Its been written about many times but now they say we should all benefit from meditation but its something that you need to keep practice. Meditation is thought to date back to the fifth and sixth century BC. Stories were written in ancient Hindu about it, and is featured in most religions. Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, says that mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment.
Ed Halliwell, author of “The Mindful Manifesto’ How Doing Less and Noticing More Can Treat Illness, Relieve Stress and Help Us Cope with the 21st Century” 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 reassuring and happiness’.
Research has actually shown meditation can ease depression, lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, boost immunity and healing, lower blood pressure, and help with pain.
A basic meditation which you could try for 10 minutes each day is to start by finding a quiet space and sit comfortably with your hands on your lap, keeping your back straight and neck relaxed. ‘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.
Mindfulness meditation is now an NHS approved treatment. You can find a course or practice it on your own. They write that Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, says that mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment.
“It’s easy to stop noticing the world around us. It’s also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living ‘in our heads’ – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour,” he says.
“An important part of mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience. This means waking up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment. That might be something as simple as the feel of a banister as we walk upstairs.
“Another important part of mindfulness is an awareness of our thoughts and feelings as they happen moment to moment. “It’s about allowing ourselves to see the present moment clearly. When we do that, it can positively change the way we see ourselves and our lives.”
Headspace is meditation app that contains bite-sized techniques to help you sleep better, focus more and get some relief from a busy mind. According to a survey five minutes of meditation daily will work more magic than an hour once a week as consistency is the key. After you have had your first drink of the day they suggest you sit on your bed and put your hands onto your knees and focus on your breathing.
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.
Try the 100 breaths technique. This they say is a highly complex meditation techniques. You take 100 breaths, count them, and try not to think about anything else which is quite hard but the more you practice it the easier it will be.
Most people think of meditation as something that you sit and do quietly, but studies have found that music, walking and even laptop tools can help you to meditate. There are over 100 benefits to meditation from lowering your heart rate to building your self-confidence.
You can listen to it on your way to work, at home or wherever your going. Your normal heart at rest should be around 75 beats a minute and music pulsing at around 60 beats per minute can help to bring on an alpha state, which is the same relaxed state that is created by normal meditation.
To get the most benefit you should do it regularly but start slowly and there are a number of inspirational tools that you can buy to help you to meditate. A CD ‘Dr Andrew Weil Presents Vibrational Sound Healing’ is soothing music that’s not just whale noises!
Mindfulness meditation can also help you sleep better and some great apps to download to help you with this are from Headspace, Happier or Calm. Headspace also runs bite-size guided meditations for anyone who is busy (who isn’t?) All you do is sign up for a free trial at Headspace or you could find meditation courses online but they state they can be expensive from
If you prefer to be taught personally then there are a number of courses from the Vedic and Transcendental Meditation which are courses you can start with a one-to-one lesson when you’re given your mantra. Find Vedic and Transcendental Meditation from this website. If your feeling angry or lonely then they suggest you try loving-kindness meditation, where you repeat a positive mantra. Visit Ten Percent Happier for details on this.
A few other apps to look at are Happify who make you happier by funneling the “science of happiness” through technology. It’s main features are activities and games based on scientific research that suggests there are five essential skills for happiness: savoring, thanking, aspiring, giving, and empathizing. Omvana is an app that provides one of the largest collections of meditation sessions currently available. You choose from a selection of famous authors and renowned teachers that provide guided sessions. Finally the Mindfulness App which is designed to take a moment and reset during your busy day. It’s main features are a daily delivery of mindfulness inspiration to your phone/tablet in the form of tips, exercises and teachings.