Now I’m sure you’ve heard of meditation and it’s increasing popularity, it seems like everyone is jumping on the bandwagon these days. Now I’m not going to lie, I was VERY sceptical (partly due to the fact I just can’t sit still). I basically pictured people who meditated to be super spiritual and have a special skill that makes their mind go off into another galaxy and makes them all Zen. However, with the recent changes to my morning routine and reading so many books talking about all its benefits I thought I would give it a go! Ive also created a free downloadable meditation schedule for you to start using to record your time and get you going on your mindfulness journey.
Meditation is basically way of training the mind in attention and awareness. It can be used to achieve mental clarity and emotional stability. Many people see it as a way to reduce stress and increase concentration. If you suffer from anxiety, meditation and mindfulness can be an extremely helpful technique to develop!
Where do I Even Start?
There are a few different types of mediation. The first is focused or mindful meditation, where is where you focus on a specific thing for example; breathing, an object or sensation in your body. Open-minded meditation is the other common type of meditation where you pay attention to what’s happening around you. Simply notice the things and your thoughts as they happen without reacting- this all about being present. Then there is Guided Meditation, which is what I do, and perfect for beginners! This is basically where a person guides you through a meditation which you can do through so many apps and is the PERFECT place to start,
Firstly I want to say that after a lot of research of meditation I was making this practise seem like a mountain of a task that really is an ant hill. I placed a lot of pressure on myself before starting to really get this right and sit there with ZERO thoughts going through my mind-and of course being human that didn’t happen BUT that’s ok and all part of the process.
Even now I’ve been meditating for a couple of months I still have days where I sit there and have thoughts passing through my mind instead of focusing on the the guided meditation and that’s normal. One thing I want to stress is that that isn’t about having ANOTHER thing to do- its about taking time for yourself and just being present. I really want you to think about the last time you were truly present and not consumed by thought and all the things you have to do. This practise is about giving your mind a proper break and reconnecting with yourself.
Benefits of Meditation
There are so many benefits to meditation but for me specifically I’ve found its reduced my stress, increased mental clarity, made me more patient and also more present in the moment (which is kind of a big deal for me as someone who has anxiety).
Less Stress and Anxiety
As you guys know I suffer from anxiety and since practising meditation I have notice I am managing it much better. Stress and anxiety are the body and mind’s response to unforeseen hurdles. When you encounter an adversity you body activates its flight-or-flight responses through a stress hormone called cortisol. Studies have shown that people who mediate regularly produce less of this hormone. When we meditate, we can also weaken the brains connectivity to anxiety and can learn to observe and react less to thoughts, feelings and sensations that can trigger stress and anxiety. Please note that meditation is intended to help you manage anxiety and is not a cure!
Meditation can improve focus and help you prevent your mind from wandering. By concentrating on your breath, a sensation or an object and bringing back your attention each time it wanders you are training your mind to concentrate and wander less which aids us to complete tasks and make decisions more effectively and efficiently.
Moodiness- its part of being human.. And I feel as mums we are continuously experiencing situations that can affect our mood eg, kids, work, household tasks, partners and cold coffees! It’s not uncommon to go from happy to gloomy in minutes but with meditation we can gain some positive control over these mood swings.
Through meditation you can learn to identify and develop a better understanding of the emotions effecting your mood, and learn how to navigate through or away from it all together. You learn that feelings come and go, and this applies to your bad mood!
Studies have found that people who practiced meditation increase their performance at generating new ideas. I’ve personally found this to be true for me especially with my job was a content creator and designing new products. This I believe is due to the simple fact of being present and not thinking of all the things you have to do. With less stress the more room there is in your mind to be creative.
Compassion & Empathy
Research has shown that empathy and compassion are higher in individuals that meditate regularly. One practice of meditation that focuses on compassion and empathy is metta meditation (loving and kindness meditation). This involves focusing your thoughts on a subject and involves sending thoughts and feelings of goodwill, kindness and warmth towards it by repeating a series of mantras e.g. ‘may you be happy, may you be free from suffering’. This is easiest starting with a loved one and then expanding into others further into your meditation training.
Apps- My Favourites
There are so many resources and apps available for meditation but here are my favourites and perfect for anyone starting out.
Bloom: Better You
Designed to provide you with tools and skills to help sleep better, reduce stress levels and create a more relaxed lifestyle, Bloom is one of my favourites and perfect for those wanting to begin their journey in meditation. The guided meditations are easy to follow, and there’s some really cool activities available to help ease your mind before bed – musical Zen and ripples are favourites of mine!
Headspace: Meditation & Sleep
Packed with hundreds of guided meditations designed to increase your mindfulness, focus, exercise and sleep, and decrease panic, stress, anxiety, the Headspace app is an awesome tool developed by former monk and mindful expert Andy Puddicombe. The app also features handy 2-3 minute ‘mini meditations’ for quick mental resets.
If you’re after something to sooth you, the Calm app is great for bringing better sleep and relaxation. The Early childhood settings are also great for introducing meditation to your little ones. Each guided meditation is easy to listen to.
Rated one of the ‘Happiest Apps in the World’, this app has a lot of featured health and mindfulness coaches and experts. Thousands of guided meditations, Insight Timer is great for both beginners and experts. Designed to help calm the mind, reduce anxiety, manage stress, improve happiness and increase deep sleep
FREE MEDITATION SCHEDULE
I hope this blog has helped give you the resources and tools to get you started on your meditation journey! I have created a meditation schedule for you to get started! Simply fill out how long you meditated each day, what you’re grateful for and what your intentions are for that day!