Life at times can seem stressful and even overwhelming. In these times, meditation is the key to building mental resilience and the ability to flow with life, with more ease and more grace. For example, meditation involves taking a few moments to draw a few deep breaths and consciously observe and validate any thoughts and emotions that are making you feel tense. This process allows your feelings of stress to pass through your energetic system allowing you to feel peaceful and calm once again.
The process of observing your inner world is known as mindfulness, it is a form of meditation that can be practiced literally anywhere and requires only yourself. Mindfulness practitioners focus on living in the moment and spend less time thinking about the past or the future.
Conditions that Meditation can Help
- Stressed, overwhelmed, anxious or depressed
- Find it difficult to concentrate or have clarity when making decisions
- Struggle with insomnia
- Experience chronic pain
- Have fractured or challenging relationships
1. Mental Health
Meditation when practiced regularly can positively impact your mental health. Many sources of anxiety come from events that have happened in the past, or from feared events that may or may or may not occur. By living in the moment, you will spend less time worrying about the past and future (which drains your energy) and instead focus on dealing with any challenges as they occur.
Meditation can help you process painful emotions from the present or any unresolved issues from the past. Practicing mindfulness will allow you to reason your way through any challenging situation rather than letting your emotions run away with you and causing conflict to escalate.
2. Physical Health
Stress at consistently high levels can be detrimental to your physical health. This is because your body when stressed is in a state of survival, that is fight or flight. When we are in survival mode hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released to allow us to run or attack in a threatening situation. The problem is that the threatening situations of modern life are usually in our mind in the form of worry or fear.
We don’t need to physically run or attack and the excess of adrenaline and cortisol is left in our body. According to the Mayo Clinic the long-term activation of the survival response — and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones — can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems, including:
- Digestive problems
- Heart disease
- Sleep problems
- Weight gain
- Memory and concentration impairment
By adopting a regular mindfulness practice, you can teach your body to be in a consistent state of thriving rather than surviving. If you are maintaining your emotional and mental health, it will have a positive impact on your physical health.
3. Boosting Happiness
Meditation, allows you to process any emotions that are stuck or weighing you down (perhaps even creating depression and anxiety), by observing them and letting them go. Happiness is your natural state. You are born to live a happy, healthy life. When you have the tools to process any blockages or areas in your life that take you away from your natural status, it empowers you to have control over your emotional state. Unconscious thoughts and feelings no longer hold you back and you are free to step into your fully empowered happy state.
This process generally does not occur overnight. Like anything worthwhile, such as exercising to get fit, it can take time and effort to form new life-enhancing habits, particularly in the first 21 days or so. However, if you stick with it you will find the rewards well worth it. How happy you feel directly relates to your mental state, so try mindfulness to tap into your deep sense of happiness and well-being within.
How to meditate
1. Sit in a comfortable position
Ideally with your spine straight to allow energy to flow freely. The lotus position crossed legged, on a chair, sofa or bed is fine. Ideally do not lie down as it easy to fall asleep and ideally in meditation, you must remain conscious which allows you to observe your inner world.
2. Close your eyes, turn your attention inwards
Focus on your breath. Take three deep long breaths in and out to calm your nervous system and help to refocus your attention inwards. Keep breathing naturally.
3. Your mind is likely to wander
that is natural and unavoidable because you’re human…probably. When this occurs gently segue your mind back to the rhythm of your breath. There are too many mindfulness techniques to mention here, however here are a few that are widely used. Focus on counting backwards from 100. Use a mantra (a word or words you repeat), that can be anything. Common mantras include the words Om or I am that, or So Ham. Focussing your mind on mindfulness trains your mind to be resilient and centered so you can decide your thought and resulting feelings, rather than having them unconsciously controlling you.
Become aware of the movements and energy blockages in your body, is another powerful mindfulness technique. Feel the rise and fall of your abdomen, the energy in your fingers. Go with the flow, surrender to the sensations of your body.
4. Help I’m Finding it too hard!
Like any other skill, mindfulness requires practice and discipline (think of this as blissipline!) in order to master. You may feel very resistant in the beginning, this is understandable, but work through any resistance to discover the joy and peace on the other side.
1. Making your meditation practice timeframes realistic. Choose a time of day and length of time that you can commit to consistently. It may be 10 minutes three times a week when you first get out of bed or if your day is simply too hectic, practice in bed before going to sleep. If you feel you don’t have time to meditate, overcome this resistance, by recognising that when you feel calmer and clearer due to meditation you will have more space, peace and time in your life.
2. If idle negative thoughts such as ‘this is stupid’ persist in your mind, observe those thoughts in a non-judgemental way and let them go. Gently replace them with positive thoughts such as I have got this, or Meditation allows me to feel peaceful and calm, and you will find it much easier to engage in your practice.
3. If you are having difficulties maintaining concentration, just accept that this is how it is for you. When we resist something we will maintain it. This is in accordance with Newtons Law that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Resistance can be natural, but with mindfulness practice, you will in the space of weeks find yourself looking forward to meditation and connecting with your joy and peace within.
Connect to Inner Peace
Meditation is a powerful tool that originated in ancient times, yet never before in the history of the earth is it so critical that humankind needs to learn how to make peace with its mind. According to the World Health Organisation, the biggest epidemic of the 21st century is Stress. Mindfulness is a free practical tool, without side-effects that can be practiced freely in your timeframe at your convenience.