Meditation can be a little intimidating to start. But it has found its place in many morning routines, and there’s a reason why. Because it works. Meditation has been proven to calm down the nervous system, help you sleep and create space in your mind for creative thought.
So where do you begin? This simple guide will give you all the information, tips, and tricks you need to get started. So relax, breathe in, breathe out, and read on...
What is meditation?
Meditation is a mental and practice to help you become more aware of your thoughts, body and surroundings. It can be practiced in many ways, and is built around focusing your attention on a single point—it can be your breathe, your body’s sensations, noise, or even an object such as a candle flame or flower.
The goal isn’t to clear your mind. Instead, it’s simply to focus on one thing in order to calm down or reduce stress. In this way, meditation can be used as therapy for many conditions including anxiety and poor sleep.
Why is meditation beneficial?
Meditation can be used to help with all sorts of afflictions, from mental health and sleep problems to stress and anxiety. If you meditate regularly, you’ll notice:
You feel calmer and more focused throughout the day
You find it easier falling asleep at night
You feel happier and have more energy
You experience less stress or anxiety
In fact, research has shown that just 20 minutes of daily meditation can improve your overall quality of life by helping you sleep better and reducing feelings of stress during the day.
“So much time and effort is spent on wanting to change, trying to change, to be somebody different, better, or new. Why not use this time to get comfortable with yourself as you are instead?” Andy Puddicombe, Headspace co-founder
How do you meditate?
There are several different methods you can use to meditate— the most important thing is that you set a realistic goal to practice every day. Start with 3 minutes, then increase that time as you get more comfortable.
Find somewhere comfortable to sit or stand - a cushion, a chair, in bed or even in the shower
Focus on your breathe - focus on feeling your breathe as you inhale and exhale.
Take deep, slow breaths - breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth
Repeat for 3 minutes or more - it doesn’t matter if thoughts skim through your mind, just keep focussing on your breathe.
Hone your practice - try listening to nature sounds, using low light sources such as a candle or listen to a guided practice
However you meditate, the key is to focus on one thing and not allow yourself to become distracted. If your mind wanders, simply acknowledge the thought, and then bring your mind back to your breathing, the music, or the candlelight.
Where can you meditate?
The beauty of meditation is that it can be done anywhere to fit in with your routine. You don't have to go anywhere special, or buy any fancy equipment—just turn off your notifications, close your eyes, and breathe. Even if you’re on the tube, you can focus on the surrounding sounds around you.
One of our favourites is in the shower as it’s part of all our morning routine. Stand with your hands a little away from your body, tune into the sounds of the falling water and focus on your breathe.
How often should you meditate?
To reap the benefits, we recommend practicing for a short period of time every day but the only limit to how often you can meditate is your own motivation. If you feel you need to do it every day to cope during a particularly stressful period, the more the merrier! If you meditate more sporadically, that's okay too—just try to fit it into your schedule whenever possible.
Mediation with or without apps?
The best way to meditate is whatever way works best for you, whether that's sitting quietly in the garden or listening to music on the train. Some people prefer using apps such as Headspace or Calm at the start as there's a little more structure and guidance. Though if you want to do your own thing, try a few different settings and scenarios until you find a way that works for you.
Meditation is a great way to stretch out your mind and body, making you more relaxed and focused. It can also be a great way to manage stress, anxiety or depression if you're feeling overwhelmed. The best part is, you can do it anywhere, at any time—but what better place to reconnect with yourself than your very own cabin surrounded by nature? Book your stay with Unplugged here.
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