Meditation is something I fell in love with in 2016, once exam season started in April I knew I was going to need to try something different to help me stay calm and collected and to help battle the anxiety. I read dozens of blog posts and did my research because I wanted something short, effective and essentially something that wouldn’t make me fall asleep. I’d used a sleep meditation app during my GCSE’s and it worked a treat but this was different I wanted something to help my mood and body. I tend to struggle with the physical effects of stress, muscle tension, headaches, mouth ulcers ect. Meditation is majorly underrated, it’s not just hours of sat cross legged and saying ohm over and over again. It can be mindful breathing, stretching, visualisation, basically anything that gives your mind a bit of peace.
Whilst I’ve tried lots of different things there are a couple of bits that have stuck with me, a few tips and tricks that I know I can call on at any time and they’ll bring everything back into perspective.
STOP, BREATHE & THINK
I found this app whilst looking on the app store for something to help me sleep, discovered this and have never looked back. Starting with a reflection on your day and mood the app recommends different guided meditation. I just put in my headphones, choose the length of the meditation I need and I’m off. There are so many free meditations to chose from but there’s also the choice to purchase longer or different ones and they’re relatively cheap. You can do multiple meditations back to back or just pick one as a quick relief. I found this a really good way to teach myself to meditate and now I can do it anywhere and without a guide.
START FROM HEAD TO TOE
One of the techniques I find most helpful, especially when I’m trying to fall asleep is to relax my muscles starting from my head down, I’m careful to relax each muscle in turn, normally I’ll try tensing the muscle then relaxing it because I find that I really feel the difference that way. Working from head to toe and concentrating means my mind is focused on just trying to relax.
GROUND YOUR BODY
Most of the meditations I’ve done start with grounding your body, focusing on the feeling of your body on your chair or of yourself lying down on a sofa or bed. Focusing on the weight of your body and imagining something holding you into your seat keeping you grounded and stable. It sounds bizarre but when I’m feeling stressed and overhwhelmed it does calm me and very quickly, it helps everything to feel more stable.
THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING
Saying mantras to yourself everyday really can have an effect on your mood. Having a go to phrase you say to yourself when you’re tired or unmotivated can be a game changer. One of my personal favourites is “make this the day that changes things around” especially when I’m working on multiple assignments and feeling swamped, I wake up and tell myself that the work I do today will be able to change the situation around. I can take my progress from “out of hand” to “under control”. I sit at my desk and tell myself that when I’m done I’ll feel much better about everything, taking a second at my desk to close my eyes, take a couple deep breaths makes my work flow so much better.
So there’s a couple of my best tips and tricks on how to start meditating and how meditation has helped me, in the spirit of the new year I’d love to know if any of you are planning on a little more self-love this 2017 and if meditation is going to be part of that plan.