Finding Calm Through Meditation
02 February 2021
There are lots of reasons you may be put off meditation. You might think it’s just for weird hippies. You might think you don’t have time. You might not like the thought of sitting in silence, or within our own thoughts. Especially as most of us don’t like what we think about. But if you give us a moment we may just change your mind. Meditation is for everyone. And this blog helps you Find Calm Through Meditation.
What is meditation?
Let’s start at the beginning. Meditation is actually a really simple thing. It is spending time in the present moment.
It’s a skill - a way of calming and clearing our mind, in our body and in our life.
You can meditate alone or in a group. I have experienced both and have to say there’s a power in group meditation. I can’t explain why, but it definitely adds another dimension. Though, the benefit of doing it alone is you can fit it into your daily routine easily.
Either way it’s a chance to pause and train your mind.
It’s a way to lessen a mind overwhelmed with emotion. The mistake many people make is thinking that meditation gets rid of difficult thoughts and emotions so we are permanently happy. That’s not what happens as we develop a meditation practice. We do not get rid of thought and emotions, we just choose to make peace with them instead.
Observing the river
Imagine watching a river flow. Picture it in your mind. The currents are our thoughts - some may be rougher than others, maybe a little faster flowing. Some get stuck in ditches. As we meditate, we create an opportunity to notice our thoughts, rather than get caught up in them.
So, meditation is learning to live with the ever-changing river of our thoughts and emotions. As we meditate, will our minds wander? Of course. Another mistake people made at the beginning is thinking they are doing it wrong if they start to think about their shopping list, or taking the cat to the vets! Those thoughts will happen – it’s natural. The trick is to notice them, and bring your mind back to the present moment.
How do we learn to meditate?
A great way into meditation is focussing on the breath. As we tune into the rise and fall of our breathing we can use this as our anchor, and always get back to that place of calm.
Breath work is part of Buddhist teaching that has been passed done for centuries. People have been meditating for thousands of years. 3,000 years ago when people meditated they knew there was something special to its practice. But back then no one could explain it scientifically.
Over the past 50 years, scientists have been able to research what happens to our bodies and brains as we meditate. The findings are really quite remarkable.
Researchers in one study did brain scans on monks before, during and after meditation. They found that the monks’ brains were actually changed by their meditation practice. Just as when our bodies become fitter and stronger as we exercise, monks’ brains were becoming stronger. They reported increases of happiness, acceptance and compassion.
So even if you sit there and feel like nothing is happening, you can be sure it will be having a positive impact on your life.
It’s changed my life in so many ways. I have become someone I never knew I could be.
I paid therapy bills for years after divorcing my 1st husband. Yes, I moved forward, but under whose steam I wonder? The motivation I paid the therapist to give me? Maybe.
And no matter how many sessions I had they could never teach me what it means to just be still in my own thoughts.
But meditation did teach me that and continues to do so to this day.
I guess the best way to experience the feeling you get, is to just do it. Don’t think, just do.
Let’s give it a go
Here’s a simple meditation practice you can read through and adapt for yourself.
Start by sitting comfortably or lying down (you definitely don’t need to sit crossed legged for this).
Close your eyes and begin by breathing in through your nose.
Breathe in to the count of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Pause for 7, 8, 9. Then breathe out through your mouth as you count 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.
Repeat this practice again allowing your breath to calm you and bring you into your body.
After three rounds stop the counting and just breathe naturally.
Now take some time to work through your body. Can you feel any tension? Allow yourself to soften some more, into your body and into your breath. Feel the inhalation through your stomach - feel it rise and feel it fall.
Take notice of your breath. Is it longer or shorter?
Don’t worry if your mind begins to wander. Be kind to yourself and bring yourself back to the breath. Feel again as your stomach rises and count:
Inhale: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Pause: 7, 8, 9
Exhale: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
Allow your thoughts to come and go. Stay with your breath.
Now, for a few moments allow your mind to do as it wishes.
Gently come back to your body. Notice any sounds around you. Wriggle your fingers and your toes.
In this moment take notice of how you feel.
How does that make you feel – noticing the feeling?
Hopefully this breath work has slowed you down and introduced an element of calm. Take this feeling with you into your everyday life. Know you can return here whenever you feel you need this practice.
How often should I meditate?
Meditate however often you feel you need to. To begin it may just be a few times a month. The more you do it the more benefits you will discover. You can meditate whenever you like.
However, to get started, why not try 10 minutes each evening before bed? This will hopefully have the positive effect of helping you get good quality sleep too. Once you become comfortable with your meditation you can then use your own practice when it bests suits you.
Facts to remember!
- Meditating is no longer unproven hippy mumbo jumbo!
- It has proven benefits for strengthening our minds
- It can boost focus and creativity
- Allowing ourselves to develop our creative side brings joy and happiness…
- …Which in return allows us to lead our lives from a gentle heart and with kindness in our thoughts.
- Meditation sharpens our attention, reducing mind wandering and improves our ability to solve problems.
- Long term, consistent meditation increases resiliency to stress.
Meditation at Find Your Calm
Here at Find Your Calm meditation has been a hugely successful addition to our wellness and balance family.
We have an array of wonderful guided meditations and visualisations led by our yogi Jo. These are designed to help anyone, from beginners to those who already practice.
It’s not only important to strengthen and train our physical bodies but also our minds too. Now more so than ever.
Which is why this is a part of our planner. We have designed our resources to bring you the balance of mind, body and soul at its best. And we want to make it as easy as possible to bring all of these elements into your life, your way.
For help integrating this into your life join us! Become a member of our growing community. For as little as a cup of coffee per month you gain access to:
- Meditation/ yoga bubbles
- Healthy recipes
- Weekly emails to support and guide you on your journey.
And an instant invite to a private member lounge where you can share and enjoy more tips and ways to Find Your Calm in this chaos we call life!