An article written for the Shine August Newsletter
The benefits of a meditation practice as a means of coping with anxiety and stress is well known. It can literally re-shape the brain, transforming our perception of life for the better.
It has helped me to become more focused, more present, calm and more appreciative of everything in my life.
Thousands of studies have shown the positive impact that meditation has on our health and well being. It helps to develop clarity, concentration and a sense of emotional positivity.
There are many different kinds of meditation, with many different approaches. However, what they all have in common is the cultivation of a calm and positive state of mind.
My daily mindful meditation practice has helped me to better understand my own mind and emotional processes. This practice is quite simple, yet transformative.
I meditate between 15 minutes to one hour depending on the day. I usually meditate with my eyes open as it helps me to stay present and more connected with what is happening around me.
These are the steps that I use to anchor myself in the present moment during the practice and I keep coming back to them when the mind wonders during the meditation.
1. To start the meditation practice I sit with an open mind and a curious attitude trying to let go of any expectations.
2. I scan my body and notice if there are any pains or areas of tension. I feel my breath and acknowledge the quality of my breathing.
3. I pay attention to my senses, noticing the noises, smells and temperature around the room (or at the park if the weather is nice!)
4. I feel what is going on with my emotions allowing them to be as they are.
5. I listen to my thoughts trying to accept them regardless of whether they feel positive or not
Through meditation, over time we can notice our automatic behaviours and conditioned thought patterns, allowing the space for us to see them without having to re-enact them. This wider awareness develops into a more compassionate attitude towards ourselves and to the world around us.
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”