How to Meditate

4 Feb

Be MindfulMeditation these days doesn’t have to be too woo woo or in fact spiritual at all. If meditation can significantly reduce your stress levels and increase your creative ability and quality of life then who doesn’t have 5 minutes to sit in stillness?

Davis and Hayes researched the benefits of meditation and mindfulness and published their article in the American Psychological Association Journal (Vol 43, No.7, 2012). They found the benefits include a reduction in depressed feelings and stress, boosts to working memory, decreased emotional reactivity, improvement in cognitive flexibility and significant improvements in relationship satisfaction. J Also evidence suggests that meditation has numerous health benefits, including increased immune function, and assists in weight loss.

Meditating reduces stress which lowers cortisol (a fat storing hormone), therefore your body is better able to detox and lose weight. Also you’re less likely to overeat when you are not stressed, and personally since meditating I feel more in tuned with my body therefore I’m able to choose the foods that are best suited right for your body.

But how on earth do you do it without the mind wandering?

“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.”– Leonardo da Vinci.

I’ll let you in on a big secret; no-one can quiet their mind, experienced great mediators’ take years to become just that and those that say it’s easy are pulling your lotus sitting leg! I’ve heard the mind being referred to in meditation like wandering sheep, if one thought (the sheep) goes astray you just gently heard it back in line, this is what meditation is all about.

The easiest way when starting out that I have found is to count my breath, breathe in and count one, exhale and count 2 until you reach 10 then start all over again. But if you forget to start over again, like sometimes I get to 18 or so cos I’ve wandered off again, don’t scald yourself, just return to 1 and start over again.

Loving kindness meditation. If you feel like you are in need of a little loving kindness then the easiest way is to wish it upon someone else. Start with yourself by saying ‘May I be well, be happy, be healthy, live with ease’. Then move onto those close to you and repeat the above statement. Then those that you may have met that day, or exchanged a smile with walking down the street. Then (this may be difficult for some) wish loving kindness to those that you may be resenting, like ex partners or maybe someone at work who you’ve been disagreeing with. Or even the next door neighbour’s dog who won’t stop barking when I’m trying to sleep and have been on nights… ‘may that little yapper be well, be happy, be healthy, live with ease…’

Guided meditations are a great idea and can be downloaded from itunes. Try Gabrielle Bernstein, Deepak Chopra, Yoga Nidra or Orange liquid.

Walking Meditation

If the idea of sitting in stillness is too much to handle then try a walking meditation. Go for a slow walk, ideally somewhere in nature and count your breath. Walk at a slow leisurely pace and either don’t listen to music or have some calming music playing, and leave your phone at home or turn on flight mode. It’s amazing how relaxed and focused you can feel.

Meditation can be like going to the gym, you don’t have to like it once you are there but it still has the same effect, and you might not see any results for the first month or so, but then you start noticing the difference in how you feel, then people start to notice changes, then before you know it you’re (gasp) enjoying it!

So give it a go, what’s 5 minutes of your day to sit in stillness and watch your breath? (Candles, incense and woo woo music optional)

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4 Responses to “How to Meditate”

  1. Hayley Fraser February 8, 2013 at 5:47 am #

    Beautifully written Kim. I feel calmer just taking a quiet moment to read this, and take it all in. I really like the idea of a calm walk actually. 🙂

    • kimmcp4 February 8, 2013 at 6:00 am #

      Thanks Hails! Glad you’ve got something out of it. It’s always nice to have some quiet, quality YOU time x

  2. Shanel Few February 8, 2013 at 8:09 am #

    Great work Kim! I try to do 30minutes of meditation each day using an iPhone app (I’ll check out you iTunes suggestions). I find it really beneficial. You may be interested in a ‘Labyrinth’ which is a walking meditation.

    • kimmcp4 February 9, 2013 at 12:39 am #

      Thanks Shanel! 30mins is great!
      I’ll give the Labyrinth one a go. The ‘mindfulness’ photo was taken at a Labyrinth when I was with mum in Dunkeld, I got so excited about it that she said we should make one in her backyard, so watch this space 🙂 !

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