Reap endless health benefits with our handy guide to meditation...
Looking to reduce stress, anxiety and medical symptoms in as little as 10 minutes a day? Research has shown meditation to improve your quality of life, and daily practice can ward off the likes of coronary heart disease and cancer.
We’re all guilty of putting things ahead of our need to relax – work, partners, children, shopping…the list is never ending! The thought of sparing half an hour for a bit of ‘me time’ can be daunting, but with everything from apps to colouring books on offer, it has never been easier to fit meditation into your day.
If you thought meditation was reserved for leafy retreats and special classes, think again! There are plenty of ways to practice at home, at work or even on the train. Who would have thought that a stressful commute could be the perfect time to relax?
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Even attempting to meditate at home can prove difficult – relatives, pets and technology are all distractions that prevent you from winding down. Not to worry, we’ve got tips to help you achieve a bit of peace in even the noisiest environments.
Ready to relax? Us too – click through our handy guide on how to fit meditation into your day…
If you're finding it difficult to settle your mind then it may be helpful to visualise a beautiful, picturesque setting and embellish it as much or as little as you like. Whether it be a solitary mountain or an idyllic island, this simple technique can wash away stress and help to restore your energy.
Find your focus by repeating a mantra over and over again. You can make it up, or find a quote you love and say it out loud or in your head. Mantras can help to supress thoughts and distractions, enabling you meditate more easily. Start with the traditional meditation mantra - "Om" which means "it is" or "to become." An ancient Sanskrit word, in Buddism it is considered to be a sacred mantra and is said to be the seed of all creation.
You might initially associate 'yoga' with the physical practice, but in
fact it can be a powerful tool for meditation. Being mindful is key -
being always in the present moment, which can be aided by focusing on
Often at the end of a class, the instructor will set
aside some time for meditation, but you don't have to own a special
membership to reap the rewards of yoga meditation.
Find a quiet
moment in your day to meditate at home. Begin with stretching to bring
awareness to muscles and tendons, allowing you to sit with good posture
on either a mat or
comfortable cushion. Next, close your eyes and become aware of your
breath. If any thoughts pop into your head, just gently bring your focus
back to the breath. Remain like this for 5-10 minutes.
There's nothing quite as soothing as a bit of nature, but finding a
tranquil spot to meditate outdoors can be tricky. Luckily, you don't
need to brave the elements to meditate in natural surroundings. Simply
decorating a room with flowers can aid meditation practice and restore
harmony and balance. Buy bouquets of jasmine or rose for a more subtle
approach to aromatherapy.
It's no secret that aromatherapy candles are soothing and can add the right ambience to a room. Not only do scented candles help you achieve a deeper state of relaxation, but the flame can give you something to focus on if you aren't comfortable with shutting your eyes. For a truly delicious fragrance, get your hands on Jo Malone's nectarine blossom and honey candle.
Can't find the time or place to practice your meditation? Treansform
your usually stressful commute with the aid of one of many meditation
apps. Headspace teaches you the
basics of meditation - all you have to do is commit just 10 minutes of
your day. It also has a buddy system so you can motivate your friends
and sends reminders to help you stay on track.
Thought colouring books were just for children? Over the past year,
sales of adult colouring books have skyrocketed and show no signs of
abating. Specifically designed to help you de-stress by focusing on
intricate patterns and using your imagination with colour, they are fast
becoming THE way to unwind after a long day. Grab a set of pens and
have a go with bestseller Secret Garden by Johanna Basford.
Although some people like to meditate in silence, it can be intimidating
for first-timers. Whether you're at home or stuck on public transport,
playing ambient music can help to induce a state of relaxation. Although
you can meditate to listening to anything, slow, wordless music is best
to calm your thoughts. For a soothing soundtrack to your meditation, we
recommend the Ambient Zone 2 CD.
Zen gardens have long been a traditional technique to achieve a calm mind. The act of raking through the sand helps with concentration and meditation. But it's not just for the outdoors - you can now get your own indoor version with this Mini Kit, £5.39, which includes a booklet a sand tray. It's the perfect size to set up at your desk for when you need a few minutes of calm.