Some time during January of this year, when my exam stress was beginning to rear its very ugly head (4 months early – nice one, anxiety), I began taking meditation classes at a local Buddhist centre. Each session would focus on a different topic, covering everything from happiness and love, to death and reincarnation.
At first, I found that sitting still on the floor whilst concentrating on the coolness of the air entering my nostrils was (understandably) fairly alien to me. After a few weeks though, I really started to enjoy each session. I was slowly becoming calmer, kinder and more thoughtful.
Since finishing the classes, I continue to meditate whenever I can, even if I only manage to do it a few times a week. Although I still have a long way to go and lots more to learn, mindfulness has greatly improved my outlook on life, and eased my anxiety.
Whether you’re already into meditation or are thinking of taking it up, I’ve put together a few little tips for you to make the most out of your meditating experience:
- Space – It’s important that you find a peaceful place in which you feel comfortable to practice meditation. For some people, this may be in a bedroom or living room, for others this may be outside in a garden with nature.
- Atmosphere – Creating a relaxed atmosphere will help you concentrate. Experiment with what works for you; do you work better in total silence, or do you prefer a little background noise, like gentle music? You may even want to light candles or incense sticks.
- Apps – With the rise in popularity of mindfulness and meditation, numerous apps have been created, such as Headspace and Calm. My personal favourite, however, is the Stop, Breathe & Think app, which allows you to track your emotions before and after a meditation.
- Time – Meditation does require dedication (look at me go, I’m a poet). Find a time in your day, like after breakfast or before you go to bed, to fit in your meditation – even it is only 5 minutes.
- Focus – It can really help to have a specific goal in mind before you start meditating; it could be long term (like: by practicing mindfulness I want to become a more grateful person) or short term, a goal for the day.
What helps you to focus? Has meditation/mindfulness helped you in any way?