Meditation. Spiritual, soothing, focused, peaceful or time wasting, ridiculous, pointless, LA celebrity fad? I’m sure many will have opinions of what they believe meditation to be, but I would say try not to judge until you have experienced it for yourself.
As part of my journey to improve my mental well being and develop myself as an individual, I have introduced meditation into my life. I haven’t gone out all crazy with taking on bendy yoga moves (something I want to work up towards) but simply focused on the art of breathing.
Meditation is defined as:
“ a practice where an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content, or as an end in itself.”
It is very much identified as a Buddhist method, however it has become more mainstream, if you like, in recent years. I find it allows me to let go of tension, stress and worries, and become more focused and peaceful within myself. I leave meditation feeling calm and happy, and prepared to take on the day.
I haven’t yet made this a complete habit – I’d like to have meditation in my routine daily, but for now I try to do it at least 4-5 times per week, especially when I feel anxious.
How does it work?
Your mind is constantly fizzing over with different thoughts and feelings, so meditation is used as a way of clearing those thoughts and calming your mind. I struggled to get to grips with it at the start, but persistence is key.
I am no way an expert, but this is what I do:
I generally sit cross-legged, back upright and my hands resting on my knees in a quiet place. You can have your hands in the stereotypical ‘ok’ sign but I found this really distracting and I felt like I wasn’t focusing whilst doing so! I then set a timer on my phone for 5 minutes, with the alarm being ripples (on an iphone) as this is soothing to ‘wake up’ from after being in meditation! I then close my eyes and with each breath count up to 10 on the exhale. If a thought comes into my head I simply acknowledge that and return to count from 1 on my breath. I find about one minute in I am able to completely clear my mind – it took me a lot longer at the start as thoughts would always pop into my head! Then after 5 minutes I will go and make a coffee and sit and drink this slowly before I turn on the tv or look at my phone as I find this time reflective and I am able to focus on something I need a clear mind to think about.
Have you tried meditation and have any tips? I’d love to hear your experience!