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Needing to spend more time at home for most of us has led to me hearing the phrase ‘Cabin fever’ more than ever before.
So before you reach the absolute end of your stress threshold and you know you want to be calmer and feel better about life our easy guide to meditation can help with that.
There’s nothing to do, except, well….nothing. No chanting, no lotus positions, no candles, no ohms necessary. And all it costs is your time.
Oh yes, and did I mention that it helps you feel happier, be healthier too and brings greater inner peace into your life?
The physical benefits of meditation
The founder of Mind/Body Institute Herbert Benson, MD tell us that meditation balances our body’s systems. Your heart, mind and body can improve with regular meditation – sounds like a good thing to me.
As if that weren’t a good enough reason to try our easy guide to meditation, there are other studies showing that meditation can alter your brain waves and help you focus on more love, compassion and self-improvement allowing you to become the greatest version of you possible.
See what happened when Mingyur Rinpoche, a Tibetan monk allowed scientists to study his brain while he meditated. It blew my mind! Link here.
Meditation has been proven to ease stress, improve metabolism, reduce pain, lower blood pressure and enhance brain function. And all you need to do is . .. nothing. Simple be there.
The spiritual benefits
The spiritual benefits of meditating are far too many to name, but…
This is how and why it works for me.
I don’t always find it easy to stop being driven by my senses where my conscious, thinking brain is always busy analyzing and keeping my attention on the outer world.
And I know that what I need is to give my brain a break and place my attention on the inner world more frequently, slowing my brain down to alpha brain waves where I can more readily programme myself for different life experiences.
Or as Joe Dispenza says where I can more readily programme my autonomic nervous system!
Meditation allows me to shut out the evidence of my senses in small part, for a little while and connects me to my subconscious mind – the connector between me and the creative power of the universe.
As a spiritual being, I need this. Plus, it feels good.
Give your brain a break
Be honest – how much time do you spend in front of a screen? Speaking for myself, way too much. And how many breaks do you give yourself and your brain?
We know that looking at a screen for any extended period of time can cause all kinds of problems. Computer vision syndrome is real. Think dry eyes, blurry vision, headaches.
Getting up more often helps. I set my timer for fifty minute periods when I’m in front of my computer – well when I remember that is. You know I’m less than perfect!
If it’s challenging to get up, even just to grab a cup of tea or glass of water, think about investing in blue light filtering applications like F. lux. I like the warm glow of my screen using this one to filter out more of those pesky blue wavelengths, that seriously meddle with our circadian rhythms.
A Harvard study tells of the dark side of too much blue light. How it suppresses our melatonin production, the hormone that helps us sleep. Not great, right?
Our brain definitely needs a bit of break…be it from too much screen time, too much worry or anxiety or too much bad news on an ongoing basis. And that’s one reason why I meditate. It gives me a glimpse that the truth of life lies within me.
We all know this statistic more or less. We can process up to 70,000 thoughts daily. But did you know this is for a 24 hour period, that even as we sleep we’re processing thoughts?
Ouch. That’s a heck of lot of thinking.
And since every day we have 86,400 seconds (or so I read recently) that means we have a different thought every 1.2 seconds. Or for some of us we keep repeating the same thought more often that we’d like to.
Whatever the case, your brain never stops.
And without some kind of intervention this incessant chatter far too often leads us to the dark side, locking us into a chorus of negative thinking, self-criticism, shame and blame.
Don’t let this be you. It might not be possible to do away with negative thinking but it is possible to gain mastery over these thoughts so they don’t have the upper hand.
And one simple way to free yourself and give the gift of greater peace, presence and happiness is through meditation.
“The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace. A persistent simplification will create an inner and outer well-being that places harmony in one’s life.” Peace Pilgrim
Easy guide to meditation:
Firstly, listen to what the Buddhist monk Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche has to say. His book The Joy of Living by the way is a brilliant read.
He basically says the idea of mindfulness meditation is to do less than you think you can. If you can sit for five minutes before it feels like a chore, then don’t sit for this long. Make it three or four minutes.
Meditation isn’t meant to be an extra burden for you to carry. Once it becomes this, you will never be able to sustain it.
So don’t listen to everyone who talks about meditating for hours at a time. Good for them. If it isn’t good for you, don’t do it.
- Find a quiet, peaceful place, or the quietest room in the house and make it as comfortable and peaceful as possible.
- Pick a comfortable chair or anywhere you can relax. No hard and fast rules.
- If you choose a comfortable chair. Sit upright, but relaxed. Put your hands on your lap and keep your chin up.
- ‘Hush-proof’ your surroundings. Take the phone off the hook, turn off your cell and don’t sit near your computer. If you can banish noisy family members from the room I highly recommend it. If not earplugs work quite well!.
- Close your eyes.
- Take three deep breaths, and focus on the sounds outside the room. Next, bring your focus to the sounds within the room.
- Now, listen to your body – your breath and heartbeat. This is where your attention should be, within yourself. Don’t think, just focus on your breath.
- Don’t worry if thoughts pop up, they have a tendency to do that. Don’t focus on them, judge them or reject them, let them be.
- Keep your attention on your breathing. Just keep breathing in and out, nice and slowly and steadily.
- Picture yourself with a smile. It helps release the brain’s natural endorphins for relaxation.
- When it feels like enough, gradually bring your awareness back into the room, take a few deep breaths and gently open your eyes.
- Before you move, see how you feel in this moment. At the very least you can feel proud – you’ve meditated.
Truth be told meditation will always be perfectly imperfect. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that it is simply a process, not a competition.
We all know that it can be hard to be the best version of ourselves when times are tough, but being kind to yourself is a good place to start. And our little guide to meditation could be the greatest gift you give to yourself and to your poor, overstressed brain.
I’d love to hear from you about your experiences with meditation, or any tips you want to share. Let’s all keep on keeping on – together we’ll get there
Get your free downloadable pdf for your easy guide to meditation below:
Encourage one another.