If you could do one thing that could help reduce your stress, increase your efficiency and productivity, improve both physical and mental health, develop patience and tolerance, increase creativity and innovation; would you do it? Nope, I’m not taking about some amazing, super expensive panacea. Rather, I am talking about an amazing, completely free panacea. Meditation. You don’t have to be size 0 and join a trendy yoga class to benefit from meditation, it is available to you wherever you are and whatever size you are. To debunk another misconception, most kinds of meditation have nothing to do with far Eastern mysticism ( you don’t have to convert to Buddhism to benefit either).
Meditation is simply the act of letting your brain take a much needed rest. We are constantly thinking, jumping from this thing to the next, endlessly. Meditation says I’m just going to stop dwelling on all these pressing issues and take a moment to enjoy what is right in front of me. If you are on the beach just listen to the waves crashing on the coast, or one of my favourites, looking at the rain while drinking a cup of hot herbal tea. Taking a walk through nature is another way to meditate easily. I am overwhelmed frequently with the amount of effort and time it takes to be connected in today’s society. Meditation asks us to disconnect from everything and everyone for a moment and just be. Just think about breathing in and out and regulating your breath so you take full, even breaths. While some forms of meditation require you to chant mantras, it is totally un-necessary. Just breathing mindfully and emptying your mind has exactly the same effect.
Have you noticed that if you don’t multi-task there is no way you can get everything done? It may seem counter-intuitive but taking a moment or two to meditate at the start of your day, the end of the day or anytime in between when you feel a little stressed, can actually improve your productivity. Yes, doing nothing can help you achieve more! Now that I’ve sold you on the benefits of meditation, exactly how do you do it? The point of meditation is to empty your mind, get rid of the thoughts that keep swirling around in your brain day and night. The easiest way to do that is to focus on a single thing, like breathing. Get comfortable in a quiet place and just think about the action of breathing in and out. With every breath in, make a mental note ‘Breathe in’ and with every breath out do the same. Every time a thought pops into your head ignore it and focus on breathing in and out. Sounds simple right? Well it’s not. You would be surprised how difficult it is to do nothing and to empty your mind. Our poor brains really never take a break! You can also try meditating by doing a single task. Gardening is great, so is talking a walk or listening to the rain. Online you can find lots of soothing music for meditation too. There are many interesting options to help you get started. So try meditating today, it is difficult but it works and it’s worth it.