Life comes with its fair share of stress and anxiety, from money and career worries to relationships and a constant barrage of distractions through which to navigate. So it’s no wonder that many people seek the solace of psychotherapy to help sort through it all and see things more clearly.
meditation is all about bringing yourself into the present.
However, being present is easier said than done. For most of us, it’s downright difficult to simply sit quietly and not obsess over past regrets or future worries.
There are two primary reasons why the brain prefers to stay away from the present.
The first is that it’s new and unpredictable. Our various senses are picking up new stimuli every moment, which means our sensations are constantly changing from one moment to the next.
Second, when there’s something unpleasant, the brain returns to old, familiar thoughts. So, rather than deal with the scary, new, unpredictable present, it retreats to the reliable mental terrain of common anxieties.
When given a choice of activities to do with your free time, you might not think meditation sounds all that exciting. However, while it may not have the same reputation as mountain climbing or windsurfing, meditation is a way to live your life to the fullest
understand that meditation isn’t a separate experience or escape from the mundane realities of life. On the contrary, meditation is a way to fully engage with the present moment, even if it’s an unpleasant one
Nevertheless, meditation isn’t a way to build up walls that keep your obligations at bay. It’s a way of learning how to be present and in the moment – whether that moment is a difficult dispute with your partner or a wondrous view from the peak of a picturesque mountaintop.
Mindfulness is a useful form of meditation, but it’s best not to overdo it.
Whereas many forms of meditation involve focusing the mind on one thing, be it a mantra or a candle, mindfulness is about opening yourself up to all sensations while allowing them to pass and not fixating on any one thing.
Find a quiet spot to sit down, preferably early in the morning. Once you’re comfortable, focus your attention on one thing only. It can be the rhythm of your breathing or a sound, like a metronome
After counting a couple of sets of in-breaths and out-breaths, many people will find their thoughts straying to whatever is going on at work or with their loved ones – or their dinner plans.
A wandering mind is normal, especially early on – the important thing is to stick with it and calmly bring your attention back to the breathing. If it goes astray again, bring it back and keep doing this for a significant period. Beginners should start off with five- to ten-minute daily sessions and gradually expand over time to a full hour whenever possible
One of the unique benefits of meditation is that it allows you to take a closer look at your thought patterns and identify the recurring ones.
For example, as you meditate, you might notice that you’re often quite hard on yourself, with recurring thoughts that you’re not good enough, not getting enough done or other thoughts that generally reflect low self-esteem.
When you create a meditative gap, it gives you the chance to sit with the sadness, process the emotion, understand where it’s coming from and how to better react.
One of the best tools that meditation provides is how it can shift your focus and thereby pacify, or calm, an anxious mind.
analytical, and often anxious, mind is separate from our consciousness, which is how we experience the world around us.
Meditation provides a calm space to see the real motivations behind relationship conflicts.
If you’ve been in an argument with a loved one, you know how it can feel like a matter of life and death when you’re in the middle of it. But if you were to reflect on these arguments later on, you would probably see that many were blown out of proportion, with no real reason for such heated emotions.
Meditation can allow you to break free of long-held misconceptions.
Along with misplacing our anger toward a loved one, we also often have a tendency to think that someone is angry with us when they’re just in a bad mood or not thinking about us at all. And what’s really sad is that these misunderstandings can last for years.
There are a variety of ways to practice meditation, and each one has its benefits, but it is important to remember that none of these practices are about forgetting or avoiding life’s problems.