Mindfulness and meditation
If you have any aspirations at all about trying to lead a healthier and generally fitter lifestyle, then it’s absolutely vital to understand the importance of YOU time and the part meditation can play in helping you cope with the stresses and strains that most of us have in our everyday lifestyle.
Whether it’s a tough job, hectic family life or just a general shortage of time, stopping just for a few minutes each day can have dramatic effect on the way you feel and cope with everyday pressures.
So even if you literally stop what you are doing for ten minutes and do nothing but stare out of the window, breathing steadily and relaxing your muscles, you’ll probably find it beneficial, but if you can go one step further and meditate, then you’ll really notice the difference.
A growing amount of research is starting to show that meditation is effective in treating depression and chronic pain, as well as coping with stress and cultivating a sense of overall well-being.
The great thing about this is that anyone can quickly start benefiting…simply by finding ten minutes in the day and beginning the process!
Whilst this may sound easy, many people will see it either as a sort of weird mystic practice or a frivolous activity akin to sitting down and reading a gossip magazine!
Nothing could be further from the truth and it’s vital to see one’s general health and fitness in the context of your general lifestyle. So many people are just fixated on weight and diets, or gym and exercise, that they fail to realise it’s all about the overall package rather than just a specific thing.
Getting fitter, healthier and losing some weight is NOT about a certain type of diet and whether or not it’s successful, it’s about how you lead your life generally. That’s why finding those ten minutes for some YOU time is so important!
Like a lot of things in life though, you won’t see wondrous results after just one sitting, so try it for at least seven consecutive days if you can.
Start by finding somewhere as quiet and distraction free as possible. Sit down in a comfy upright chair and place your hands on your lap (no need for any painful cross-legged poses here!). The object is not to fall asleep but if you’re worried you will, put a timer on your phone and have it close by. You’ll also be fully awake, so you’ll be able to hear other sounds, such as the doorbell ring, or a child cry out.
Close your eyes and breath in slowly through your nose or mouth, it doesn’t really matter. Remember, there are no rules here, it’s all about finding out what works best for you. Concentrate on your breathing and your body and feel how your body seems to get heavier with each breath out. Keep your breaths slow and deep.
Now, to get your mind to go from manic mode to relaxation mode quickly takes lots of practice, so you’ll find that you immediately start thinking about something as soon as you close your eyes. That’s absolutely OK and perfectly natural. Just as soon as you realise this is happening, just gently re-direct your mind back to your breathing and body. Repeat this “re-focusing” as often as you have to.
The first few times you try this, your mind will be incredibly restless and all over the place! But remember, just the act of sitting down and breathing slowly can be very beneficial, particularly if you feel extra stressed and your body is taut.
The key thing is to really try and find that 10 minutes! After a while (for some people it happens quite quickly, others take longer), you’ll be able to turn “off” much quicker and soon you feel the benefits of giving your mind a rest as well as your body.
Getting fitter and healthier is much more than just losing a bit of weight and meditation (or whatever you choose to call it) can play a huge part in the whole process. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll see the benefits.