Why we all need a little Meditation in our lives - Jane Watchorn
A day thinking about what could happen, should happen, or what might have been, is a day missed. Headspace
From anxiety to meditation, what meditation means to me;
I’m Jane and someone who has always suffered with my mental health. I have had lots of life’s challenges thrown at me, which has lead to me suffering with debilitating anxiety. At the highest levels it left me feeling exhausted, crippled with panic attacks, sleep deprived, and like I was unable to cope.
Having learnt over time how important the connection is between the mind and the body I looked for ways to overcome this anxiety and found the benefits in meditation. Because, if I don’t look after my mind, then the mind can’t look after my body, right!?
Our health is one entity, both the physical and mental combined, and I have found that by practicing meditation it helps give my mind and body the space and time it needs.
I practice regularly and have found this to be extremely beneficial to looking after my mental wellbeing.
Can I really meditate?
The simple answer is yes - anyone can!
No it’s not possible to just switch off, life isn’t like that. We live in a hectic and busy world, and our primal brain of flight or fight responses are not placed well in our modern world. But what we can use is meditation as a tool in our lives to help us cope better in situations and look after our wellbeing.
For anyone who hasn’t tried meditation or feels like this doesn’t work for them, let’s break it down a little.
Firstly, no we can’t switch off our thoughts, according to experts our brains have approximately 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts a day. Meditation is about learning to allow the thoughts to come and go and to refocus our attention when we do by concentrating on our breath, object, or even a mantra. Helping to train our attention and awareness in our mind.
What does it mean to meditate?
Meditation doesn’t mean we have to sit for hours each day, it is possible to bring this practice into a hectic lifestyle. I have learnt from other great Meditation Masters that you can do this for as little as 60 seconds and still feel the positive effects. This has been invaluable for me and a great way to get me started with this practice.
Life throws lots of challenging situations at us these days, along with lots of pressures from the outside world, maybe you get too many emails, have too many bills, family pressure, peer pressure, exam stress, work related stresses, this can bring us down, make us anxious, stressed, or irritable amongst other things. We also live in a world with fast technological advances and the ever-growing social media, which is incredible and helps enable us to communicate and achieve things like never before, but at the same time it can also all feel very overwhelming at times and make us doubt our capabilities.
Using meditation gives me a space to refocus, gain perspective, or feel a sense of calm, and able to face whatever is thrown at me again. Just simply slowing my breath down and focusing provides me with some clarity.
I’ve found the breathing aspect to meditation really beneficial to my recovery from panic attacks and helpful in tackling my anxiety. It’s a good way of calming my mind and breathing down when my thoughts overtake me.
If you suffer from panic attacks, believe me I know exactly how difficult it can be to imagine this working, but I do recommend giving it a go and don’t worry it was a long process for me to deal with panic attacks and getting to this stage, unfortunately you won’t get overnight result (I wish you could!), but in the long run it may be something that changes your life.
Can meditation help me?
Meditation practices have been around for centuries and were developed in Taoist China and Buddhist India. It wasn’t until the 1960s that meditation began to gain popularity in both America and Europe, especially the practices of Hatha Yoga and Transcendental Meditation.
Both scientifically proven and commonly experienced validations of the positive effects that meditation can have include the following; reducing stress and anxiety, improve brain function, feel more connected, enhance self-awareness, improve emotional health, generate kindness, healthier sleep patterns, and can help control pain.
Is meditation for me?
Meditation can be guided or unguided, and if you are starting out then I would personally recommend using guided to get used to this practice.
There are different techniques to follow, and it is very much an individual choice of preference, some of the more well-known practices include; “TM” transcendental meditation, mantra meditation, yoga meditation, zen meditation, focused attention, visualisation, sound bath meditation, and many more.
It’s about finding what works for you as an individual, we all have different needs and require a different result from meditating. There are lots of different techniques to use and I recommend trying out different ones and then even adapting one that feels right for you.
Remember to keep it simple to start and recognise that it may take a while for meditation to start working and feel right to you - it is a practice after all!
Just like training our body in a class or gym, meditation is like a gym for the mind we are training it to think and feel differently, to improve our lives. Letting go and having no expectations of yourself can really help. There are also many great teachers and meditation courses available which you may find useful.
There’s no harm if it doesn’t work for you, remember that simply taking some time to enjoy something you love is what really matters. Allow yourself to enjoy your downtime and don’t feel guilty for being selfish with this.
Good luck with your meditation journey and I would love to hear your feedback or how you get on with your practice.
Jane is passionate about supporting mental health awareness and currently training in an NLP Diploma in Mindfulness Life Coaching. Jane has founded ‘Inner Calm with Jane’ to ‘help you bring simple steps to calm in your life’, which is launching this July.