“You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day. Unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for one hour.”
How often do you meditate? Occasionally? Never? Not even sure how to? Whatever your answer, it doesn’t matter. You’re here now, which means you’re interested in making a change, and doing something for YOU.
The quote above is an old zen saying (at least according to Google). But however far back its origins date, the sentiment remains the same. When we’re busy, we rarely make time for peace, clarity or calm – but it’s when we’re at our busiest that we need these things the most.
Why Meditation Matters
Did you know that meditation can make you more successful? Calmer? Happier?
A moment of meditation, each and every day, can help to alleviate the stresses and strains of our busy modern lives – and many of us need that now, more than ever. We also need relaxation techniques that won’t break the bank, and meditation is one of the few things in this world that can be learned, enjoyed, and mastered for free (although there are some great guided meditations, meditation apps and meditation classes that are well worth the spend).
So, exactly how can meditation make a busy worker like you more successful, and less stressed out?
When we’re feeling stressed, we tend not to think so clearly: our concentration wanders, our creativity is limited, and we find it difficult to focus – meaning that our work inevitably suffers, too. And when we stay stressed, without adequately recovering from that stress, we find ourselves at risk of burnout (which is not a place you ever want to get to. Trust us).
Meditation allows us to move out of ourselves, let go of tension, focus on our breathing and our bodies, and ultimately, create a state of mindfulness (which is basically just being present in the moment, instead of worrying about the future or fretting over the past).
Regular meditation can also reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve your overall wellbeing, and make you less likely to develop mental health conditions.
When to Use Meditation (and Why)
Using meditation at the end of a long day, before you climb into bed, or when your alarm goes off in the morning can all help to create healthy routines. But meditation can also be particularly effective when you’re going through a difficult time, or facing a challenge.
Meditation can be extremely helpful when:
- Preparing for a presentation or job interview
- Handling a relationship breakdown
- Coping with a heavy workload
- Processing the news and world events
- Unwinding from a stressful day
- Regaining composure after a disagreement
- Alleviating anxiety after socialising or travelling
The practice of meditation serves to clear away all of the background noise and put you back in touch with the truest version of yourself. As well as helping to reduce stress and clear your mind, regular meditation can spark creativity and innovation, help you to heal from negative influences, increase feelings of calm, clarity and contentment, boost self-esteem, lengthen your attention span, reduce memory loss, improve sleep, control chronic pain, and encourage self-love.
Interestingly, while we may think of meditation as purely mind-based, meditating can also help to improve your workouts! Through the practice of meditation, you can mentally prepare for exercise, increase your stamina, push through mental barriers, boost your confidence, and cool down more effectively.
Combining exercise with meditation is a great way to improve your general wellbeing, and to keep you fighting fit – mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Top Tips for Meditation
If you’re fairly new to meditation, it can feel a little intimidating. The truth is, it’s one of the simplest things you’ll ever do – but simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy.
Meditation requires focus, which takes practice. It might sound strange to ‘practice’ meditation – as essentially, it’s doing nothing – but doing nothing doesn’t come naturally to us, and our minds have a tendency to wander and lose focus.
If you’re looking for a starting point, have a read through our tips below:
- Don’t overwhelm yourself: Start with 2-5 minutes of meditation a day; when you’re managing that on the regular, increase your meditation practice by a couple of minutes each day. Just remember that anything is better than nothing – so if you can only manage a few minutes one day, take the pressure off.
- Meditate YOUR way: It’s easy to get swept up in trying to meditate a certain way, but this is a very personal practice. You might need absolute quiet, or silence might drive you mad. You might find the lotus position comfortable, or you might need the softness of a comfy chair. Experiment and find what works for you.
- Practice self–love: Try not to get frustrated with yourself if you struggle at first. Your mind will naturally wander, and it might take a while until you can concentrate and be ‘at peace’ in the practice. This is all perfectly normal, so show yourself compassion and kindness, and keep in mind that meditation is all about finding inner peace – not perfection.
- Use guided meditations: The best way to get to grips with meditation is by following along with a guided session, as it removes the guess-work and allows you to settle in and find your feet. GoVida’s employee wellbeing app has plenty of meditation resources to allow you to find your inner calm, and take a much-needed moment of pause in your day.
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