By Jo Holloway-Green
When you think of meditation, what do you think of? A waft of incense in the air? Somebody in tie dye sitting cross legged and chanting ‘Ohm’?
Actually studies show that meditation has been clinically proven to reduce depression and anxiety, and even prevent it returning in some cases. If you Google meditation evidence and you can find a range of studies, brain scans, and evidence that shows meditation is no longer the stuff of the 70s. If you want to find out more about the science bit, try clicking here for some of the research; https://www.headspace.com/science/meditation-research
I came to meditation a few years ago. I was on anti-depressants, but finding it hard to cope day-to-day with the feelings of anxiety, low mood and depression that the drugs weren’t shifting. I hit upon mindfulness first, but meditation is a key part of mindfulness, and I want to share with you some of the reasons why it’s so good for you, and how to get started. There’s a lot of fear around meditation; some of it’s reputation I’ve already mentioned, but many people start to feel more anxious and depressed when approaching meditation, feeling they’ll be forced to sit and think of ‘nothing’ for hours.
So there are some myths to bust here;
You can do 10 minutes of meditation a day and feel better
You will think about lots of things during the time you meditate – the trick is to let them come and go
It can be hard to get started, but actually you can meditate for as little as a minute initially. The brain is a muscle, and it will get used to meditating
A little meditation regularly often is better than a couple of hours occasionally
You can meditate in lots of different ways; you don’t necessarily have to be cross legged. You can lie down, sit up, or meditate during movement
You can also do meditation in lots of different ways; in silence, to music, you can do a guided meditation. There are endless ways to try
When I tried it, there was a remarkable sense of peace in letting my anxious, chaotic, and bleak mind take 10 minutes out, and in letting all the feelings of negativity, worthlessness and despair drift through my mind without catching hold of them. It gave me respite from them. It allowed me to heal
It took me a further two years, but through mindfulness and meditation I have been able to use just those as my treatments and ongoing tools for managing my mental health. No pills.
Are you interested in giving meditation a try? There are some great websites and apps out there if you want a helping hand. For apps try Headspace, Calm, or Insight Timer. For websites try Calm, freemindfulness.org or just type in guided meditation to Youtube
Jo blogs about mindfulness , minimalism and simple living. Find out more at www.themindfulhub.co.uk