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Can meditation change your life?

Updated: Dec 10, 2023






Meditation has been around for years, thousands of them. We have seen, however, that relatively recently the more ‘woke’ among us (kidding…do NOT think I’m ‘woke’!) seem to have taken to it in a bid to improve our mental health above all else. There has also been increasing scientific research to take a look at the benefits.


Findings include that people who practiced mindfulness meditation for a couple of hours a week for 8 weeks finished with better focus than those that didn’t, good for productivity amongst SO many other things...cool, right?!


Common misconceptions among those that don’t practice or wouldn’t like to give it the time of day include thinking it’s what all the monks do to go into some form of trance or away from what is going on in the world, it’s perhaps a bid to rid the mind of absolutely all thoughts or having to focus hard on one thing in particular or that it’s for spiritual people – definitely not for them.


The above research finding talks about mindfulness which is really what I wanted to mostly cover today, I have tried so many different things, including the above – sitting cross-legged trying to rid my brain of all thoughts. I’ve also walked in nature in silence trying to find some kind of peace for my mind. I’ve lay down on the ground and counted my breaths. You name it, I’ve tried it. More often than not I feel rubbish at it. Before I get into my experience though I want to chat briefly about what mindfulness, specifically, is.


Mindfulness is a type of meditation amongst many which has been defined as ‘paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally’ – think tuning in to what is going on around you, like really tuning in. What can you smell? What can you hear – particularly the sounds you wouldn’t normally recognise because they’re always there? How does that butt feel on the seat you’re sitting in? How does that cuppa feel as it goes down that throat and into your tum?


It is about not doing things on autopilot being totally oblivious to what is happening in the world around you, helping you to focus on each moment as it happens.


Something we do every day pretty mindlessly, which can link us nicely to what I do from day-to-day with nutrition coaching, is eating. How often have you finished a meal and probably not tasted a single bite? Too busy watching tele, scrolling through socials and shoving it down as quickly as you can? Are you full part way through? You wouldn’t know, you aren’t paying attention.


So, some tips to be more mindful then:


· Be observant – go beyond the obvious.


· Don’t judge whatever thoughts come up or what is going on around you, simply notice.


· Notice and then accept – accept what is happening, it’s happening for a reason.


· Just focus on right here, right now.


I promise you while meditation and mindfulness may sometimes feel like a waste of time there are many, many research-backed benefits. We’re talking better control of our emotions, increased positivity, improved memory, better self-awareness, reduced mental health struggles, reduced physical illness and better tolerance levels – if taking these things forward to your every day is a waste of time for you then it begs the question what you’re doing to fill your day that could be so much more important?!


Maybe just have a go at being slightly more mindful next time you eat, drive or just sit – notice things, how things feel, taste. It’s hard, especially to start, I beat myself up ALL the time for a busy mind but that’s what it’s all about, recognising you have shit going on, of course your mind will run away with you, just acknowledge that stuff will figure itself out at the right time, now is not that time and bring it back to right here and now.


You don’t have to enjoy mediation – just keep going, persevere. Don’t do it for a few days and decide it isn’t for you. You wouldn’t eat well for a day, realise you didn’t lose the stone you’re after and throw the towel in would you? At least I hope not given the amount I harp on about consistency. Keep at it. It can’t be wrong if it’s going to benefit both your physical and mental health, right?


I have tried on and off for probably years now. I started, felt rubbish, stopped, started again, felt like a chore, stopped again, started again…you know how it continues…


Anyway, now I use an app called Oak. It gives me a streak of days, just 10 minutes every day I sit down for. Usually after my morning workout but if that doesn’t fit in, 10 minutes before bed. I like to get it done early because then it’s out the way, I don’t love it, but I know it works in some way for me. Just 10 minutes of quiet.


So, I’m currently 156 meditation sessions in on the app and if you think I’m breaking that streak now you’re wrong, the stubborn human inside of me won’t be allowing that.


I implore you just to try, just breathe in…deep, none of that shallow, choppy breath, breathe out, empty those lungs…go again…or don’t, remember it can take whatever form works for YOU. Whatever sends you into a place of a quiet mind, a bit of peace. Let me know how it works for you or if you already have a go – what works? Do you love it? Hate it? Enter into some kind of other world for a moment or two you lucky, lucky thing? Would love to hear your experience?


Peace and love, A x




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