What you’ve always wanted to know about meditation..

What is Meditation?
There can be many different ways to define meditation depending on your religious beliefs, but this simple one I like from Headspace, is that meditation is the exercise to familiarise yourself with the qualities of mindfulness; being in the present moment, free from distraction and judgement. It really is a practice that will help train your mind to become calmer and clearer – and don’t we all want that?!

What are the benefits of Meditation?
There are so many benefits to mediation, some that you might not even think of! Some of the main ones that have been researched and proven are:

  • Meditation helps to manage stress
  • Meditation can help to reduce anxiety
  • Meditation can help you fall asleep quicker and improve sleep quality
  • Meditation can improve your memory and ability to process information
  • Meditation can enhance your relationship satisfaction, closeness and acceptance of your partner

How do you Meditate?
There are so many different ways to meditate out there, but the primary aspect of them all is focusing your attention on one specific thing like your breath, a mantra, an affirmation or a visualisation. A really simple meditation to start with if you are new is simply sitting on a chair with your eyes closed, hands resting in your lap. Begin to focus on your breath in, and your breath out, and coming back to your breath every time you find your mind wandering to something else. Do this for five minutes – and congratulations, you just meditated!

Why do I find Meditation so hard?
A lot of people who start meditating, find that they can’t keep their thoughts at bay and find their mind wandering over and over again. This leads them to frustration, and an assumption that they are no good at meditation and they give up. If we could just stop the thoughts easily – we wouldn’t need to meditate! The realisation that your mind has wandered is proving that you can bring yourself back to the present moment – and this is where the magic is.

Where can I learn to Meditate?
Our technology era has ensured it has never been easier to learn how to meditate! There are so many apps you can use on your phone with guided meditations, just search ‘mediation’ in your app store. One of my favourites is Headspace, or another great resource for all things meditation is Gabby Bernstein. Also check in with your local community; your local community centre or yoga studio might be running meditation classes or workshops for beginners.

Do I need to sit a certain way to Meditate?
Not necessarily, but again different styles of meditation will have different postures. If you are just beginning, the most common thing to do is sit in a chair, or cross-legged on the floor with a straight back, hands resting in your lap gently. Ensure you try and relax your neck and shoulders.

How  do you find time to Meditate?
You can experience benefits from meditation from as little as five minutes a day. But if you are struggling to find this time, I have written a blog post about how I take charge of my mind as a busy Mum, because I know it isn’t always easy.

My eBook, Simple Steps to Health, talks more about the importance of mindfulness and some more self-care practices you can implement in your life.

Mindful in May is a great campaign if you are interested in starting a meditation practice. It’s a campaign with a cause – check it out.

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