It’s no secret that I am a huge advocate of meditation – specifically mindfulness meditation – for the prevention and treatment of anxiety, dis-ease and depression. More than just act as a way of restoring functionality, mindfulness meditation – a combination of deep breathing and focused concentration – can transform our relationships, our love of self, it can make us more productive, more effective and more self aware.
Mindfulness meditation is the practice of focusing our attention on one point so as to remove our attachment to unhelpful thoughts, and bring ourselves back into what is happening in the present moment. Why is it important to be present? Because when we are, our fears, anxieties and worries are irrelevent. They are not controlling our actions. When are centered, focused and calm, we can deal with stressors carefully and in a considered manner, rather than reacting against things that happen to us.
I love the Chopra Center’s definition of stress – that is, that stress is simply our response to our needs not being met. A traffic fine, a tense phone call, or a work email is not stressful until we label it so. It is not stressful until we create a story about how the situation isn’t meeting our needs, and then start to behave accordingly.
Meditation, therefore, reminds us that the activity of the mind is simply that. Activity that we can choose to engage wilfully with, or activity that we can simply observe, smile at and move on from with a deeper knowing that it is not us. That, in fact, at the core of who we are is deep, unbounded, calm, quiet awareness or consciousness.
The simplest way to start a meditation practice is to use the breath as the anchor. The aim is to train our minds to concentrate on one point knowing that by doing so, the other fears, anxieties and worries will fade into insignificance. Just like a muscle, it takes time to develop the strength to stay focused on the breath for long periods of time. This guided meditation is just five minutes long and is a great place to start if you’re new to practicing, or returning after some time away.
Listen to the podcast here:
Or download it here.
Like any new habit, it takes time to see the rewards. Stick with it – using guided meditations to start – and then you can experiment with other types and styles of meditation.
Want more tips? Check out my blog post on meditation here.