I’ve read a lot about the benefits of meditation and so I thought I would give it a try. It is not the first time I have tried meditation. I have had it recommended to me a lot as ways to help deal with anxiety and mental health issues, but I have never found it particularly helpful. It always seemed a little bit too idealistic and making time for myself to think of nothing just left me thinking of everything I was anxious about and feeling worse. Anyway, I have been feeling a little bit better mentally recently and so I thought I would give it another try over the stressful exam season. I’ll be honest, I’m not going to rave about it. I’m still finding meditation really difficult but, from what I have read, it is more of a progress than a quick fix. There doesn’t seem to be a ‘one size fits all’ with meditation either, so I think it’s a lot of trial and error. Some people prefer to do it in the morning, others at night before bed, some in their room and some in their garden. It really does vary. However, despite it being difficult, there are loads of benefits from meditation.
Life can get very stressful and, unlike weight training, meditation is a time where you are putting no pressure on yourself (technically… I found I put a lot of pressure on myself to be relaxed which was completely counter productive!). It’s about being aware of a thought without getting carried away with the thought (a little bit like mindfulness). As well as the obvious mental benefits if you are successful, there are actually loads of different physical benefits as well that I had never considered. Essentially, relaxation promotes balance in the body which results in higher energy levels, less muscle tension and a low heart rate for example. Also, probably obviously, although a benefit I had not considered; meditation can help lower your blood pressure and help to boost your immune system.
If you fancy giving meditating a go, like everything else, be realistic. The chances of you being able to sit under a tree in the warmth in the midsts of an English winter (or summer to be honest) are pretty slim. You have to work out what is right for you and make an active effort to make time in your day for it. Meditation is hard and I am really struggling to see benefits, but it does take practise. If, like me, you’ve tried meditation and are really struggling that doesn’t mean you should neglect making time for yourself. Weight training is my release but weight training also puts a lot of stress on my body and isn’t exactly the most relaxing sport, so make sure you’re giving yourself a bit of time to just relax and focus on yourself.
If you’re looking for more ‘expert’ advice on meditation, I got a lot of my information from ‘Fitness on Toast’ . If you’re looking for tips of how to meditate (eg. posture and reading) you can check out this resource, which was recommended in Fitness on Toast. There are also some really helpful books out there with relaxation activities and helpful tips on meditation – I would recommend ‘Calm’ by Michael Acton Smith.
Here’s a random flower because it made me think of meditation and stuff…