If you are like the majority of people, you probably feel there is never enough time. As a result, your mind is busy making lists, making plans and trying to multi-task in an effort to get everything done.
While we may feel this is helping, it’s actually leading to increased levels of stress and tension.
One of the best things you can do is to clear your mind with meditation. Meditation has been quieting the mind, relaxing the spirit and pacifying the body for thousands of years. It’s healthy and it can make a huge difference in your life.
But before you say, “I don’t have time”, it’s important to understand that meditation does not have to take hours and hours. With practice, you can learn to restore your calm and inner peace in as little as five minutes. However, practice is the key.
Types of meditation
There are many ways to engage in meditation. For example:
- concentrating on your breathing
- being mindful of your bodily sensations, feelings and thoughts — without any form of judgement
- emptying the mind of all thoughts
- focusing your attention on an object
- movement-based meditation such as yoga, qi gong or tai chi
- using a mantra, that is, repeating a word or phrase over and over, either aloud or silently.
Meditating can decrease your stress levels by relaxing the nervous system, increasing the levels of pleasant hormones, such as endorphins, and decreasing the levels of harmful ones, such as cortisol. As well as delivering a sense of calm and inner peace, meditation has been shown to help with disorders such as:
- anxiety and depression
- chronic pain
- headaches and migraines
- high blood pressure
- eating disorders
- substance abuse
- recovery from an accident or illness.
If you have any pre-existing health conditions, it’s important to check with your doctor about using meditation as it can worsen symptoms of some mental health conditions. It’s also important to remember that meditation is designed to be used as a complementary treatment, not as a replacement for traditional methods of healing.
How to do it
Find a quiet spot away from distraction. It can be inside or outside. Get comfortable. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Allow your complete attention to fall on your breathing, the inhalation and the exhalation — all other thoughts should gently come and go. Allow thoughts to enter your mind and then send them away gently, one by one.
This is likely to be hard at first because our culture trains us to think. However, meditation is all about stopping the chatter and emptying the mind. Meditating will change your day. For a few moments, you will concentrate on the present to the total exclusion of yesterday and with no worry of tomorrow. The better you get at meditating, the more time you will have to experience complete serenity.
Try meditating for a few minutes every day and build up to whatever works for you. Try it in the morning to align your day or before exercise to get your mind centred and focused. The important thing is not to be frustrated at how easily your mind wanders but to keep practising each day.
If you have trouble focusing, why not try a guided meditation (where a recorded voice tells you what to focus on). You may also wish to seek the assistance of a qualified meditation practitioner.
So, the next time you hear the conflicting thoughts and busyness inside your head, stop for a moment and try meditating. You may just find a moment of peace amidst your busy day.
Vanessa Auditore – Founder & Director. Human Behaviour and Well being specialist.
Resource: Australian Corporate Wellness online portal – HealthIQ