Assuming you haven’t already ‘found yourself’ through meditation while on your gap year in Thailand, you’re probably wondering what it’s all about. Maybe you’ve already decided that it’s not for you. Maybe you’ve already tried it and got a bit bored of crossing your legs and trying not to think about what to think about.
But let’s try to change your opinion of mediation again through five simple points. Come on, let’s have a go. What else would you be doing? Not meditating, that’s for sure.
We chatted with mindfulness expert Emma Mills, who is based in London, and she revealed these useful points about meditation that will make you feel less intimidated and hopefully more tempted to incorporate meditation in your everyday life.
1. There are two main types of meditation
Emma describes two types of meditation: Formal meditation, the type you are probably familiar with from movies, “is when you sit down on purpose to meditate and you close your eyes and you do a particular exercise”.
But the other less familiar type is known as informal meditation, and it is a type Emma is very fond of. She says this is when “the meditative state arises spontaneously throughout the day”.
This involves being mindful in everyday situations. You can take five minutes out from work to sit and be still and to just pay attention to your surroundings, trying to relax. You can do this on the bus and you can do this in all walks of life when things get a bit stressful/you need some time out.
Emma says the key to this type of meditation is to be curious and try not to worry about controlling your mental activity. Simply watch your thoughts and enjoy it.
2. You don’t have to meditate for hours
Informal meditation can be as short as a couple of minutes, but would greatly benefit you if you tried to practice this every day.
She says: “If you’re a complete beginner, it’s good to do two-five minutes in the morning, as everyone can manage that. At least that way it will be a joy to do, rather than be labour-some.”
3. Music can help
In formal meditation, music can often be distracting, but for informal it could help relax you. But of course this depends on your intention for meditation.
It is useful to play music that means a lot to you or is nostalgic and that makes you feel happy and calm.
4. Your concentration will improve
Now onto the good stuff: The benefits of meditation. Emma says meditation has been known to help with anxiety and depression as well as improving your ability to concentrate through living a more mindful life as it “builds your capacity to focus on something”.
She says: “The more you are aware of where you are putting your attention, the more able you are to pay attention on purpose.”
She describes the act of meditation as like a “toning effect” on your brain. When you practice meditation daily, you are in good shape for the rest of your day, meaning that you live a more plentiful life.
5. You can put off the ageing process
Based on her own experiences, Emma says “when you stress you tend to age quicker” and meditation is the perfect way to de-stress. She notes “people who meditate a lot tend to look really young”.
Meditation can help you age less quickly as you live a healthier and happier, more fulfilled life.
As good a reason as any to give it a go, isn’t it?
Emma has just released a new mindful eating course. You can find further information here.