If any of you have read the ‘My Story’ section of my website you will know that meditation really kick started my healing journey. To give you context I was never into anything like this previously, it was a brand new approach to life for me, normally I would be rushing around and the majority of the time very stressed, therefore this was a brand new concept for me. The first book I ever read about mindfulness was by Jon Kabat-Zinn – ‘Wherever you are there you are', and it changed my outlook on meditation and in fact life.
I have always been an over thinker and a worrier and I knew this had contributed to the health problems I had at the time. I was very prone to feeling stressed and sometimes anxious, but I had no control over it, my brain was controlling me rather than the other way around. When I found meditation and in particularly the mindfulness meditation approach I started to realise that I could take back that control, and at any point of the day.
I hear you saying ‘but how will I have time to fit that in’ and life can be very busy so trying to schedule in to meditate around all the other tasks one has to do in a day can be daunting to start with. Bearing in mind when I began this I was bed bound at home so I had a lot of time to kill. But as they say you do something for long enough it becomes a habit and once a habit it becomes a routine.
I knew I would need some sort of guidance on where to begin so off I went on YouTube and typed in guided mindfulness meditation and an abundance of videos came up, all varying in length. I chose a 20 minute video to start with to see how it was, I laid down on the floor with my hands placed gently on my stomach and let the meditation guide me. One of the most important things to recognise when you first start, particularly with a guided meditation, is the importance of the voice conducting the meditation. You need to try a few as some of the voices that guide the meditation made me irritable and it became a counterproductive exercise. Therefore I tried a few until I found people I was happy to listen and guide me through the meditation on a regular basis.
Once you get experienced in mediation then you can actually do this without any guidance, after doing this for 4 years I would say I can only do this for about 5 minutes at a time, and I still need to have a guided mediation. When you first start meditating it can actually be quite an alarming experience as you realise how out of control your brain is, and how your brain can very quickly get a hold of you and get you thinking about everything from ‘I need to do the washing’ to ‘oh it is so and so birthday next week’. The art of meditation is training your focus to consistently come back to the breath and ‘the present moment’, hence why laying your hands on your stomach can really help with this, as when you feel the breath you can think about it. It also trains you to realise when thoughts are coming into your mind and how quickly you can let them go, they are not a part of you, it teaches you to disconnect from the thoughts and the emotional charge that they carry. When you get to this realisation it is quite a release and can be a freeing experience.
When I get time I love to do an hour guided meditation video on YouTube, but like everyone I have a busy life so I always do my meditation as soon as my eyes open for 10 minutes in the morning. They recommend meditating either first thing in the morning before the chaos of the day has started so you start with the right intentions or before you go to bed to create that sense of calm and closure form the day. One of the main things with meditation is persistence, as you do not see instant results and I would say it took about 18 months before I realised how much of an impact it has made in my life and my attitude towards my thoughts and experiences that come into my day to day, so be persistent with it.
10 minutes in the morning works for me, I challenge you to give it a try, even for just one week, and see how you feel, you might be pleasantly surprised. Let me know how you get on…
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