Meditation, I could wax lyrical about it for ever, it is my greatest friend and literally changed my life from an overworked, overweight stress head to a calmer, happier and much healthier person.
With so many apps and options out there now for meditation it can seem a bit daunting when starting to practise, with images of sitting in a lotus position massively uncomfortable and desperate to move!
To meditate is to allow for stillness within and a chance to turn off the noise of the mind. Although I have a regular practise and I make time daily to meditate in a quiet space, the reality is that meditation can be done anytime, anywhere and you can use it whenever you need to. The way I meditate always starts with awareness of my breathing and I use it in combination with intentions to change my state in certain tricky situations.
Like when you have a work challenge that you can’t get your head around
Many times I have been in a situation where I can’t seem to find the right way to plan a project or I feel completely lost about where to start, or my creativity has disappeared and I just feel really stuck and uninspired. In that instance I will take a time out.
I will sit with my eyes closed (if you feel weird doing this at your desk, go somewhere quiet, even the loo will do!) with both feet on the ground. Then I will say to myself that I set the intention to be inspired by my work challenge and open to ideas and guidance. This inner statement will change your headspace from one of ‘I’m stuck’ to ‘I’m inspired’ and start a positive shift.
Then I will bring my awareness to my breathing and for 3 to 5 minutes I will let go of all thoughts of work and just focus on my breath. I will bring all of my attention to my inhale and exhale, not trying to control the breath in any way, just noticing it and feeling it.
After that mini meditation I am usually in a much better position to face the work challenge head on.
Or when someone is really testing your patience.
In this busy, hectic environment we live in, it is really hard at times to keep your cool. No doubt you have all had your patience tested by someone at sometime whether it be on the commute, at the office, even at home. Instances like this used to really get to me, and if there was any form of conflict or aggression from someone, it would stay with me for a long time and I would be silently seething for ages! It does still get to me now but using meditation and intention it passes pretty quick and I can let go of it far sooner than I could before.
In this instance it’s not always easy to take a time out and go somewhere quiet and if you can’t what I do is when I notice my heart rate starting to get faster and a feeling of anxiety or anger starting to rise I go to my breathing. That’s always my first step, I focus on my breath and start to try and slow it down.
I’m still engaged in what’s happening, but I am also consciously slowing down my breathing. I am intentionally moving into a calmer state. Although I may still be angry and frustrated I can usually navigate out of it better when I have slowed my breathing down, which in turn slows down the heart rate and activates the parasympathetic nervous system which gets me out of fight or flight mode.
Then when I can I will take that time out. I set the intention to let go of any stress, anger or any emotion that I am holding on to that isn’t serving me. Then I will once again focus on my breathing for a few minutes. When you do this from a state of anger it may take a little while but soon you will physically feel yourself relax. Your heart rate will slow down and you will get some space from the intensity of your earlier feelings.
I use these mini meditations in most challenging situations, they have helped me a lot, and I hope they can help you too.