27 Jan Meditate to clear your mind
Learning to meditate is something that sounds easy to do, but so many people find it difficult to put into practice. In reality, meditation is simply the act of concentrating on being in the now and giving yourself space to think. It can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be.
Why do we find meditation so difficult?
The problem is, we seem to have a preconceived idea that it should be difficult! Although meditation in its truest sense, is about thoughtless awareness, we believe it’s about clearing your mind of all thoughts from the get-go and, with the amount of thoughts we each have on an average day, that seems like a tall order to give yourself.
But when we meditate, it is really about having peace. It’s about being present, in this moment, with your mind alert but calm.
What are the benefits?
The benefits you can gain whenever you meditate are numerous. It can help relieve stress and anxiety, calm your nerves and ease your mind – even if practiced for only 5 or 10 minutes a day. Meditation can lower your blood pressure and decrease tension, whilst also increasing your energy and serotonin production – meaning a happier, more positive you.
But that’s not all, when you meditate, it improves your emotional stability, creativity and intuition. Your mind becomes more focused and aware too – so you can get more clarity on problems and issues you may have.
How to meditate
The simplest way to start meditating is to focus on your breathing. Otherwise known as concentration meditation, this involves focusing on each in and out breath.
- Find a comfortable space to sit – a chair is best, if you’re just starting out.
- Set yourself a gentle timer – start at five minutes for your first few attempts, before gradually building up your time.
- Keep your back straight and close your eyes.
- Close your mouth and breathe through your nose. Notice each breath coming in and out of your nose.
- If you mind starts to wander, just bring it back to focus on your breathing, with no judgement or frustration.
- If you’re struggling to concentrate on your breathing, count each breath, up to five, and then start from one again.
- When the timer goes off, you can stop.
The most important thing to remember is to be comfortable whilst you meditate, but to also be upright. You want to be relaxed enough to be able to focus, but also upright enough to open up your chest, to make deep, slow breathing possible.
Once you get past your preconceptions about meditation, you’ll be able to get started with practicing it faster and easier, without judgement or worry over whether you’re doing it right or wrong – meaning you’ll be experiencing the benefits it can offer, faster too!
Image courtesy Maksim Pasko/Dollar Photo Club