Meditation. Does that word conjure an image of a Buddhist Monk sitting on a mountain uninterrupted in silence? For many it does which is why it’s no wonder meditation seems out of reach.
Meditation doesn’t have to mean total silence or sitting uncomfortably cross-legged on the floor. It doesn’t have to be for a long period of time and you don’t have to stop thinking. Meditation can be for 1 minute or less and still be effective.
Meditation gives us an opportunity to pause during our day, a reset for our body and mind that can calm our thoughts, reduce our stress and help us to gain more clarity. So often we are so busy caught up ‘doing’ that we forget to pause and ‘be’. When we stop we have the ability to tune in to our internal thoughts and feelings.
Meditation and mindfulness are mind-training exercises. It is not a skill we are born with it is a skill that requires practice, and gradually builds with our efforts. Just like we don’t go to the gym once and think we are fit forever we also don’t meditate once and think we will have calm thoughts forever. Meditation is a cumulative practice.
So often we are multitasking our days away, wondering why we forget things and brewing a level of anxiety about our ever growing to do lists. The old badge of honour for how many items you can have on the go at once is not proving to be the most effective way to spend our days.
Meditation can happen at your office desk, in your car (obviously not with your eyes closed), in the shopping queue or anywhere you find yourself with time up your sleeve. It doesn’t have to be somewhere without distractions, in fact distractions can help to focus and concentrate your mind.
You can begin meditating by simply taking 5 slow exaggerated deep breaths. This could be a starting point for your practice. Once you have mindfully done this every day for 1 week then you can increase and double it to 10 deep breaths in the next week. Build your practice slowly so you can have a longer and more sustainable practice.
If you prefer to be guided through a meditation then you can download a guided meditation practice and you can listen to this on the train, in the park, at your desk, over lunch or you could even attend a class. You don’t have to be sitting still with your eyes closed to gain benefit from your practice.
TOP TIPS FOR MEDITATING
- Keep your focus on one element, to start with your breath is ideal
- Silence your technology
- Don’t try and stop thinking. It is not possible. Thoughts will come and go, that’s ok, let them go like clouds floating by.
- 1 minute is better than no minutes. At the end of the day if we can take just 1 minute throughout the day to meditate and calm our mind then we are programming our brains to be more focussed and calm more often. Meditation is your own personal practice and is something you can take at your own pace and build upon for your best brain power.