I am prone to feelings of overwhelm when life gets busy so when a friend recommended I incorporate a little time each day for meditation I decided to give it a try. The impact it’s had on my general sense of wellbeing has been amazing. It helps to clear my mind, promotes calm and often means I’m more productive in the hours that follow. The beautiful thing about meditating is that you can do it anywhere, any time and scale it to suit your needs or capacity. It can be as simple as spending a few minutes paying attention to your breath on the train, or as in depth as sitting for half an hour in silence breathing deeply in and out.
What are the benefits?
There are so many reasons to meditate, here are a few:
- It reduces stress and aids relaxation
- It helps you appreciate beauty in everyday things and moments by opening you up to mindfulness
- It encourages you to slow down, simplify and be present
- It increases focus, memory, happiness
- It brings a self awareness, both in body and mind
How to create a daily practise?
There are countless ways to meditate and you can find lots of resources and advice online if you dig a little into the topic. My approach was to find a way to make meditation a daily habit, something that was easy to slot into my day to day and encourage me to keep at it.
If you’re interested in creating a daily practise of your own here are a few starting points:
1. Start small. Aim to meditate for just 2 minutes a day. By starting gently you won’t feel daunted by the task and you’ll give yourself time to get used to the process of meditating, allowing yourself to slowly increase the timeframe each week from 2 to 5 to 8 to 10 minutes and so on.
2. Try to do it at similar times each day. You don’t have to stick to an exact time religiously, but having a regular space in your daily rhythm will help you to establish a habit of meditation. Some people find getting up before the rest of the house is the best time for them, others like to do it mid morning, after lunch or in the evening. There’s no science as to when is best, tailor it to your needs and your natural rhythm.
3. Choose a quiet place. This doesn’t have to be a private space in your home, it could be out in public and you can choose a different location each time you meditate, so long as you choose somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed.
4. Get comfy. It doesn’t matter how to sit/lie but it’s crucial you’re comfortable. I like to sit with my legs stretched out in front of me and uncrossed on a chair, the end of the bed or on the sofa.
6. Focus your mind on your breath. Take a deep breath in through your nostrils, focus on how it feels as the air passes through your nose, into your throat and down into your lungs and tummy. Then follow your breath back out through your body back into the room. You can have your eyes open or closed provided your mind is focusing on your breathing. If you struggle with your mind wandering, try a different breathing practise where you cover one nostril, breathe in to 4 or 5 counts then cover your other nostril and breathe out through the other one. To begin with you’ll find your mind starts to hop about all over the place but in time it will be easy to empty those thoughts and just focus on your breath and your body. Soften all your joints as you breathe out – pay attention to your hands – are they clenching? Is your jaw tensed, your spine soft, your toes loose. Soften your whole body with each breath and bring yourself back to the rhythmic breathing again and again.
If you find you need a little more help to get going the 1 Giant Mind App is great for helping you get started with daily meditation. Do you meditate and if so what do you find helpful in/for your practise? Feel free to share useful links and resources in the comments below…