Meditation has been practised for thousands of years, in many cultures, all around the world.
There are numerous styles of meditation including guided, breath awareness, visualisation, focused, walking, body scanning, gratitude and chanting. Some techniques will resonate with you more than others, but all will help calm your mind, release stress and benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing.
Meditation gives you the opportunity to take time for yourself and slow down, to reconnect with your inner self and cultivate a sense of peace within. Most importantly, it helps develop a sense of self-compassion.
Evolutionary psychologists believe compassion is an integral part of what makes us human, and have identified an area of the brain known as the ‘care circuit’. When we develop self-compassion, we stimulate the care circuit, which helps regulate our emotions and create a deeper and more stable experience of wellbeing. As a result, our resilience is increased, and we are more able to show compassion to others.
Research also shows that practising meditation regularly reduces stress, decreases blood pressure and hypertension, lowers cholesterol levels, increases production of the anti-ageing hormone DHEA, improves immune function and decreases anxiety, depression and insomnia.
Meditation is not about clearing your mind, saying ‘om’ on repeat or sitting cross-legged for hours. It’s about practising self-compassion through sitting and connecting with your body, finding a style that works for you.
We believe it’s important to approach meditation with curiosity and playfulness. We’ll help you discover what works for you by sharing simple techniques you can easily incorporate into daily life.
Mindfulness and meditation are terms often seen or used together. On the surface, they appear interchangeable, but there are some clear differences between them. Ultimately, both teach us to be present in the current moment. With practice, this skill increases our overall levels of happiness.
You can read more about our approach to mindfulness here.
Gemma David is our meditation, mindfulness and sleep expert.
‘I was 23 the first time I did a meditation and I remember it well. Seated on the floor of my sunny sitting room in London, I followed the instructions in a book on the coffee table in front of me. I closed my eyes, and made myself aware of my breath coming in and out of my body, while I tried (unsuccessfully) to clear my mind. At the end, I was struck by the immediate sense of rest I felt simply by focusing on my breathing for around 5 minutes. I felt completely rejuvenated.
I have practised meditation regularly for 20 years, continually expanding my knowledge and techniques through studying and attending courses. It is a valuable and empowering tool that I regularly use in my acupuncture practice and offer my patients to enable and support their wellbeing journey.’
Later today, she’ll be sharing a simple meditation exercise you can practise at home, along with tips on integrating meditation into your everyday routine.
‘Meditation helps you access the deepest, strongest most powerful part of yourself and suddenly everything becomes possible.’ Patrice Gladwin
We have a very special guest on the blog this Friday. I recently had the honour of interviewing my meditation teacher, Patrice Gladwin. She has been practising and teaching transcendental meditation for 47 years and will be sharing her wisdom and wellbeing story with us all.
Love Lizzie xx