Meditating on Meditation

As part of my healthy heart and healthy mind thing this year, I’m giving meditation a whirl.

It’s one of those things I’ve been meaning to do (or should that be talking about doing?) for longer than I care to admit.

I’ve sort of done it before – I did Kundalini yoga for a bit and there was quite a bit of chanting or active meditation in that – and it never failed to make me feel better. It wasn’t something I ever felt comfortable doing outside of a class though.

I’ve mentioned before that there are times when I feel so anxious or worried that my heart feels like it’s beating out of my chest. Sometimes it’s about work, but very often it’s to do with potential outcomes that are beyond my control or other people’s problems that I’ve somehow managed to make my own.

It’s worse at night when the monkey brain really takes over.

I can worry about anything – from what might happen to what people think of me, to creative self-doubt (that’s a huge one), to … well, you get the idea. The thing is, I need to let it go, I need to accept that there are things I can’t change and situations I can’t control, I need to learn to improve my focus, and I need to reduce stress.

And I don’t think that I’m alone in that.

Benefits of meditation…

According to pretty much everything I’ve read, meditation can:

  • reduce stress
  • improves concentration
  • increases happiness
  • increases self-awareness
  • increases acceptance
  • encourages a healthy lifestyle
  • slows aging
  • benefits heart health and immunity

If it can do all this, it has to be worth a go, right?

How to meditate…

I have no flipping idea. What I can tell you is how I’m doing it – or, rather, trying to do it.

I’m starting small – with just five minutes a day to begin to get me into the habit.

I’ve downloaded the app Calm. It plays relaxing birdsong and water trickling types of noises for as long as you need it to, but I’m finding that I’m using it more for the deep breathing and looking at the calming picture during the work day when I get the whole tummy dip thing. As I take ten deep breaths, I feel my shoulders relax almost immediately.

I’ve found a rock down at the beach that I sit on after my morning walks. I set the timer on my iPhone for five minutes, pop my sunglasses over my closed eyes and listen to nothing but the ocean until the timer goes off.

I’ve popped a playlist on my phone with some new-agey sort of music on it that I can use with the timer on my phone, although so far I haven’t managed to get a real habit happening at home.

the view from my rock

I’ve also downloaded the free version of Headspace, but the constant emails are already driving me spare re-upgrading to paid versions – so that won’t be lasting.

Am I feeling the benefits? Nope, not yet anyway. But I will perservere – so many people can’t be wrong…can they?

What about you? Do you meditate? If so, what works for you?

It’s Lovin’ Life Linky time…

It’s Thursday, so it’s time to look for our happy and share it about a bit. The Lovin’ Life Linky is brought to you by Team Lovin’ Life: Deep Fried Fruit, DebbishSeize the Day ProjectWrite of the Middle50 Shades of Age,  and, of course, me.

18 Replies to “Meditating on Meditation”

  1. I’m right there with you on the monkey mind/worrying thing Jo!

    I used to work in a New Age shop and meditation was one of the things we got asked about on a daily basis. A lot of people find guided meditations helpful to start with, then move on to just music, while others prefer to just have nothing in the background (although I always find some annoying noise to distract me!). The benefits of meditation are wonderful, but it does take some practice 🙂 x

    1. Now Lyndall, why does practice & setting habits mean we have to do something more than once? It just beggars belief (Takes tongue from cheek)

  2. Your meditation place sounds perfect Jo. I still haven’t mastered it because my mind wanders so much. However, I”m told that is okay, I just have to reset and continue. 5 minutes is a good starting point I don’t think I could last longer than that!
    Have a great day!
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

  3. I have chronic monkey brain too. When I try to relax I can’t switch my brain off and I’ve always been like this. I think it’s something to do with your makeup and not something that is easy to change. I do the meditation session at the end of my yoga class and all I do is lie there and think of everything I need to do when I leave the class! But starting with just 5 minutes a day may work for me too, so I’ll give it a try.

    1. I’ve noticed being away this week & going straight from the bus to work to the bus & then home to deal with family stuff, my head is screaming at me by 10pm. I’ve missed that 5 mins

  4. I’m not good with that – meditation – but I do find watching movies in the cinema by myself or listening to audio books in the car has the same effects. It shuts out all thoughts of me and my life and I come out refreshed and calm.

  5. I meditate daily, Jo and I’ve done it for a while. I usually do it for about ten minutes in the morning when I wake up, and before bed time, with deep breathing which helps me fall asleep at night ten times out of ten. I’ve heard of the app Calm but haven’t used it. When you have a super active mind, it takes time to train it at first but keep it up, Jo, especially when you have such a beautiful setting. If your mind wanders, and it will, just relax, acknowledge, and re-focus.

  6. Jo that was the BEST post on meditation I’ve read in ages! I struggle so much with turning off my brain, but the idea of sitting calmly for half an hour or more and expecting my brain to be all zen just doesn’t grab me. I like your idea of starting small with 5 mins each day – I might not fall asleep in that amount of time (or plan my week, or have numerous imaginary conversations!)

  7. I find laying on the beach meditative. I close my eyes, stretch out and the sound of the waves manages to drown out anything my mind is worrying about. Yes I hear you. I worry about anything. As soon as one worry is negated the next one pops up it’s head. But the wave thing works for me. Of course only when I’m at the beach though. 🙂

  8. I wrote a few years ago about the fact I worried I wasn’t meditating ‘properly’ and then realised that there was – perhaps – no correct way.

    I like to think that even the act of TRYING to meditate and slow our thinking etc is helpful. Even if not for the traditional reasons, for making the effort! I have a few relaxation / meditation / hypnosis things I listen to at night but wish I was better able to do it myself.

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