Meditation in Motion
Stress is one of the most common presenting issues in clinic. While we are not being chased down by the beasts we once were in Neanderthal days we are still reacting to our daily (sometimes hourly) stresses the same way. Prolonged stress can lead us to not only being “unpleasant” to be around as we snap and crank at those who come in striking distance, but it can also have a long-term impact on our health (see previous blogs for more information).
Studies have shown to help combat stress (apart from relocating to a deserted island for that never-ending holiday) meditation is effective at helping to calm and relax and reduce the ever so trouble-some stress hormones.
So, what is meditation? meditation is defined as a continued or extended thought or reflection (contemplation) however, this doesn’t mean that you are sitting for prolonged periods of time under the nearest boab tree in the search for inner peace. Meditation can take many forms and is as individual as each of us.
One of the best and most common forms of meditation involves sitting quietly and still, listening, focusing on your breath for a set (even short) periods of time. The length of time a someone can do this is very individual, however due to our fast-paced society if your brain is like mine I find this simple practice difficult as thoughts over run brain interrupting my “inner peace”. What am I going to cook for dinner? Should I ring Beth? Did I put the dog outside? I wonder what my year 2 teacher is doing now? Oh, I really like that shirt Tammy was wearing today? When was the phone bill due again? I wonder how the kids went on their test? I like to use my meditation time to escape my thoughts, not have all of them try and invade all at once :) .
To overcome my brain’s hyperactivity, I like to use guided meditations. This means that my thoughts are not free to wonder off on their own like an unsupervised child in a toy store, they are guided down a path towards the calm and the light of inner peace. There is a world of resources (including 1000’s of free ones) on the internet. Apps like smiling mind or head space can help you with guided meditations allowing you to have it on your phone and do it almost anywhere or check out BodyMastery's Facebook page for their Facebook Live meditations (https://www.facebook.com/BodyMasteryLove/). A quick search on YouTube will also provide you with a wealth of options in not only in length but also style and meditation purpose. Have a go, try a few out. It can take a while to find the correct one for you, I know people who are very selective with this – the music and importantly the voice needs to resonate with you.
Mindfulness is also an important concept of meditation. Be in the moment, focusing on what you are doing now instead of past or future worries. Recently stepping outside of my comfort zone, I embarked upon a couple of art workshops. I found myself becoming absorbed into my art work and focusing my energy and attention on the brush strokes, the way the colours were spreading on the canvas. I was present in the moment and forgot all other things which were happening outside the studio. Finding the overall experience calming and relaxing. With the adult colouring book craze upon us, it is testament to the soothing action of retreating to your pillow fort and colouring away your stresses (if only for a short while).
Still doesn’t sound like your cup of tea? What about exercise as a form of meditation? Whether you’re out pounding the pavement, burning the rubber on your bike or striding out in the surf, if it focuses you on the now and not the what ifs, you maybe meditating and not even know it! On a recent adventure with some mates we were out learning to Stand Up Paddle board we were laughing and learning, and I heard one of the girl’s comment “Wow that was great – I haven’t thought about anything else or the last hour and a half” – total meditation in motion.
Find what works for you. Mix it up, but bringing meditation into your life as part of a daily or weekly practice can help boost your mood and mental state, and maybe, just maybe help change your outlook on the world.
Keep calm and find out what works for you.
PS If you're looking for other ways to help manage your stress the Let's Talk About Stress workshop is on this Saturday (9.9.2017). Learn about stress and how it effects your body and using BodyMastery techniques identify what your body needs for nourishment when stressed. Numbers are limited for this workshop so book you space now Eventbrite -Let's Talk About Stress (https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/lets-talk-about-stress-tickets-36994698138?aff=es2).