sure many are in the same boat. Meditation will help balance those emotions, which allows you to make better food choices and decisions, promoting a healthier lifestyle.