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MEDITATION

WHAT, WHY, HOW, BENEFITS & CHALLENGES



WHAT IS MEDITATION?

woman meditating on bed in pyjamas and eye mask next to dog

Meditation is a set of techniques you practice to encourage a heightened state of awareness and focused attention. A way of grounding and coming back to yourself, learning to see your thoughts for what they are, just thoughts, not real, not right or wrong, just thoughts. It is a technique that develops concentration, clarity, emotional positivity and a calmness. Meditation is a deliberate means of changing how you perceive and respond to the world around you.


WHY MEDITATE?


So many things in life are beyond our control, but we can take responsibility for how we see, feel and react, to what life throws at us. According to Buddhism it is the only real antidote to our sadness, anxieties, fears, hate, anger, confusions and other struggles we have that manifest in the mind. Most religions have a tradition of using some form of mediation practice, but you don't need to be religious to practice yourself. There are many different types of meditation and some are even used as a psychotherapeutic technique.


Mindfulness is known to impact the brain systems that control emotion regulation and self awareness. Research in neuroscience has linked meditation and mindfulness to many physical health benefits, this area of neuroscience is called neuroplasticity.


Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change and adapt over time.

Meditation practice has been linked to an increased thickness in the cortex, an area that is important for the general cognitive function, like attention and sensory processing. Mindfulness sends signals to the brain that we are more effective at dealing with everyday tasks when we are aware, observant, nonreative and nonjudgemental. This causes our brain to make the changes that will improve our ability to function mindfully.

woman meditating with lotus pose

Meditation has been studied for many years and practiced for thousands. There are so many health and wellness benefits, to your body and mind, it's also free can be done almost anywhere and only requires a short period of time, done consistently, to have incredible positive effects on your life and health.



HOW TO MEDITATE?


There are many different types of meditation practice. The easiest way to get started is by using guided meditation, where someone talks you through the process and helps to bring your awareness back, when your thoughts take you off somewhere. You can download one of the many mediation apps and start with 10 minutes every day when you wake up.


woman meditating on a yoga mat next to the sea watching the sunset

THE BASICS

  • Choose a quiet spot with no distractions.

  • Set a time limit or use a guided meditation for 10 mins.

  • Get comfortable, you can sit cross legged on the bed, floor or anywhere you are.

  • Relax with a straight back and focus on your body and how it feels.

  • Rest your hands on your knees and relax your shoulders and neck.

  • Take a few deep slow breaths.

  • Focus on your breath, expand your belly when you inhale, breathing into your belly.

  • Slowly exhale, relax and let go of any stress.

  • Notice your thoughts.

  • The purpose of mediation is not to clear your mind, your mind will always wander!

  • Focus on bringing your attention back to your breath when you feel yourself drifting away.

  • Don't pay attention to your thoughts or judge them or analyse them.

  • Let them come and then let them drift off.

  • It can useful to see your thoughts as clouds and let them pass by as they come.


THAT'S IT....YOU'RE MEDITATING!


CHALLENGES

woman meditating in front of large window with nice scenery

Mediation is a practice, there is no end goal or doing it right or wrong. Don't put any pressure on yourself to achieve something. It is working, trust the process. You just need to make a commitment to practice every day to build a new habit. The benefits are not immediate. Think of it as a form of self care and growth.


Start slowly with no expectations, just 5-10 minutes a day and set a schedule to practice regularly at the same time every day. Make sure you are comfortable with no distractions and have a gentle smile on your face, it helps you to relax. When I first starting meditating I always thought I was doing it wrong and found it really challenging to relax when my thoughts were running wild in my head for most of the time! It was only when I realised that was supposed to be happening and the whole process was about noticing them, and practicing to let them go, that I began to enjoy it! Now I love it, and meditate every morning when I wake up for 10 minutes, I stretch and relax and take that time to just recenter and rebalance before my day starts.


Remember!

This is your time, just for you! It's only 10 minutes. You can block out the world and reconnect with yourself, rebalance and relax. Calm your busy mind and learn to manage your thoughts and how you react to your world.


Your thoughts create your reality! Change your thoughts and you change your world!


BENEFITS


When you induce a state of relaxation, which can be achieved through mindfulness, which is a form of meditation, you can experience benefits including


Higher Brain Functioning

Increased Immune Function

Lower Blood Pressure & Heart Rate

Increased Attention, Focus & Awareness

Increased Clarity in Thinking & Perception

Improve Self Awareness

Lower Anxiety, Depression & Stress

Management of Headaches & Pain

Ability to Cope with Difficult Life Situations

Control Overthinking, Catastrophising & Negative Emotions

Better Sleep

Feel Compassion & Empathy for Others

Let go of Anger, Hate, Envy and other Negative Toxic Emotions

Experience Gratitude and Self Love

Feeling Calm & Internally Still

Feel Connected and Grounded


The benefits far outweigh the effort to build a new habit. Try one of the guided meditation apps to help get you started!


ITS EASY, FREE, ONLY TAKES 10 MINUTES, AND YOU CAN DO IT ANYWHERE!