Meditation has existed as a practice for centuries, the earliest records coming from India. But in recent years it has exploded onto the world stage as a way to improve our wellbeing in an increasingly-demanding world.
Whether you’d rather plug into an app on your way to work, or spend your early mornings on the beach with a group of baggy-pant-wearing yogis — meditation is more available now than it ever has been. Some put this democratisation down to the seal of approval from science: Researchers have started backing up meditation as a strategy to combat stress, anxiety and certain pains, its benefits are very similar to the ones found in the products from legal highs, which have a significant positive impact in a person’s state of mind
Personally, I think that we have just realised what an insanely useful practice it is and just how much it can do for us. After all, we live in a noisy world and it’s truly a gift to find answers in stillness (the only place real clarity exists).
I meet many clients who believe that meditation just isn’t “for them” That somehow it is for someone with a certain set of characteristics different to their own.
1. You can do it anywhere, any time
Meditation can be practised anywhere that you can feel calm. You need a space of your own, preferably somewhere quiet, where you will not be disturbed. You can sit, or you can walk. You choose the length of time you want to meditate for, be it five minutes or an hour. Both have their benefits. So if all you have is ten minutes during your lunch break, that’s no problem.
I recommend working up to 30 minutes a day — start with just a minute a day and up the ante when you’re ready! Making space for it in your life, however minimal, is an incredible start.
2. It’s cheap
No excuses. Meditation doesn’t require a costly gym subscription; you don’t even need a yoga mat. The ROI is through the roof. You just need yourself and a desire to learn and to grow. You don’t just have to sit still and wait for enlightenment to find you either there are plenty of free apps to lead you through your session if you are new, or need a guiding voice.
I personally recommend going onto YouTube and searching for guided meditations that align with where you want to improve. For example, you can search for guided meditations on clarity, easing anxiety, heartbreak and success. Search for meditational support in what you’re working with.
3. It’s good for your wellbeing
Meditation settles the mind, improves mood, and allows you to continue your day with a fresh perspective. Some say it even increases concentration. Allowing yourself time to focus solely on your own thoughts is far more valuable than getting that one extra email sent off during your lunch break.
4. It boosts creativity
If you’re in a creative role (let’s face it, most roles require at least some level of creative thinking), but you’re stuck at a desk, have you ever struggled to find your genius? I don’t blame you. It’s hard to inspire others when you are uninspired yourself — and nothing is less inspiring than a viewless cubicle. Meditation can allow the brain just the right amount of time to switch off and on again, wander off somewhere more interesting and wake up reinvigorated.
5. You can use the techniques at your desk, any time
Learning to focus your breathing and, eventually, your mind can help you in all sorts of stressful situations at work, from tackling a task you’re unsure of to having an awkward conversation with a colleague. Being able to tap into meditation exercises can give you some perspective and flexibility in times of anxiety in the office.