Meditation has some powerful effects
Meditation has long been associated with health and well-being in the West. Studies have shown mindfulness meditation has helped people alleviate stress, reduce blood pressure, improve heart health, reduce risk of stroke, reduce pain and generally improve their chances of living to a ripe old age! Read about my own experiences with Mindful Meditation in A&E. Recently, there has even been evidence to suggest meditation may help to protect you from cancer. Schools that have adopted meditation and mindfulness practices are finding pupils are more focused, happier, absenteeism is down and those all-important results are up. Now forward-thinking organisations are beginning to see the benefits of offering meditation programmes in the workplace to help reduce stress, increase productivity and unlock mental capacity and focus. Interested schools and organisations can contact me here, and individuals are welcome to come along to Meditation Room in Hilperton, near Trowbridge, Wiltshire on a Tuesday evening.
Had a great nights sleep last night. Which is incredible considering the huge stresses at work. Thank you so much”
BBC’s Trust Me I’m A Doctor extolled the benefits of Mindfulness Meditation and Laughter Clubs in their mental health special for National Stress Awareness Day 1/11/17. You may be able to access it here on their iPlayer.
Myths abound about how difficult meditating is to do – clearing your mind of all thoughts to attain a state of heavenly, empty-minded bliss seems beyond the reach of most of us mere mortals. However, it is just a matter of training! You can physically change your brain in as little as 8 weeks when you practise mindfulness meditation for half an hour a day.
How? It is really simple to do, but takes practise.
MINDFUL BREATHING MEDITATION
Starting off – sit comfortably, and set a timer for one minute. Then breathe in to the count of 4, hold/pause for the count of 4, exhale to the count of 4, and hold/pause for 4. Then repeat until your minute is up. At first, you may find yourself thinking: ‘How long have I got to go?’ or ‘I can’t hold for 4.’ for example. Just return the focus of your attention to your breath and counting until you can do it all the way through without any internal interruptions.
If you don’t manage it the first time, or the second, or third, or…persevere. You are training your brain to make new, and to strengthen, the neural pathways. Think of it like learning to drive or any skill you’ve learned – did you do it right the first time? It took time.
Next step – sit comfortably, set a timer for five minutes. Slowly take a deep breath in – drawing down the diaphragm to fill your lungs, noticing your stomach expanding, rather than your chest moving up and down. Slowly release the breath – pulling in your stomach muscles to expel all the breath like a long sigh. Imagine that breath going all away across the room as you do so. Repeat twice more. Then, taking slow, regular, even breaths, breathe in and then out through your nose – focus all of your attention on your breathing. Notice how the air is cooler in your nostrils as you breathe in – and warmer as you breathe out. Listen to your breathing. If your mind starts to wander, simply return your attention to your breathing once again. If you find it helpful, for the part of your mind that likes to talk, simply say ‘in’ as you breathe in and ‘out’ as you exhale. Continue until your five minutes is up.
Remember, thinking is not something that happens to you, it is something you do. It is an active process. You may notice a thought arising, but you don’t have to to get onto a train of thought – see the engine approaching and watch it carry on past! You are not trying suppress thoughts, just notice them and let them go.
Keep practising. It does get easier.
You can come to Meditation Room in person on a Tuesday evening (Hilperton, near Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England) or virtually, via an online link. Schools and workplaces can have special meditations designed specifically for them – email me for details.
Please note: on rare occasions, people starting out to meditate may come across a disturbing or upsetting thought or memory or be overwhelmed by a feeling. It make take the shape of the flash of an image across their mind, sounds, or bodily sensation. Open your eyes, if they are closed, and take a deep breath in and let it out with a sighing sound, and stamp your feet on the floor. It is only in your mind. It cannot hurt you. It is possibly some event in your past or subconscious fear that you might benefit from letting go. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also known as Tapping, amygdala de-potentiation techniques and NLP techniques can all help you to release it and continue your meditation practice. Contact me for help.
Events are for learning purposes only. The information provided should not be used as a substitute for professional medical or psychological advice, diagnosis or treatment.