Meditation… A lofty goal on most new year’s resolution lists. The benefits are well known and sceintifically documented however sometimes it takes a big life event to make the decision to commit to a new healthful practice.
If you have ever struggled to keep your emotions in check when confronted with difficult situations, and it’s starting to negatively affect your decisions, relationships and health, it might be time to take a look at finding a meditation practice that fits your lifestyle. Ben Harvey, Difference- Maker Mentor and Cofounder of Authentic Education, shares his insights into why meditation can benefit us all and there’s a technique for everyone.
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The practise of meditation better enables us to cope and manage everyday stress, whilst more importantly is creating a set time each day to nurture yourself. There are so many benefits to meditation that have previously been overlooked by majority of today’s society as remedial or associated with monkhood, hippies or woo-woo spiritualists. However, studies are now highlighting the positives of meditation not only our emotional wellbeing, but our physical wellbeing as well.
A recent study has shown that daily mindful meditation can help tame negatives emotions. The technique of being ‘mindful’ or aware of our present thoughts, movements and sensations, does not come without effort for a lot of people, but this study proves that deliberate meditation can influence everyone’s emotions in positive manner.
There are so many different techniques for meditation, providing an option for everyone to experiment with. Initially I would recommend taking a class to learn the basics, but if you are more inclined to meditate in private that is entirely up to you.
For some meditation is not about stillness or regulating breathing, but in repetition. Take baking for example, many people have found baking bread is the perfect medium for meditation. The mantra of ‘push, fold, turn’ allows them to shut off from their surroundings, but remain conscious. There is a very real issue of meditation leading to drowsiness… You want your focus to ebb and relax, not sink into mental monotony for the best results.
Yoga has become a very trendy form of meditation in recent years. It has opened people’s minds to meditation not just being about a monk chanting ‘om’ in a temple, but it’s about people embracing their spirituality to better themselves and provide an outlet for deep thought and reflection.
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I recommend finding a technique that really resonates with you, so that you are able to reap the benefits that meditation provides for both our emotional and physical wellbeing such as:
1. Lowering high blood pressure
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics almost one-third of the Australian population have high blood pressure resulting in some serious long-term health complications such as heart disease and strokes. Meditation has been linked to naturally lowering blood pressure by calming your mind and alleviating stress.
2. Improving quality of sleep
I hate sleep… said no one ever! By simply meditating we are naturally destressing our body and mind. Consequently, as a result of reducing stress our body produces melatonin, which is important for achieving a decent night’s sleep and waking up feeling energised and refreshed.
3. Mood regulation
We have all heard of serotonin, aka ‘the love hormone,’ over the last few years. It’s the hormone that’s released when we hug one another, but did you know meditation also stimulates serotonin? Allowing ourselves a few minutes to be mindful is actually helping us regulate our mood making us happier and reduces negative emotions.
4. Sharpening our awareness
Daily meditation can enhance our awareness and attention to detail, allowing us to set aside mental chatter and view things objectively. It is also a great way to break traditional patterns of thought through a more lateral thinking approach, thereby achieving an out of the box solution.
5. Boosting compassion
You love your partner, but sometimes things can get tough and that’s life. Meditating can actually help boost your compassion, meaning you are more accepting of them and learn to not sweat the small things.
A few years ago I would never have believed that a few minutes each day could make such a positive difference in my emotional and physical wellbeing. Not all that long ago I was clinically depressed, morbidly obese and found myself more than $137,000 in debt… Meditation gave me the ability to bring my mind and body back into balance, allowing it to heal itself. Therefore, I was able to start creating results in my life with ease.
 Australian Bureau of Statistics, 4364.0.55.002 – Australian Health Survey: Health Service Usage and Health Related Actions, 2011-12. (2013). Abs.gov.au. Retrieved 19 October 2016, from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/lookup/322DB1B539ACCC6CCA257B39000F316C?opendocument
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