Updated: Sep 21, 2020
We have heard many people recommend meditation, you may even have friends that do it regularly. They say it helps them clear their head and keep them calm, but you are asking if it will actually work for you. First of all, I would suggest you ask yourself what you want it to work for? If you are feeling worried, stressed, overwhelmed, nervous or on a busy schedule then meditation can certainly help to alleviate these feelings.
I have tried meditation practice myself and always get the most out of it following my yoga sessions at Yoga House. To be really honest it is my favourite part, alongside coming out feeling I am now restored to natural alignment. I’ve also spent some time using Youtube videos for a guided meditation practice at home and always feel much better afterwards. Let me explain how by giving you a rounded overview of what meditation is and the benefits.
Meditation was believed to be first recorded 1500 BC. In paintings that showed people in specific poses with half-closed eyes. It originated as an eastern wellness practice and in the current era has become a popular wellness practice all over the world. Meditation by definition is a very personal practice that means to be ‘deep in thought’ or thinking without distraction.
Here are some of the benefits of meditation
• Better focus and concentration
• Improve self-esteem and awareness
• Reduce stress
• Helps to manage anxiety and depression
• Reduce addiction
• Control pain
• Improve clarity
• Increase calm
Whilst these are the benefits the results won’t always be seen straight away. The biggest results come from practicing meditation regularly and consistently.
There are also many ways to meditate. Here are some of the common ones –
This is where you do a normal ritual or habitual activities such as walking the dog, brushing your teeth and aim to stay 100% focused on what you are doing without allowing the mind to wander or let distractions in. If the mind does wander (and it happens to us all) the aim is to bring it back to the moment as swiftly as possible. This can help to control the emotional regulation of the brain which can train the brain to reduce the body’s sensitivity to the fight or flight response.
Body Scan Meditation
This is when you sit or lie with your eyes closed and start to think about relaxing each body part by moving around the body. For example, you could start with one shoulder and tell yourself to relax it then work down to the elbow then the hand and fingertips before moving on to the next body part. The process is over when you have completed each step.
This type of meditation has been shown to reduce symptoms of chronic pain and reduce indulgence tendencies with food alcohol or other addictive urges.
For anyone new to meditation, mindfulness walking can be a great place to start and you can build up from 10 minutes as a starting point. Practiced daily this type of meditation is when you walk and concentrate on each footstep, aiming to be fully in the present. Research has shown that this practice can reduce stress and anxiety dramatically. Set a goal for 7 days and see how you feel.
This type of meditation is all about being grateful and appreciating the small things in life. Start by taking 5 deep breaths and then in your head list all of the things that you are grateful for, the bees, the flowers, the trees, the sun, your dog, the people in your life, as many things as possible. Once you have done this follow with another 5 rounds of breathing. This done daily for 7 days has been shown to increase happiness and reduce anxiety and stress symptoms by 35%.
To answer the question of whether it will work, it is all down to giving yourself time. It is called meditation ‘practice’ for a reason. It is not something to perfect and some days will be much easier than others. As mentioned earlier it really is about the discipline and the consistency of meditation.
Give it a go, find a quiet place, sit or lie comfortably and still, breathe gently and allow distractions to come and go.
Let us know how you get on by leaving a comment below.
The Modern Mind Group are advocates of positive mental health and want to help as many people as possible have a good quality of life.