Why You Should Not Forget About Finding Your Zen
Updated: Jan 19
WHAT DO ALL THESE PEOPLE HAVE IN COMMON?
Meditation. These celebs use meditation to slow down the mind and also helps with the body and soul.
For instance, Hugh Jackman has said that
"In meditation, I can let go of everything. I’m not Hugh Jackman. I’m not a dad. I’m not a husband. I’m just dipping into that powerful source that creates everything. I take a little bath in it."
Kirsten Bell has been quoted in saying:
"Do meditative yoga for 10 minutes every morning. When you have a problem - whether it's road rage, your guy, or work - meditation allows everything to unfold the way it's supposed to."
OK, so I'm going to start off and say, you are not a Buddhist Monk, you do not have to meditate for hours and hours. Meditation in Buddhist tradition it's similar to the word "Sports" in the Western world, it's a group of activities, not a single thing. So if we look at meditation as a sport, you don't put on a pair of football boots, or grab a tennis racket and you know how to play the game straight off, you have to start with training and developing your skills.
There are oodles of benefits to meditation:
Recharge and give you more energy through the day
Increases blood flow to your brain and rewires the circuits in your brain
Can mean that you are refreshed, if you don't get the 8 hours you need
Brain age slower and increases the amount of grey matter, this helps with hearing, memory, emotions and speech.
DO I NEED TO BUY NEW YOGA PANTS?
No, silly, you just need two things - something to sit on (chair, floor, whatever), and a timer. Plus a sprinkle of patience.
P.S. There are some cool funky apps that have meditation timers that are free. Pick a gentle alarm reminder - nothing like a drum and bass tune.
EASY AS PIE
As I said before you're not a monk and you don't have to sit on the floor and cross your legs, meditation is very simple and not as complicated as people make out.
The idea is to sit and focus on your breathing, as soon as you feel your mind wander you bring it back and focus on your breathing again. Your mind will go off on tangents and will do this repeatedly, don't beat yourself up, this is the point of meditation, you are working out your "attention muscle", as if you were learning a sport or if you wanted to build a habit, the more you do this and teach your self, the attention span you have will improve as well as some of the above points.
Easy as pie!
Here are some tips on mastering meditation:
Back - Keep your back straight - helps you stay alert and concentrate more on your breath
Eyes - You can either close or open your eyes. As said above your working your brain muscles, and it has to be comfortable for you. Some people find it better to close their eyes, but if you are doing this during your lunch break, and the possibility of you having a snooze, then keep them focused on something at your feet.
Hands - This is about you getting comfy if you find you are comfortable with arms cross, down by your side, on your knees or twiddling your thumbs.
Legs - if you sat down on the floor, cross your legs, if you are suitably flexible and you can put your feet in your legs like a pretzel, great. But to keep labouring the point, it's to be comfortable for you.
Head - slightly downwards, even if your eyes are closed, it helps with breathing and opens your chest.
Location, Location, Location: Find somewhere quiet, fewer distractions, the easier it will be to keep your focus.
GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK
I'll be honest with you, it's not going to be easy you are going to lose your attention, your mind will wander, you'll remember the shopping you need to get, the job you were supposed to do. It's ok, bring a notebook with you to jot down those light bulb moments, that's the point of meditation - mental clarity and understanding. Freeing your mind, so it's not like a kitten with wool, you are present in the moment.
If you are really stuck, try counting your breaths, until you reach five and then repeat.
Guided meditations are my favourite, as I'm there listening to something and being taken to a beautiful place. These guided meditations have some music in the background to introduce the mood, of tranquillity and calmness.
If you search on YouTube, there are a few (understatement of the year), and some of these medications are actually focusing on a specific purpose, stress, sleep, anxiety and many others.
EMOTIONAL FREEDOM TECHNIQUE
EFT - Emotional Freedom Technique, is a relatively new discovery but something I've used personally and works really well, prior to meditation or those moments, when I'm stressed and dealing with an intense emotion.
This technique is referred to sometimes as "Psychological acupressure", it works in releasing blockages within your energy system. Basically when we are having a panic attack, or feeling really low/depressed and/or stressed about a particular issue/problem, You use your finger tips to tap on points that are similar to acupuncture points, these areas of the body are like hot spots (meridian points). The points can restore balance to your body's energy.
While acupuncture uses needles to apply pressure to these points, EFT uses the fingertips to apply pressure, tapping these points while talking through your problem / focusing on the issue.
Here are the steps to follow:
What's the problem, you must identify the issue or fear you have. This will be the focal point while you are tapping. Just try and focus on one thing at a time.
How does it feel at the moment, between 1- 10, is my feeling about "not being good enough" rank as an 8, pretty high and I'm feeling all the emotions that go with this, once you've done the tapping, how do you feel then,
Now think of the phrase that sums up your feeling:
"Even though I have this sore shoulder, I deeply and completely accept myself"
"Even though I have this feeling of not being good enough, I deeply and completely accept myself"
N.B Some issues might not fit this phrase, but as long as you follow a similar methodology and you add the end of the sentenc you will be fine. Remember that it has to focus you you, if someone else is doing something wrong you have to change the wording to relate to you. e.g "Even though my boss doesn't appreciate me", you can change this to, "Even though I feel under valued at work"
Tapping is done with two or more fingers, so that your tapping covers the pressure point on your body
Tap for 5 times on each point. You don't need to count, just anywhere between 3 to 7 taps on each point is sufficient.
Follow the below sequence:
Remember to compare the feeling after your tapping to see if this has lowered at all, for you to understand the length of time you complete the EFT for.
BUT I DON'T HAVE TIME
I know I know, life's tough, work, relationships, housework, kids, dogs, family, friends, I mean sometimes it feels never-ending. And having time for self-care, shouldn't be on the back burner, should be one of the most important things on your to do list, even if its 5 mins meditating before bed.
But you don't have to assign an hour to it....and you'll be surprised what we make time for, bet if you downloaded that app, that showed you how many hours you were on social media for....it would be a good couple of hours at least, aimless scrolling up through timelines.
How many times have you turned up for work early, or meeting friends, why not spend a couple of minutes meditating? Sitting in traffic, in the bathroom, walking the dog, lying awake in the middle of the night, sometimes allows you those spare few minutes to find your centre and clear your head.
Hope this has given you some ideas and that you start your journey to mindfulness. Love to hear how you are getting on.
Also, watch out soon for my time-saving blog - with tips and tricks on saving time and making more time for you.
10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works - A True Story by Dan Harris
Headspace - app available in Play Store / App Store
Guided Meditations: Michael Sealey is one of my favourites: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9GoqHypa-SDrGPMyeBkjKw