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There is no getting away from the fact that modern day living is stressful, and seems to be getting more so.
Whether you’re commuting on a packed train into the city, constantly trying to meet deadlines at work, or bringing up small children, pressures can mount up and getting time to unwind can be tricky.
However, relaxing is key if you want to get the balance right and whilst we all do that differently, something we can all incorporate in our lives is meditation.
The word meditation, comes from two Latin words: meditari (to think, to dwell upon, to exercise the mind) and mederi (to heal).
Meditation is a mind-body practice that can help improve anxiety and reduce symptoms of stress, leaving you feeling calmer and more in control. It isn’t just about focusing your mind but also looking at what’s going on inside you, so you can really start to understand yourself and the triggers that make you anxious.
There are various types of meditation with many coming from ancient religious and spiritual traditions but the two most common forms are mindfulness and transcendental meditation.
Mindfulness meditation is about focusing on your breathing and transcendental meditation involves repeating a mantra.
To feel the benefits of meditation you can start with as little as five minutes a day and build from there.
You can attend a group or class, which can be helpful when you are getting started, but we have some tips to get you started on your own.
Do it anywhere. Sitting, standing, lying down, on the train, or walking but the key is to be comfortable and focused. Find a chair you really like, sit on the floor with cushions, lie on the grass in the park – the choice is yours but make it work for you.
When you meditate, go distraction free. Turn off all devices, leave your phone in another room and try to make your space as tranquil as possible.
Be open-minded. Meditation works best when you have an open attitude as this makes it easier for thoughts and feelings to flow and for you to relax.
Breath. Once you are comfortable and ready, start to feel your breath as it comes into your body, through your nose and into your lungs. Count one on your first breath and two as you breathe out. Repeat to 10 and start again.
Scan you body. As you progress and are following your breath, start to focus your attention on your body, one part at a time. Start at the top of your head, down to your nose and chin. Feel the breath in your chest, your stomach and your legs. Move to your ankles, toes and finish with the soles of your feet. How do those feel?
Don’t worry you’re doing it wrong. There’s no perfect way to meditate, just do it and be happy you’re doing it.
Smile. Sounds funny we know, but when you’re finished, smile. Be grateful you had this time to yourself and you took time out for you.
Meditation isn’t always easy and it takes time and commitment, but the benefits can be amazing, so why not start today?