Happy New Year everyone. I truly hope this finds you well, on the first day of 2018, and ready to embrace the year ahead. Annabel and her team have been taking a well-earned break from blogging and social media over the past week (well, mostly!) and I’m delighted to let you know that we’ll be sharing content on a daily basis again here at A Life Loved from hereon.
Now, how would it be if I told you, I had something that would help you to;
- feel calmer
- keep focused
- deal with difficult situations
- and feel less stressed
Sounds too good to be true right?
Well, it’s not – and I do.
My upfront disclaimer is that this post is unashamedly biased to those who do not meditate. If you do, well you are already part of the club and totes enjoying the benefits.
Money, relationships, deadlines, clients, schedules, family, finance, friends, social media, food, life and, yes, sleep.
Modern life means that at every turn our minds are being stimulated and we almost never switch off. A a survey for the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), found the average sleep time is 6.8 hours, compared with the 7.7 hours people feel they need. These hours are not quality sleep either.
I know you get the picture. As a busy people you are living this every day. This is your reality, with your attention being called into multiple directions all at the same time.
You have a lot going on.
And you have a choice.
Do like I did and carry on, keep doing, keep going, keep crossing off the to-do list whilst simultaneously adding to the list.
Of try something different?
Of course I had heard of meditation. I first tried it at University but switching my mind off and stopping the thoughts from coming was not happening, so I gave up and decided it wasn’t for me.
We did the stereotypical thing of sitting in a circle crosslegged on the floor, the air overcome by the thick scent of incense and we were omm’ing away. Each time I did it, I found myself going into combat with my thoughts and this attempt to battle them into submission just made me more stressed. The thoughts won and ironically came back even stronger.
As life went on and the inevitable twists and turns occurred, during my difficult journey to motherhood and my subsequent pregnancy, I felt called to return to meditation and give it another shot. This experience was completely different and I fell in love with the practice. I realised that the problem lay in the way I was being taught to meditate and in turn how I was interpreting that teaching.
It was a small yet fundamental shift that changed everything.
I learnt that the goal is not to stop your thoughts, it’s simply quiet time for your mind. So instead of thinking about a 10 different things, you gift yourself the opportunity to focus on 1.
It is the ultimate in creating space.
And in my frazzled state, this is exactly what I wanted and needed.
The cumulative effect of building meditation into your everyday has many tangible benefits. The biggest one for me is its ability to make you more trusting of yourself and open to hearing your inner guide. You can go as spiritual as you feel comfortable, but if you do want to go there, then its ability to connect you with your higher self and call in what you want is truly amazing.
So, I hope I have got you suitably excited to at least give it a go. If it turns out not to be your thing, that’s fine. At least you tried it and it will be there for you to revisit, should you feel called to in the future.
If you want to give it a try. Step this way…
Getting started with meditation
- Don’t overthink it. You don’t need a big build-up, burn incense or sit cross legged, unless of course you want to. Just come as you are.
- Find the time. I know you are probably thinking time is the one thing you don’t have. My response to that? Everyone can find 10 minutes in their day. It’s all you need. So whether it means waking up 10 minutes earlier or doing it before you go to bed by squeezing it into that space between brushing your teeth and laying your head down to rest? Do it. It’s worth it. I’m sure you can easily spend/*waste* 10 minutes mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. Reclaim your time and spend 10 minutes nourishing your mind instead.
- Use the tech. The explosion of the mindfulness scene has meant that there are apps galore to help you on your way. My go-to app for meditation is Insight Timer which has an abundance of free meditations, mantras and breathing exercises. My favourites are a gratitude series and a beautiful yoga nidra which guarantees me a deep nights sleep. Other apps include Omvana, Headspace and Calm amongst many others. This is very much personal preference, so play around and find the one that suits you.
- Start small. Diving in with a full-on 20 minute meditation, is bound to leave you feeling despondent and frustrated. It takes time to build the muscle of focus, so start with 2 minutes, congratulate yourself on a job well done and then gradually increase it each day. That’s why apps are great for this as they always have a beginners series and like anything, the more you do it, the easier it gets.