I FIRST heard about meditation back when I was a kid.
My dad was doing it before work to help with his stress but no-one really explained what it was to me. All I knew was that I couldn’t go into the walk-in robe as it would distract him.
I often wondered if he was sitting on a cushion with incense burning, repeating “om” over and over, as he never really talked about it but that was what I’d seen on TV shows.
I think he did it for a few months and then stopped.
I wasn’t introduced to meditation again until my late twenties when my best friend Mel brought her first yoga studio.
She would run a few guided meditations in some of her classes that I went to. I loved the way it made me feel but I would never find the time to do it at home alone.I made up excuses all the time as to why I didn’t need to meditate: ‘I’m too busy, my mind is too busy, I have too many thoughts, there isn’t enough time to do it, if I meditate I will fail as I have too many thoughts, I cant switch off, blah blah blah.’
The excuses kept me away from meditation for a long time.
I don’t think my poor little brain had ever felt peace because the first time it was silenced was back in 2015 and I cried. It didn’t last long but I felt silence for the first time ever and I loved it.
I signed up for a six-week meditation course that was run by two monks after completing one of their meditations in yoga.
The feeling of peace that day was magical and something I had never experienced. So within 15 minutes of the class ending I was signed up, ready to explore meditation. It was honestly one of the best things I have ever done.
In this course I was taught in depth about meditation, its benefits and how it could help me through my anxiety.
I meditated most days up to 40 minutes, it wasn’t easy but I was finding peace for the first time ever.
After the course I continued to meditate a few times a week but as my anxiety started to quieten down I got lazy and stopped making it part of my routine.
I knew how good it made me feel but the excuses came back and I wasn’t prioritising it like I first did. Occasionally I would meditate in a yoga class but that was it.Heidi's Tips On How To Meditate
I noticed a couple of things during this period of 12 months. I was finding it harder to let go of things, my brain wasn’t switching off, I was anxious and drinking a lot again.
After reading numerous self-help books, I decided it was time to start meditation again. I didn’t make it part of my routine but I was doing it three to four times a week and I noticed the difference. But as life got busy my meditation would stop.
It was the end of 2017 that I had started drinking heavily again – big changes were happening around me and my stress levels were at an all-time high. So I made a commitment to myself that meditation needed to be a priority every day.
I now meditate every morning before the radio show, for five to 10 minutes in a dark and empty space. After I exercise on weekends I stretch and find 10-15 minutes to meditate and check in with myself.
Some days I meditate up to three times and other days just the once in the studio before the radio show. I have learned a lot about myself through meditation but the top reasons I keep it up is it makes me feel more grounded, less stressed and happier.
For those new to meditation, let me give you a few tips that my friend and meditation teacher Amelia Harvey taught me: “Mediation is the training of your mind to focus on the present moment. The focus is to bring you back to the present moment. Meditation allows you to watch your thoughts and not run away with them or from them.”
Most people don’t realise that during their meditation, it is ok to have thoughts. In fact, it is normal.
“Think of it as a training session for your mind. You are learning to be present with how you really feel with no distractions. Our emotions cant go anywhere until we deal with them and we can do that through meditation,” says Ms Harvey.
My favourite analogy for meditation, which I was taught early and I preach often, is this: “Pretend you are at a train station and you are standing on the platform. The trains are your thoughts. Stop and watch them pass you by but don’t get on the train. If you accidentally take the train, jump off at the next station.”
Finding a meditation to suit you might take time and you might have to experiment with different styles and that is totally ok.
I found that the best form of meditation for me and my busy little brain is guided meditation, so that is how I meditate. I find it much easier to follow someone’s instruction. Guided meditations are everywhere and you will find thousands on Youtube so there are no excuses.
I also use a few apps and I bought a package of 10 different meditations from Amelia Harvey on her website.
Other meditation apps:
- Insight Timer
- Pure Mind
- Mindfulness App
You don’t even need to create a space for meditation. You can do it anywhere, anytime. I just lay on the floor of a darkened studio every day.
Some people like to set up space in their house and that is cool too, I just lay at the foot of the bed on the floor with a pillow. Some people sit and others lie down like me. I find it really uncomfortable to sit for too long.
You have to find what works for you, there is no right or wrong just find some time to create this space in your life, you could even do it in your car before or after work.
You have to find what works for you and stop with the excuses, I promise it will benefit your life.