Meditation – What Is It Good For?

Absolutely everything *HUH…OOHH*
(Hoping you got the song reference there or that was awkward)

Happy Friday!

Most people who know me know that I’m a really spiritual person, and meditation is a huge part of that. I started meditating many years ago when I was going through a bit of a tough time and wanted to relieve some anxiety, little did I know that i’d be doing it right into my 20’s and all the other health benefits that have come along with it

So to start off- how do you meditate? This is something that I get asked a lot, and where a lot of people are a little misunderstood. I get the usual mocking comments about how it’s “lazy” and all you do is sit there and do nothing but make strange noises to yourself. Now don’t get me wrong, that is very much a huge part of it – but there’s so much more to it

A couple of books that have helped me along my journey, and are great for beginners starting out are Buddhism Plan and Simple and The Miracle of Mindfulness. If you’re just starting out but really wanting to get into the nitty gritty detail of what it’s all about then these books are amazing, and even as somebody who had been meditating for a while they still really helped me

The basics of how you physically meditate are very much as described and mocked above, but there are many ways you can meditate once you learn how. Each night I take half an hour before I go to sleep to meditate, and I prefer the sitting cross legged position with some soft music on and I repeat a mantra. Some people lay down, some people say different mantras, some people say nothing at all and others do it in complete silence – it really is what suits your taste. I will admit then when I first started it did feel silly and uncomfortable and I was thinking wow i’m going to laugh about this one day, but consistency is key and if you stick it out all that worry fades away and you learn the true beauty of being completely mindful

Another misconception is that you sit down, om a little and there you have it – meditation. Wrong. Meditation takes years of practice. I would say the first 6 months that I tried I wasn’t doing it properly. That’s not because I wasn’t trying or that I was physically doing anything wrong, it’s that your mind is such an incredibly powerful thing and trying to get it to switch off and really enter a peaceful place can be really difficult. When you sit down and take time for yourself you’ll know that’s when the brain really gets going (as it likes to do when you lay down to go to sleep). It’s thinking about bills, work, family friends and anything else in the world that it can think of it will go there and it can be so distracting. Training your mind to go to a space where all those things don’t come to your mind straight away is such a difficult thing to do, and so incredibly powerful

Since meditating not only has it helped with my anxiety, it has significantly helped with my migraines and TMJ problems that I’ve had since I was a kid. Sure, you could put it down to ageing and growing out of them a bit but I have gone from having 2-3 a week to 2-3 a month which, as a major sufferer for 12 years+, is a huge thing. If there are ever days where I don’t meditate, I notice a major increase with my migraines that month as it really does have a knock on effect

Medical reasons aside I sleep like a baby. I feel very fortunate when people talk about how hard they find it to sleep, how restless they are while they sleep and how they have rubbish nights but I can honestly say since meditating this has not ever been an issue for me. I’m a creature of habit and I tend to go to sleep at pretty much the same time every night (even weekends, loser) but as soon as my head touches that pillow i’m asleep and I don’t wake again until morning. If my alarm isn’t waking me up on a weekday, my body is waking me up at the exact same time. Guaranteed it can be pretty frustrating when it’s a Saturday and you would kinda like a lie in, but I never regret it when i’m up and sorted and feeling more refreshed than ever

As I’ve mentioned in a previous about curbing your sugar cravings, it really helps me with my eating too. When i’m having a particularly bad day of craving I sit down to meditate, just for a little while, and it helps wonders

Now you may not be interested in meditating at all and that’s fine (but then again why would you be reading this I guess) but if you are then bite the bullet and give it a go. Remember if you feel stupid the first time, that’s okay. If you feel like it’s making no difference after 2 months, that’s okay. The key is to consistently stick to it. Whether that be once a month, week or day if you keep the routine of practice consistent I guarantee you’ll feel the benefits. Even if you didn’t – taking half an hour to sit and be still at the end of each day can’t hurt right?

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