You’ve sifted through a huge array of pieces on mindfulness and meditation. You’ve taken a deep breath at the spurious pseudo-scientific claims and let the naysaying wash over you. You’ve allowed a gentle smile to form at the corners of your mouth. Basically, if you’ve come this far, it’s safe to assume that you define yourself as contemplation-curious. Amazing; so do we.
We’re sure, then, that you’ve read a little about the all-encompassing, life-changing benefits of meditation. But what about the changes it can affect in your everyday? With the help of Rosalind Stone, who works with Beeja meditation to provide invaluable, impactful meditation courses and classes in London, here are 5 IDEAL ways the practice can help you in everyday life.
LESS STRESS ABOUT THE LITTLE THINGS
Our inbuilt stress response – more commonly referred to as fight or flight – is perfect for life or death situations, such as escaping from a chasing tiger or fleeing a particularly scary clown. Missing an Uber booking, misplacing your phone or not knowing where the queue ends perhaps don’t require such a reaction. But the modern world seems to instil a sense of unease and makes us stressed in nearly every transaction. Indeed, little mishaps and miniature-scale calamities can propel us into a state of primal turbulence all too easily.
Meditation is fantastic for giving us the tools to deal with such stressful situations without our brains (and bodies) automatically resorting to fight or flight. A calmer, more measured approach to problem solving naturally follows as does a more serene, less flappable version of you.
BE HERE, NOW
Do you ever “come back to earth” only to find that many minutes have passed since your eyes and thoughts wandered away from what you were in the middle of?. One of the most vital, fulfilling outcomes of regularly practiced meditation is the ability it grants to live life more in the present moment – the ‘here and now’, if you will. We all know that feeling when we’re reading a book and realise we haven’t taken a word in for ages; or, we’re at a show but can’t enjoy it for the planning or worrying we’re doing about tomorrow’s duties. Whether you feel stuck in the past or too focused on the future, following a ‘here and now’ meditation mantra helps us to keep grounded and present. The result is an enhanced appreciation of the moment and less ‘zoning out’. Read our 5 IDEAL tips on living in the moment over here; you know you want to.
LEARN TO LET GO
A shrug. A gesture of palms raised to the sky. A slight downturn of the mouth and cock of the head sideways. All of these are synonymous with letting it slide, of not reacting disproportionately, of saying to yourself ‘no worries’. Meditation gives us the tools to zoom out, put things in perspective and often helps us to see the bigger picture; something we could all do a little more often. Moreover, it can give us a greater awareness of our thoughts and feelings. As a result, you might find yourself being less reactive and letting go of things that would once annoy you.
AGE WITH ELEGANCE
One of the most imperceptible changes that meditation can bring to your life is also one of its most miraculous. As well as becoming increasingly accepting of the fact that the number of candles on your birthday cake will go up every year – and learning to access the wisdom that this can bring – meditation (it’s been suggested, though there’s still more research to be done) can slow the physical process of ageing. Indeed, studies indicate that meditation can improve many different aspects of our health, the most important in terms of ageing is via its effect on cell regeneration. So, the next time you think you don’t have ten minutes to spare for a few deep breaths and a reconfigure, consider the long term benefits of those few short moments.
AN END TO INSOMNIA
It seems like you can’t even wink 40 times in 2019 without another article about the value of sleep. A sterling seven to eight hours between the sheets has been credited as a low mood alleviator, brain cell repairer, pain reliever, blood pressure reducer, clarity giver and just about any other benefit you can dream up. Why, then, when the positives are this obvious, are we still not taking our sleep seriously? For many, we simply don’t know how to rest, replenish and refresh effectively. After a day of blue lights, deadlines and heavy loads, switching off can be tough.
Well, you’ve probably guessed where this is going right? We’ll say it anyway; the National Sleep Foundation recommends meditation, when combined with other techniques, as an effective way to tackle insomnia. There are a whole host of apps featuring libraries of guided meditations specifically tailored to sleep to get you started. We particularly like Headspace and Calm, though plenty of others are available.