Let’s start at the beginning and unpack what meditation is.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, meditation is ‘the act of giving your attention to only one thing, either as a religious activity or as a way of becoming calm and relaxed’. Wikipedia defines it as ‘a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state’.
Sounds easy, but what are the real rewards you can expect to reap and how do everyday people go about incorporating it into our lives.
The benefits are quite extensive and can include:
- An enhanced sense of peace and wellbeing.
- A decrease in anxiety levels.
- The ability to remain calm in times of stress.
- Lower blood pressure, heart rate and blood cortisol levels.
- Increased feelings of well-being.
- Deeper relaxation and better sleep.
For seniors specifically, it can also assist people to age gracefully by keeping your mind relaxed and engaged.
The top tips for establishing a regular practice include:
- Do some research as to what type of meditation might best suit you. There are a number of different types including mindfulness meditation, movement meditation, transcendental meditation and mantra meditation.
- Do a little bit everyday – preferably first thing in the morning. Set a reminder or write yourself a note so you don’t forget.
- Don’t worry too much about whether or not you are doing it right. There’s no right or wrong and it’s called a meditation ‘practice’ for a reason.
- Counting your breathing can be a good way of focusing the mind and helping you to ease into your practice.
- Don’t worry if your mind wanders – this happens to everyone. If you notice thoughts creeping in simply return to the breath and try not to get frustrated.
- Downloading a meditation app can be a good thing, especially when you are starting out. They have different guided meditations that can be really helpful for getting you into the swing of things.
- If you are a social person it could be helpful to find a community of people that meditate and join them.
- Don’t be overwhelmed, you can start small and build on that, there’s even books available which talk about the how effective just 1 minute of meditation a day can be.
So happy meditating – it definitely sounds like it’s worth giving this ancient practice a go – you don’t need any special equipment and you can do it anywhere, anytime. And after all who wouldn’t like a little bit more peace, calm and happiness in their life …….. ommmmm.