The March challenge >>>
Meditate every day!
Sitting, walking, even eating... this is the month to explore different mediations and learn to become more mindful.
Tell me more...
Meditation is both rooted in history and culture and also backed by a huge body of scientific studies.
The current interest in meditation primarily came out of the literature that showed meditation, and in particular mindful mediation had huge benefits for those with chronic physical health problems and also those with recurrent depression.
Meditation is one way to become more 'mindful' and mindfulness can be defined as "awareness that arises by paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally" (John Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction)
There are now thousands of scientific studies to show the benefits of mindful meditation including:
- Anxiety, depression and irritability decrease
- Memory improves, reaction times are faster and mental and physical stamina increase
- Relationships are more fulfilling
- Reductions in the key indicators of chronic stress such as hypertension
- Reductions in the impact of chronic conditions such as cancer
- Helps relieve drug and alcohol dependence
- Bolsters the immune system, helping to fight off colds, flu and other diseases
Mindful meditation has also been shown to be "dose dependent", basically the more you do it the greater the benefits.
Fitting meditation into an already busy day can feel difficult so here are a few practical solutions to help get started:
- Pick a regular time: Just like building any habit it will work best if you can schedule it into your day. First thing is highly recommended.
- Start short and build it up (or stay short): Perhaps start with pausing for 1 minute to focus in on your breathing before you get out of bed, then maybe build up to a 3 minute breathing space then 5 or 10 minutes if you can, working up to a body scan (15 to 45 minute) .
- Try out a variety of meditation types: For some of us sitting meditations are difficult. You could also try out a walking meditation, mindfulness of the body or even an eating meditation.
- Use guided meditations: To begin with it is really helpful to have a guide. There are lots of resources out there such as Headspace and a highly recommended book called 'Finding Peace in a Frantic World' where you can use their guided meditations.
- Be kind to yourself if you miss one: Bringing a greater awareness to moments in your life is the aim of this month so if you are finding the 'formal' mediations hard and keep missing them perhaps try more informal ways to be mindful, spotting red things on your way to work, counting the trees as you walk home or even try a habit releaser.
And check out this link if you want some family friendly ideas.