I have been unconsciously mediating on and off for years, but it wasn't until I made the conscious decision that I wanted mediation to be a part of my everyday life, that I really recognised the benefits. I had read about how fabulous meditation is literally hundreds of times, but never really took it in or took the time to consider it for myself. One day I read about it's benefits for stress and anxiety. It wasn't anything I hadn't read before, but it just resonated with me in that moment. This is partially why I feel the need to beat this drum. I'm sure you've all heard it before, but this might just be the time it resonates with you!
Stress, anxiety, and nervous tension have always been a part of my life, and over time it had gotten worse. Often I wouldn't feel mentally stressed, but it was like my body was under stress. It was saying 'KATE STOP,' in the way of a panic attack or anxiety. I knew that it wasn't good, but really hadn't thought about how to manage it. I had always been classed as 'a stressor' which I took on as part of my identity. On a side note, I feel very strongly against labels for people, it's amazing how much we carry one little comment and decide that it's true, when often it comes from someone who doesn't know us at all.
Regular meditation has changed my life. I now feel more grounded, more present and more level headed. It makes me feel at peace, more relaxed and I sleep soooo much better! I think you really need to find a way that it works for you and fits into your life. Some people like to meditate of a morning, and others of an evening. For me I like to meditate before bed.
Here is an insight into my before bed routine to help me sleep more soundly and wake feeling fresh and revived. You might like to give it a try...
- Find a comfortable spot to sit. I sit in my bedroom with the door closed. I also make sure Michael I'm meditating. Once you start your meditation, you don't want to have interruptions.
- If you have lots on my mind, I recommend doing what I call a 'brain dump'. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and jot down everything that's running around in your head, so while your meditating you can let go of your thoughts, without thinking ' oh I have to remember that'.
- I like to put a cushion or towel under my bottom so that my pelvis is slightly tilted. This allows me to sit taller and take the pressure of my lower back.
- Sit in a cross legged position, with neutral spinal alignment and chin slightly down
- Place your hands (palm up) on your knee's and join your thumb and forefinger (like Rafiki in the picture)
- I then play meditation music for the desired time. I usually just find something on You-Tube. Being such a busy body, I like to know that when the music stops I have taken my 10 minutes for example. Otherwise I find myself checking the time. If you are comfortable, you can always go longer than your music in silence.
- Start by taking three deep breathes right to the end of your range. Fill your lungs as much as you can, then release all of the air pushing out every last little bit
- After my desired time, I gently bring myself back into the moment, slowly opening my eyes
- I then think about three things I am grateful for in that moment, and write them on a piece of paper and place them in my gratitude jar
- Then I hop into bed with a clear mind, ready for a great night sleep!
When starting out meditating, guided meditation is great. I love this 10 minute guided meditation by Melissa Ambrosini on The Wellness Warrior.