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Meditation, trying to crack it!


I want to be a spiritual gangster! Ha! This will never happen, but as well as looking 25, eating a completely clean, green diet, having no bad habits and having a perfect recovery I would also like to add this to the list ;)

Everybody is singing the praises of meditation these days, from celebrities to real bona fide medical folk......I have been trying for years to get to grips with it, its hard, the irony being that I am/we are all so stressed we need to meditate but finding time to fit it in is stressing me/us out.....! The shops are full of books to help, (I've read them all) I've tried all the apps (some good, some not so), magazines and newspapers are full of articles outlining the benefits of it. I truly believe when I'm in a good place with exercise and meditation that it can have amazing mental and physical benefits....

  • Reduces stress

  • Improves concentration

  • Encourages a more healthy lifestyle

  • Controls anger

  • Reduces anxiety

  • Helps with depression

  • Raises self awareness

  • Helps sleep patterns

  • Increases happiness

  • Helps make clear decisions

  • Reduces fear

  • Clears the mind

  • Helps with obsessive thoughts

I could carry on all day, if you had a pill that did all that for you I would take it without hesitation, and most meditation peeps say this can all be achieved in just 20 mins or less a day.

What I've found really helpful is letting go of 'ideas' of mediation, I am never going to be that zen person sitting amongst chaos saying 'om' its just not gonna happen, as a mother of 2 with a job this is not realistic......... finding the quiet space is hard enough! So for me I try to go for the mindfulness side of things, this approach fits my personality better, less spiritual more practical.

I thought I had to sit crossed legged for hours with a clear mind!

The best thing I've learnt is that it's not about having no thoughts in my head, thank god! This girl cannot have a thoughtless head, it is like a washing machine, maybe at best a tumble dryer but never quiet....Now I know that mediation is about recognising thoughts, letting them come in, acknowledging them and then letting them go, parking them, for now. Depending on the day those thoughts can be billions, somedays not so many but I'm yet to reach a place where I think of nothing. I see it like so...

Thought comes in - hits crazy brain - ok I see it - I'm letting it pass through.

Another crazy little practice of mine is to imagine a guy with a bat in my head, as the thoughts come in he bats them away (think baseball!) This isn't about not dealing with stuff its about letting go and resting the brain for sometime to get a better perspective. I can be overrun with thoughts that aren't the truth and these then become what I believe.

So to me my practice of meditation comes down to letting go of thoughts for a few minutes a day, just to give my head a rest, like resting my body after lots of classes, or sitting my ass on the sofa and watching Netflix after a long day with the kids. The benefits can be felt straight away (even if I feel stressed again 10 minutes later!)

My favourite apps I've found so far are;

Headspace - this guy is really sound, its very practical without all the music, rushing water sounds etc you get with traditional meditation. Its a great course in meditation, teaching you as you go along. His website also has loads of tips and a fantastic blog.

Buddify -This nicely-designed UK (so English accents :)) app is aimed at busy urbanites. You tell it whether you’re at the gym, walking, commuting or home. You can then pick a track “flavour” or style of meditation and choose from male or female voices. There’s a two-player meditation mode so you can meditate with a friend or partner.

Walking Meditations - Don't have time to meditate? this app leaves you with no excuses, to and from work? or simply go out for a walk once a day! The music is also great on this app.

Calm - Mediation to relax, focus and sleep. This app makes meditation simple and is along the lines of more traditional meditation with guided relaxations and beautiful soundtracks.

You can also find lots of books on the subject, I would advise anyone to read Ruby Wax, The frazzled Mind.....it gives a really practical look at the scientific side of anxiety, depression and obsessive thoughts. As well as a guide to Mindfulness. I do however think the apps are the best for mastering the art of mediation, I always have my phone on me and as long as I can find 10 mins in the day there really is no excuses.....although, obviously I find millions!

Like all things good for me, eating well, exercising, going to sleep early the list goes on, when I'm practising all these things I feel at my best, but life gets in the way, the little devil in me would rather, eat crap, stay up watching rubbish TV and feel sorry for myself so this week I shall be meditating everyday for 20 mins !! .......

well we'll see

Love

Clare

#meditation #mindfulness #recovery #spiritual

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Clare Matty
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