Meditation is something that I have practised for a long time. That being said, I have had to practice for a long time to get good at it (like anything). I once saw it as a chore, but with life being as fast paced and stressful as it is nowadays, meditation allows me to live a busy life without burning out.
To have a quick read about what meditation actually is, you can read this.
I have practised yoga on and off since I was about 17. Laying in Savasna at the end of the class was my first introduction to meditation. I have been known to
snore fall asleep on the mat at the end of a class because I’ve been so relaxed. If you’ve ever felt that feeling followed by a blissful nights sleep, you’ll know what I’m talking about. That’s meditation.
Meditation is not about changing yourself or becoming ‘better’. It’s about simply being or learning to be ‘more aware’ and by that I mean be aware of yourself, how you’re feeling and what’s going on around you in order to gain a better perspective on things. When you meditate your mind will be less cluttered – when you take a few moment in the day to quieten your mind, you can hear yourself more clearly.
My regular meditation practice is now second nature to me, I can feel when I haven’t meditated for a while and conversely I can feel when I have. Quieting my often easily over-stimulated mind has never come easy to me. I think about all sorts:
the things on my to-do list;
what I’m going to cook for dinner;
does Poppy have everything she needs?;
what am I wearing to that event?;
what time am I posting that content tomorrow?;
did I miss that project deadline?!
A constant whirring of things in my mind.
Meditation is a great tool for helping you connect with yourself and studies have shown a huge list of benefits of meditation including reduced anxiety, improved memory and less tiredness.
When talking to about meditation, the thing people say most often is that they ‘don’t have time’ to meditate or that they don’t know how to meditate.
if you want to get started, I suggest that you start small time-wise, 5 minutes is all you need.
I totally understand not knowing how to get started. Meditating feels quite ‘big’ if you don’t know what you’re doing – even if you tried it on your own, you’d wonder if you’re doing it right. I certainly remember feeling like this at the beginning.
Don’t get me wrong, I am no expert, I don’t meditate for hours on end, I am not ‘enlightened’ (yet!) But I can meditate on a packed tube or in a taxi. I can meditate with hustle and bustle around me. If I need 5 minutes to re-centre, I’ll take them irrespective of where I am.
I meditate with Pops messing about in the room because I want her to see me meditating and for her to see it as normal. Sometimes we sit for about a minute for long deep breaths (usually before bed). She also practices ‘mindful breathing’ at school (which I would LOVE to be a fly on the wall to see (plus the rest of the school day, of course)).
I really wanted to take today as World Mental Health Day to be the day I share this with you. I’m a big advocate of meditation, it can help us become more aware of ourselves, helps us get in touch with our emotions and have more control over them and it’s certainly a tool I have used to keep my mental health in check. It’s my ultimate self-care practice.
How to Get Started
So, using apps on your phone are a great way of learning how to meditate. Apps like Calm and Headspace are some of the OG’s of the meditation world. These apps are great for beginners, they have a person guiding you through the process and can be a really good way to get started.
These are my personal favourite. The great thing about meditation classes are that the room is usually set for relaxing; dim lighting, a teacher who knows what to say to help you to relax and best of all, no distractions. Put your phone away, you’re in a class. You can focus without being disturbed. If you’re in London have a look at the best classes to try here.
I recorded a short guided meditation on our Not Wonder Woman podcast which I’ve had lots of feedback on as being very helpful. Here is the link to the podcast on iTunes, but you can also finds on Entale, Stitcher and Podbean.
Tips for Being Consistent
Commit to 5 minutes per day and I’d suggest you start meditating in the morning.
I either wake up before Pops or I meditate with her around as I’ve said, but my suggestion is not to touch your phone before you meditate. The first minutes of your day should not be spent scrolling Instagram or reading the news. It’s easier said than done but try your hardest to leave your phone alone.
Light a candle or spray your favourite room fragrance, set the timer or play a sound you like on Spotify. I personally like listening to rain sounds or ocean sounds and you can follow my playlist for morning meditation here.
Related Post: 5 Books That Had the Biggest impact on my Career
What to Do When You Get Distracted
When you first start meditating, you will not be able to focus for very long. That’s a fact. You will open your eyes, you will wonder how long you’ve been sat for, you will want to check you phone or think about your to do list. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s normal.
When thoughts come into your mind, my advice is to ‘see’ the thought. Imagine it in front of you and to let it pass in front of you and out of the way. Bye. Come back to your breathing, focus on your lungs expanding and contracting and relax your body.
Each time you sit down to meditate, I promise you it will get easier.
Meditating each morning is one of the best ways to start the day. Even it is just for a few minutes. You’ll gradually find that you’re able to stay there longer. You’ll feel more in control of things because you’ve learned to focus your attention.
When I’m stressed, I know I need a few minutes to zone out. I put my headphones in and I close my eyes and I can transport myself away or inwards for a few minutes. When I’ve finished, I come back to what I was doing with a sense of calm and control.
Try it for 7 days, 5 days, 3 days even and let me know how you’re getting on. I am truly passionate about us working hard on the things we love and talking really good care of ourselves in the process. Meditation is one of the ways I encourage you to do more of that.
Let me know how you meditate, any apps you find useful and share your experiences. I’d love to know how you’re getting on.