Stress is such a big glow killer in our lives. It throws our hormones out of whack, disrupts our thyroid, can lead to weight gain, takes away your energy and kills your sex drive, and dulls that glow of yours, all the things you just don’t want to happen. So to help each day with the stresses and strains that life may throw at us, I want to introduce you to meditation.
What is meditation? Meditation is a process of calming your own mind. Now this sounds basically impossible and is interesting when you start off as there are lots of thoughts that come into your head when you try to quieten down. This is totally normal and something that should be welcomed. Let the thoughts enter and leave your head like waves on the beach. There is no judgement of the thoughts, no action required. Just sit and let them pass by like birds in the sky. Soon you then get to a place where your thoughts are less and less and you become fully present. And that is when you reach your meditation.
Fun fact for you: 20 minutes of meditation is worth 3 hours of sleep, so if you’re tired, which most of us are, then this is a great way to Catch up on some sleep without having to go back to bed!
There are lots of different types that you can do such as Transcendental Meditation (TM), Kundalini meditation and one of the most popular is mindfulness meditation.
One of the ways this helps us is to slow down, to breathe, to be fully present and to let the chatter of life leave us come back to our true selves. This can help set us up for the day or relax us before sleep, due to the way we breathe slows down, the mind relaxes and we become more centered.
So how do you do that?
So I’d like you to start by firstly noticing how you’re breathing right now. Is it short, sharp and shallow, or is it long, slow and deep? Or somewhere in between? And now take a breath. Notice where it comes from. Is it from your shoulders or from your belly? A lot of us tend to breathe from our shoulders when we take deep breaths but the most efficient way to get oxygen into our bodies is to breathe from our belly.
Let me show you. When you take a big, deep breath in, we want it coming in through our nose and into our belly so it expands and gets bigger. Then I would like you to exhale through your mouth. When we inhale through our nose, our bodies know (no pun intended) how much oxygen our bodies need so that’s why it’s more beneficial to breathe through the nose.
Fun fact, when we breathe deeply through our noses, it drives more oxygen more efficiently into the lower areas of our lungs, which then sends messages to our brain to say that we can calm down more and get back to repairing and restoring the body compared to when we breathe through our mouths, this sends signals to the brain that we are still in flight or fight mode so need to be ready for that.
I’d like you to then try breathing in for four and out for 8 for five minutes. Pop a timer on (personally I love to use Insight Timer App) and let’s go. Close your eyes and relax through this exercise, you can even put an alarm on if you feel you might fall asleep!
Here are some other ways to try meditating:
- Breathesync – Learn to adjust your breath to match the rhythm of your heartbeat with the BreatheSync app and feel more relaxed, focused and balanced.
- Insight Timer App
- Headspace App
Books / M
- Gabby Bernstein – Miracles Now
- Dan Harris – 10% Happier (Also a podcast and App)
After you have meditated, I’d like you to try a brain dumping exercise. Brain dumping is a really easy and effective way to get out everything that’s going on in your head so that it can calm down. Don’t judge anything that comes out, just let it flow. You can choose to read over it or throw it away afterwards, it’s entirely up to you. I know some friends actually burn theirs as a way of signalling to the universe that they surrender it all but as always, be careful when doing this and don’t do it in the house etc. You’re clever, you get the common sense around this!
Set aside 15 minutes at one point this week to do this exercise. It involves some breathing (yup, pretty hard right?! And some writing). Grab a pen and a cuppa herbal tea, and relax in, knowing you’re spending 15 minutes just on you. How lovely.
I hope this was helpful, let me know in the comments!