Many people are turning to meditation as an effective way to relax and bring inner peace. It can also help with stress, improve your general health and help you to think clearly. It’s something you can do wherever you are, by focusing on something else around you instead of your thoughts, worries and obsessions.
You can meditate just by focusing on something; anything will do if you are out. But most people still meditate on breathing, a single repeated word, a flower or a mental image. Meditation is much more than just a way of relaxing, it also clears our minds and makes us more alert. If you meditate for a few minutes each day, the results can be deep and long-lasting.
There are many places you can learn to meditate; it could be a candle-lit room, with incense and dreamy music, lying on the floor after a yoga class or at an evening’s class at your local school or leisure centre. In your first meditation, people may feel sleepy as they let themselves relax and their adrenalin levels drop. They will go to classes after a hard day’s work, and need to rest.
Meditation is not about going to sleep. It’s about learning to relax and focus your mind. The benefits of meditation ripple through everything we do – being relaxed and aware is the mental equivalent of being fit and healthy. Some of the main reasons people meditate are for relaxation, health, inner peace and harmony, concentration to improve sporting and theatrical performance, inspiration and creativity, quality of life, self-understanding and therapy and spiritual awakening – the list goes on. ‘Mindfulness Meditation’ is a very simple way to meditate.
All you do is focus on your breathing, observe your thoughts and bring your attention into the present moment. Headspace explains ‘What is meditation for sleep’, you can try and listen to their way of meditating to go to sleep. Another great site is Sleep.Org who also explains how to meditate before you go to bed.
Meditation is thought to date back to the fifth and sixth century BC. Stories were written in ancient Hindu about it, and are featured in most religions. Ed Halliwell, author of ‘The Mindful Manifesto,’ says that ‘it can help you experience the moment and not be drawn into habitual emotional responses’. Halliwell goes on to say that ‘research on human brains during a meditation state has revealed a shift in activity from the right side of the pre-frontal cortex, which is linked with depression, over to the left, which is connected with emotional reassurance and happiness’. Research has actually shown meditation can ease depression, lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, boost immunity and healing, and lower blood pressure. Mindfulness meditation is now an NHS approved treatment.