What is meditation?
Meditation is often made to sound complicated and difficult, but it really is one of the simplest things you can do. Meditation literally involves sitting down for a few moments without distraction or going for a walk by yourself. Meditation is just the practice of being mindful and focusing your mind on one thing, like your breathing, rather than allowing it to bounce all over the place like a ball in a pinball machine! It feels a bit weird to start, and it can be really hard to get your mind to slow down, but gets SO much easier with practice.
Lots of research has been done on why meditation is so beneficial. It is thought to reduce stress, lessen anxiety, improve memory and concentration. I mean – what’s not to love?!
How to meditate
Get into a position that suits you – whether that’s sitting in a chair, on the floor or lying down in bed. There’s no right or wrong way to meditate – you just need to be comfortable. When you feel happy with the position you are in, close your eyes gently and get ready to start.
Turn your attention to your breathing and the feeling of the breath flowing in and out through your nose and mouth. Then observe the feeling of your chest rising and falling with the breath. While remaining focused on your body start at your head and do a quick scan through your body right down to the tips of your toes. Notice how each part of your body is feeling. You don’t need to try and change the feeling or worry about it, but just notice it. If your mind wanders, just bring your focus back to the breath. You can even count your breaths to help maintain focus – count one on the in breath, and two on the out breath etc up until a count of ten.
When you’re finished meditating open your eyes and give yourself a moment to see how you feel. Don’t be disheartened if you can only meditate for a few minutes each time before your mind wanders – even a tiny bit of practice is beneficial!
Top meditation apps
Headspace – This app is easy to use and has the CUTEST animations! The app gives lots of guided meditations for different situations and the first ten days are FREE!
The Mindfulness App – This app offers guided sessions from a few minutes long up to half an hour. You can even download them to listen to offline.
Calm – This app has something for everyone with lots of guided meditations and even relaxing sounds and music to help you unwind. Fancy having a bed-time story read to you? It does that too!