I completely understand the raised eyebrows or eye rolling when someone mentions meditation. I used to be that person! I’ve since learned a lot more about myself and meditation and when people roll their eyes at me, I don’t get annoyed or frustrated because I believe at some point they will “get it”.
For example, last month I visited my dad for Father’s Day with my brother. My dad runs a pub just outside Swindon and is not the healthiest person! As soon as I mentioned meditating, my brother and dad burst out laughing and called me a ‘hippie’. I also wasn’t drinking because it was during my marathon training and they just did not understand. Which is fine. I tried to explain to them what meditation can be but couldn’t seem to get past the laughs so I gave up.
A few weeks later, I was having lunch with my brother, aunt and mum and managed to get it across a bit more to him. Mainly because my aunt meditates and I think he has a bit more respect for her than to laugh in her face! (Brother-Sister love!)
You might think you haven’t meditated before but when I learnt more about it recently, I realised I meditate or am mindful much more than I think I am, I just didn’t know what it was.
I recently met a lady who ran a meditation class in my shared offices and she ran a few variations. Here are some I learnt that you can easily incorporate into everyday life (P.S. Sorry if I get the titles wrong – I am still learning but this is how I understand it).
You can do this anywhere. This type of meditation focuses solely on the breath. We take about 22,000 breaths a day, but how many of those do we really count or even know about? Taking anything from a minute just to sit somewhere and breathe deeply in through your nose and slowly out, focusing on nothing but your breath is meditating. You can literally do this anywhere – you don’t even need to close your eyes! As long as you aren’t on your phone or something.
Try taking time out 3 times a day to take 10 long, deep breaths. You instantly feel calmer!
This one is about being present in the moment. In today’s world, we are constantly ‘on-the-go’. Recent figures suggest that the average person looks at their phone 75-85 times per day! This means we never really switch off. How many people eat their breakfast whilst checking their emails? Or check Instagram whilst travelling somewhere? I have become much more aware of these things that I do, even if something pops into my head I want to google the answer straight away and I have to remind myself it can wait.
The person I spoke to advised trying having a “mindful cup of coffee”. To simply enjoy it in the morning. Don’t look at your phone, don’t check your work emails. Just be present in that exact moment, and enjoy your morning coffee.
Another one I used a lot without realising it was meditating. I like to use this one more in the evening to help me calm my mind before I go to sleep. You simply imagine yourself anywhere you want, somewhere that makes you feel content and peaceful.
When I did this exercise, there were two of us and we both imagined ourselves on a beach which (unsurprisingly) is very common. But you can pick anywhere you like.
Imagine the smells, what you can hear, how your body feels in that moment of wherever you are. You only need to do this for about 5 minutes. By forcing your brain to think about something else, especially something calming, and the detail at which you imagine it. Your stressful thoughts don’t have room.
Have you tried any of these or have any other good tips?