What is meditation?
The answer can mean something different to everyone, and in turn can bring about different results for different people. Meditation is simply a form of encouraging a deeper state of calm and awareness, and allows us to take a chance to work through issues in life that can often be pushed aside. Feeling anxious, stressed or worried can take its toll on you; which can affect your personality, health and the people around you. Spending time with yourself can help you to see life from a different, bigger perspective. After meditating, you can feel uplifted, calmer and more in tune with your surroundings. You may find that you are able to think clearer, and make decisions more easily.
Why should I meditate?
You can find many benefits from meditating. If you find yourself in a particularly difficult situation it can help with stress relief or anxiety. It’s the mind’s attempt to avoid and fix things in this moment that fuels the negativity. This meditative state of mind can allow you to cope with a variety of emotions in your everyday life. Through exercising the mind you can begin to look at life’s situations in a different light.
Aside from inspiring happiness, meditation may help you to:
• Deal with stress and anxiety
• Sleep better
• Become more patient
• Improve focus
• Be kinder to people
• Develop better relationships & communication
• Cope better with depression or grief
• Heighten creativity
• Increase self worth
• Enhance memory
• Handle angry emotions
There are many different ways in which we can meditate; there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way. Mindfulness meditation is one of them. Simply turning off the TV, putting down your phone, grabbing a cup of tea or just taking in your surroundings are some of them. You may prefer a long walk in the countryside, or cooking a healthy meal. It is about learning to approach whatever is happening in the present moment, putting aside your senses of judgement and just letting your mind deal with whatever is there. Many people associate meditation with performing yoga in front of a picturesque sunset, but meditation is not about how flexible you are. You can learn to be mindful in everyday situations. Just altering your breathing can act as a form of meditation.
Start at the beginning
If you are interested in meditation but are unsure where to start, there are plenty of ways to get going. You don't need to set aside all day, sometimes only ten minutes of meditation can alter your mood, state of mind and approach. You could start with a simple mindful breathing technique. The key to this is to direct your attention to your breathing. Focus on inhaling and exhaling. Ideally for this you will be sitting or lying down, making sure you are in a comfortable position. You may find it easier to maintain your focus if you close your eyes. Then take notice of your body and consciously relax. Find any areas of tension and try and release this. Just breathe. Your mind may naturally begin to wander and think about other things, and if it does, try to direct your thoughts back to focusing on your breath and pattern of your breathing. Do this for ten to fifteen minutes and acknowledge how it brings you into the here and now. Remember that meditation is a personal experience, focus on how much there is to gain from spending time with yourself.