What is meditation? It’s a deep relaxation method that stills the mind and stops the constant chatter in your head. When this internal dialogue ceases the mind settles. Because the mind and the body are so closely related, when the mind is still, the body can begin to relax too.
Quite simply: meditation gives you peace of mind. This is why long-term meditators have a reputation for being such relaxed people!
Research has shown the rest we get during meditation is actually much deeper than the rest gained in sleep (20 minutes of meditation can be equivalent to 7 hours’ shut-eye). And we all know how much a good night’s sleep – or lack thereof – can affect our performance at work and at home.
So why meditate? Meditation has more benefits than most people realise. It lowers blood pressure, strengthens the immune system, reduces stress toxins in your body and brings peace, relaxation and happiness into everyday life.
This relaxation response is why those at the highest levels of corporate success are taking time to meditate, reducing stress levels and improving overall wellbeing.
So how can I meditate? Here’s a quick how-to guide:
The most important thing with meditation is to be comfortable. You don’t want to be sitting for 20 minutes thinking that your legs, arms or bottom is hurting. This will prevent you from meditating. It is best to sit in an upright position with good back support.
Begin by closing your eyes and start repeating the mantra ‘OM’ or ‘So-Hum” silently to yourself. When you notice thoughts popping up in your head, gently go back to repeating your mantra to help them drift away.
Feel the benefits
After 20 minutes, stop repeating your mantra and take a few moments before slowly opening your eyes. You will find your body and your breathing will have slowed down. And you will feel more relaxed, calm and energised.
Carolyne Gowen is the founder of Still Your Mind and runs both corporate and personal meditation workshops.
This article first appeared on ‘Courier Mail’ on 28 November 2013.