The demands of life as we know it mean that so many of us feel as though we don’t have time to take out a small number of minutes each day to practice important self-care, whether this is through meditation, generally relaxing, or just taking time out for ourselves. But what most of us don’t realise is that by taking out this small amount of time, you’re actually putting your mind in a more positive place, meaning that you are more able to focus on the day ahead.
Simple meditation can take you away from the pressures of the outside world, however hectic your day may be, however stressed you may feel, meditation can instantly take you to a place of inner peace and stability. It has the ability to transform the way we think, overcoming negativity and finding better thought patterns to keep us grounded and more focused. After all, it is the Buddhist belief that a mind free from stress and worry is a happy one, and by holding on to negativity and suffering, we are withholding our ability to find true happiness.
“Where there is peace and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor doubt” – St. Francis de Sales
Meditation can seem like a difficult thing to master. And it is. If it was easy to stop and take control of your mind and your thoughts, then the world in which we live would be a far more peaceful place. However, learning the right techniques can make this concept seem much easier, and practicing it daily will soon get you wondering why you didn’t start sooner. Firstly, and most importantly, meditation should not be forced. You should never try to control your breathing and make a conscious effort to ensure you’re doing it ‘right’. The key to mindful meditation is sitting or lying comfortably, relaxed, and breath and behave normally and naturally. Your focus should be on your posture, the way your chest rises and falls with each breath that you inhale and exhale, the noises you hear around you, and the scents that you smell. When the concept of meditation is broken down, it becomes very simple to master.
Most people are under the illusion that meditation means sitting quietly for a short while, not having any thoughts or feelings, and just ‘being’. Although this might be the concept of meditation to some, this isn’t a specific requirement. For most people in the world, it will be close to impossible to sit for a while and not have a single thought. Within meditation it is important to still have thoughts, but the concept is about having the thought, accepting it, and quieting your mind rather than thinking of an immediate solution. Meditation can start small. Nobody is an expert right from the off. Be patient with yourself, and the correct technique for you will soon follow.
“The goal of meditation isn’t to control your thoughts, it’s to stop letting them control you”
The benefits of meditation.
There are a large number of benefits that come with practicing meditation on a regular basis. Most commonly known, it reduces stress, improves concentration, and helps to ease symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. However, this doesn’t mean to say that only those with these issues should practice meditation. The act of meditation can help almost anybody to feel grounded and at ‘one’ with themselves. It promotes self-awareness, self-control, as well as sympathy and empathy. It increases cognitive powers, and helps to boost our immune system. It allows us to process our thoughts and emotions in a far more constructive manner, meaning that it has the ability to give us a ‘stronger mind’. Quite frankly, it has benefits all across the board of social, physical, emotional and cognitive factors.
Overall, meditation is a form of self-care. It is all about accepting yourself as you are, and accepting the thoughts that come to your mind. It has the power to make you feel connected, strong, creative, stressless and safe. It is soul food, that can improve every aspect of your life, just as long as you let it.
Is meditation not for you? Try these options instead!