SO WHAT EXACTLY IS MEDITATION, WHY SHOULD WE DO IT AND HOW THE HELL DO WE DO IT
Many of you will have a similar perception to my initial thoughts; that meditation requires an orange robe and sitting atop a rock in the Himalayan mountains, with your thumb and fore fingers together. Well I assure you that all of the above are optional, but not necessary parts of a meditation practice.
Meditation is simply being totally present in the moment, taking time to connect with your mind and body, while letting go of outside stimulation and unnecessary thoughts. A time to become calm, centred and clear.
Why should we do it - it is the most powerful tool we have against stress and mental illness, not to mention illness throughout the body -as a health professional I witness how time and time again people's mental wellbeing impacts on heir physical wellbeing, either worsening or even activating different states of disease.
What I have found personally from including a daily practice is that it helps my thoughts to function more clearly, I am so much more productive in my work, and the best bit; happier and more energised each day. These are powerful changes from something so simple, and changes I'm sure all of you would say you would be happy to gain!
'How' you meditate is entirely personal -
GUIDED MEDITATION: When you are new to meditation it can initially be very hard to quiet the mind, you need to practice at this (just like you need to practice anything else that is new!). But if you find this a continual frustration that stops you from sticking at it, utilising guided meditation can be very helpful. In guided meditation a voice talks you through the process, and you can focus on their voice instead of your own thoughts. YouTube has an abundance of free resources, targeted at different themes e.g meditation for stress, meditation for insomnia etc. one I have personally used is "The Honest Guys" range of audios.
ACTIVE MEDITATION: you don't have to be still and silent to be achieving a form of meditation, some of us are naturally active-relaxers. And any activity where you are solely focused on what you are doing, in a calm and present state counts. For some people that is partaking in some form of art, or adult colouring books, for some it is walking in nature paying total attention to the sights and sounds around you, for others it is playing a musical instrument, for me it can be cooking - focusing on the look, texture, taste and smell of foods, cooking slowly and mindfully.
MEDITATION APPS: while usually it is suggested to disengage from your phone during meditation, there are some fantastic Apps that can guide you through the process. One that I use regularly and recommend to clients is "1 Giant Mind", it teaches you the steps of a successful meditation, and also sends you a notification each day to remind you to meditate.
So jump into it and give it ago, I can not emphasise just how much spending 10 minutes or so daily doing "nothing", has allowed me to gain so much MORE from each and every day, while being a lot less crazy!