“I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one.” – Mahatma Gandhi.
Let me start by saying I suck at Meditation! I have tried and failed on the few attempts I have taken upon and have found it difficult to make it a regular part of my life along side my training, nutrition and active recovery time. However, I can see and have read up a lot about the positives of regular meditation and believe this is something I can definitely benefit from, and I am always a huge fan of getting out of your comfort zone and practicing new and challenge methods to improve your health, fitness and well-being!
As a business owner I am constantly thinking of what I need to do and it is rare that there is a day or hour that I haven’t got a long list of about 20 jobs I need to complete. My lovely wife can protest that I am possibly a work-a-holic and can quite often be distracted by all the jobs I need to get done, or am off thinking about something that has happened at the box, and completely forget what is going on at present! This is very annoying for both my wife and me!
On top of the distractions there is always the stress associated with running your own business or work & life in general. “Did you know that our brain has five times more negative circuits than positive circuits causing the brain to always look for safety first before pursuing reward? In other words, our brain is always scanning for threats (survival mode). Add to that the lack of sleep, poor nutrition, minimal movement and/or multitasking from morning until night to the equation and we are on a fast track to burn-out and fatigue.” (Jean Thorson, CrossFit Invictus).
Fatigue and stress are common themes when we look at poor performance, lack of positive results and low energy levels. Stress will always be a part of our lives so learning and practicing new ways to manage stress is really important. One way of managing your stress is through mediation.
So first of all, what is mediation?
There are many forms of meditation as it is such a personal practice as many people will have different ways of benefiting from this practice. Generally mediation is a focused-attention, or mindful mediation where you focus on a specific thing (breathing, wind etc). The point of this is to focus strongly on one point and continually bring your attention back to that focal point when it wanders. According to research there is evidence proving how meditation affects the brain by stopping our brain processing information as actively as they normally would. We start to show a decrease in beta waves allowing us to focus and slow down our constant thinking, stressing and worrying about everything happening in our lives.
What are the benefits of regular meditation?
According to theartofiving.org “With meditation, the physiology undergoes a change and every cell in the body is filled with more prana (energy). This results in joy, peace, enthusiasm as the level of prana in the body increases.
On a physical level, meditation:
· Lowers high blood pressure
· Lowers the levels of blood lactate, reducing anxiety attacks
· Decreases any tension-related pain, such as, tension headaches, ulcers, insomnia, muscle and joint problems
· Increases serotonin production that improves mood and behavior
· Improves the immune system
· Increases the energy level, as you gain an inner source of energy
Meditation brings the brainwave pattern into an Alpha state that promotes healing. The mind becomes fresh, delicate and beautiful. With regular practice of meditation:
· Anxiety decreases
· Emotional stability improves
· Creativity increases
· Happiness increases
· Intuition develops
· Gain clarity and peace of mind
· Problems become smaller
· Meditation sharpens the mind by gaining focus and expands through relaxation
· A sharp mind without expansion causes tension, anger and frustration
· An expanded consciousness without sharpness can lead to lack of action/progress
· The balance of a sharp mind and an expanded consciousness brings perfection
Meditation makes you aware - that your inner attitude determines your happiness.” (The Art Of Living, https://www.artofliving.org/au-en/benefits-meditation-0, 2018)
How can I implement mediation strategies into my busy life schedule?
Here are a few strategies to help implement mediation into your regular daily lives. Remember it doesn’t have to be long and to get the most out of it; it should be completed on a regular basis.
· Try sitting for 5-10 minutes with no distractions present. Turn off the TV and phone and just concentrate on you breathing or the wind outside. Build each day or week by adding 1-2 minutes gradually.
· Meditating first thing in the morning is a great way to make it a daily reminder, especially if you write yourself a note or schedule in your diary.
· Don’t worry too much about the “how” to meditate, just do it. Sit where you are comfortable and it’s quiet.
· Count your breathing.
· Your mind will wander so make sure to try come back to your breath. You might feel a little frustrated, but it’s perfectly OK to not stay focused, this is the practice and you will get better at it over time.
· Do a body scan by focusing your attention on one body part at a time. Start with the feet and move your way up the body.
· Commit yourself to doing it regularly. In your mind be locked in and see how you go for at least one month.
· You can do it anywhere so don’t feel confined to your home. Go outside, to the beach or anywhere you can sit and be undisturbed.
· Follow guided mediation via apps on your phone.
I will be aiming to implement these strategies into my mediation routine and am really keen to see and feel the benefits of regular meditation for my training performance and overall health. Less stress and more focus!
“The goal of meditation is not to get rid of thoughts or emotions. The goal is to become aware of your thoughts and emotions and learn how to move through them without getting stuck.” – Dr. P. Goldin.