If you’ve always wanted to start meditating but find it daunting and slightly intimidating, the irony is, you’re probably overthinking it. Don’t worry about keeping up with the enlightened and focusing on how you’re going to keep your thoughts at bay. You don’t have to spend years dedicated to it, just start, and go from there.
Simply, it’s the practice of focusing your mind to bring about stillness and peace; learning to let go and relax. It’s about taking the time to achieve a blank state of mind; no pesky thoughts running around. Don’t think about tomorrow, don’t think about what you didn’t do yesterday, and don’t scan your cerebral to-do list. Just be
The benefits are many, so it’s best to explore the positive effects on four different aspects of your wellbeing.The first is the spiritual benefits which come through once your ego takes a back seat. When your mind is quiet, you have unhindered access to your spirit and soul; check in with your inner self and start moving towards a higher consciousness. Meditation clears psychic pathways and allows you to properly care for your energy reserves. Then there are the physical advantages, which are grounded in research. Meditation can reduce stress, and relieve stress-related conditions like PTSD, IBS and fibromyalgia. It gears your brain to better process information and reduces age-related memory loss, blood pressure and inflammation. That’s a whole lot of good for doing nothing. Thirdly, there are a host of mental benefits that come with calming the mind. When life puts you in a pressure cooker, it’s great to have tools to help you detach from the chaos. Meditation can act as an escape, with research proving it can help with anxiety, depression and insomnia, as well as boost your wellbeing. Lastly, there are the emotional strengths of meditation. It grows your self-love, as well as your positive feelings about others in your life. Connecting to the source energy lifts you from a position of sinking in fear to floating with universal love. From here, you can better let things go; the little things don’t stick so much, and the negative feelings don’t set in.
There are hundreds of forms of meditation, stemming from Buddhist, Vedic, Christian and Chinese traditions. Because there are so many types of practices, it’s impossible to do them justice here. Some of the most popular types include mindfulness, transcendental, guided, vipassana, body scan, breath awareness, loving-kindness, chakra, zen and kundalini yoga meditations. Ask the people you know that meditate, what works for them, then do your research and give one of these ago. If it’s not right for you, don’t give up – try another form.
If you have unrealistic expectations around your practice, it’s destined to fail. Your best bet is to start small and find your meditation groove. This sweet spot is different for everyone; it can be anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. Your optimum practice will be however long is achievable, sustainable and allows you to make it part of your routine. Remember it’s quality over quantity; research shows frequency means more than duration. That means 10 minutes every day is better than 70 minutes once per week.
When you start meditating, leave your expectations at the door. Again, the effects are different for everyone; some feel benefits after meditating once, and for some, it takes weeks, months, or more. Consistency is king. Facts show meditation changes your brain’s shape after two months; the most beneficial practice being 10-20 minutes, 3 times a week.
● Meditate your way
● Start small (3-5 minutes)
● Discover the principles of meditation
● Stop your all-or-nothing approach
● Don’t criticise yourself
● Learn to recognise your thoughts before trying to restructure them
It takes time to master meditation, but it’s well worth it. Stick with it, and you’ll eventually get to the point where you have a solid practice you can rely on. Your meditation will not only help you navigate the tough times but also build your resilience, energy reserves to help you stay buoyant and positive.