Posted on May 30, 2019 by Emily Forbes

You probably didn’t know this (I didn’t) but Monday 21st May was World Meditation Day. But just because the date has passed, don’t let that put you off giving meditation a go. I’m a big fan (like you didn’t know that!?). I think there are still many misconceptions about meditation, a big one “I don’t think I’m doing it right”. Or that in order to meditate you have to be some sort of mega spiritualist recluse who sits in lotus position all day in a dark cave. Don’t worry, I’m here to tell you the benefits and ways of getting started.

Benefits of Meditation:

  • Reduce stress
  • Control anxiety
  • Improve emotional well-being
  • Enhances self-awareness
  • Lengthens your attention span
  • May reduce age-related memory loss
  • Can generate kindness
  • May help support addictions
  • Improves sleep
  • Helps control pain
  • Can decrease blood pressure
  • You can meditate anywhere

How to Meditate:

  • First, find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for the desired amount of time. This could be anywhere, your bedroom, the car, a beach, the work store cupboard!
  • There are 1000s of ways to meditate but to get you started you might want to try some apps like HeadSpace or Calm.
  • YouTube also has a gazillion guided meditations and meditation music.
  • The breath is one of the best meditation tools and always available. You could use it by counting it, either on the inhales or exhales. In yoga nidra, you count down from the number 27, if you lose your count you go back and start counting back again.
  • You can also just focus on the place where you notice the breath first. This might be in the nostrils or the chest moving. Keep your awareness on this place. If your attention goes just bring it back to that single point once you are aware your mind has wandered.
  • Don’t get annoyed if your mind does drift off, this is what it does. Just bring it back. This is actually a good thing, it’s awareness of the present moment. The mind is like a naughty puppy that you want to train to sit still. The puppy wants to run off every second to play, but you have to pick it up and get it to stay. You might have to do this a thousand or a million times. But you keep doing it. Over time the puppy learns to sit for a longer period. But it does not master this skill overnight.
  • You don’t have to sit for hours and hours. Even taking 5  minutes of conscious breathing can soothe the nervous system and bring a state of relaxation.

I’m pretty sure everyone can find 5 minutes in the day to just sit with themselves; no phone, no kids, no work colleagues. Do it for you but everyone in your life will reap the benefits; you can’t give from an empty cup. Self-care is not selfish!

Om Shanti. Emily x