Tips on Meditation
Learning to meditate is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. One of the most common misconceptions is that it’s about ‘switching’ off your brain. Think about as focusing on the present moment which allows you to create space between the thoughts.
Regular meditation practices have been proven to:
o reduce stress
o alleviate anxiety and depression
o improve sleep
o boost the immune system
o increase the ability to focus
o lower blood pressure
Above all, meditation simply makes you feel better – calmer, more resilient, better able to respond to stressful situations rather than react…hopefully as you start to feel the benefits you will be inspired to practice regularly.
It is a common myth I hear from clients is that they think meditation is about stopping or controlling thoughts. That’s one reason why many people think they’ll never be able to meditate.
Just as the heart is meant to beat, the mind is supposed to think. Whether you focus on the breath, or do a body scan, the purpose of mindfulness meditation is simply to become aware of what’s going on without reacting to it. To avoid getting caught up in the ‘stories’ of the mind and instead let your awareness rest in the present moment.
Another common misconception is that you need to meditate seated bolt upright!
What’s important is that you’re able to sit comfortably, preferably with your torso upright. But you could rest against a wall. For some people sitting in a cross-legged position is uncomfortable, in which case lay down with your feet on the ground and knees bent. This allows your diaphragm to relax allowing your breath to flow freely. If you think laying down might send you straight off to sleep, you could use a chair.
What’s important is to be consistent
Try and make time to meditate every day, or if every day feels too much at first, you can make a pact with yourself not to go more than three days without meditating. Many people meditate first thing in the morning, right after waking up – but it might fit in better for you at another time of day. Whenever you do it, try to be consistent with the time and place you meditate, so you give yourself the best chance of building a regular habit. Start with just five minutes and then build up from there.
Every day will be different; that’s why it’s called a ‘practice’. Be proud of yourself for making a commitment.