I want to talk this week about meditation. This is a practise that I’ve recommenced over the past few months because of the numerous benefits to health and peace of mind. A few minutes of meditation can relax my muscles and calm my state of mind, setting me up for the day. As we all know there are so many things that we can’t control in life, but one thing we can do is control our state of mind and learn how to use our emotions and responses for the better. Meditation is so helpful with positively reinforcing your belief in yourself and your ability to deal with situations.
Now on my journey, on and off, over the past twenty years I haven’t found this easy. I’ve spend time on my own, in meditation groups, Buddhist centres and even in a little room in a busy recreation centre with the sound of balls bouncing off walls and children shouting.
One thing I have learnt with all this is that it can be really infuriating and takes practice and patience, but the benefits are really worth it. Nowadays I find a little time at some point in the day and use an app on my phone called Insight Timer – Meditation Timer. It gives me the option of guided meditations for relaxation, peace of mind, health or anything I fancy I can also just put the timer on with relaxing background music. Now I realise that many of you reading this will think that you just don’t have time, but let me ask, do you spend a few minutes a day looking on social media? A Zen Proverb states “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”
Science has now caught up with thousands of years of Eastern practice and studies at Harvard Medical School have found that individuals who used long term relaxation methods like yoga and meditation, in fact had many more active “disease-fighting genes” than those who did not undertake a form of relaxation.
Research has also shown that there are many positive benefits and I have listed a few below:
1. Increased Immunity
2. Emotional Balance
3. Increased Fertility
4. Relieves Irritable Bowel Syndrome
5. Lowers Blood Pressure
There are varying ways to simply practise meditation. You can start by simply watching you breath. Slowly breathe in through your nose and extend your breath to your abdomen and then gradually exhale whilst being aware of all tensions being released. If your mind wanders whilst doing this, let your thoughts go and return to following your breath. You’ll be amazed at how relaxed you feel.
I’ve found that meditation has the additional benefits of helping me to trust my instincts more. I feel that I’m drawn to go somewhere, do something or say something that is really beneficial not just to me but to others around me. I also feel more able to deal with difficult situations, although not always because let’s face it this thing called life isn’t always easy. But I feel a little more at peace and in control of my responses and decisions.
Give it a go and let me know how it is for you.
Love Rachel x