Let me start by asking you a question.
Have you ever had a busy mind?
I mean really busy, one or more thoughts whirling around in your head, obsessing, like your mind has been taken over by those thoughts and, as a result, you’re not able to think about anything else? You just can’t stop the thoughts, get them out of your head or change them, it’s like they have a mind or a will of their own! They even stop you from sleeping.
It’s a bit like your computer – now bear with me on this… You know when your computer is stuck, it’s frozen, you have the wheel of death spinning endlessly in front of you and your computer has completely stopped responding, you’ve been and made a cup of tea, and still no joy… You know that situation, right?
The only solution is to reboot! And OMG – you haven’t saved that document! But you know the only thing to do is turn it off and turn it on again.
And then when it comes back on it starts working like a dream – smooth, fast and sometimes it even remembers and recovers those recent changes you’ve made, and suddenly life is so sweet! Ahhhh.
Well, that is exactly what meditation can do for the mind. Yes – meditation! It can reboot, refresh and revitalise your thinking, your feeling and your sanity. And it even alters the activity of genes linked to stress, mood and ageing.
Now even though I’m sure you will have heard of meditation before – many people are not exactly clear what it is or what it’s for.
So, what is meditation?
Meditation is an ancient practice that helps to control your mind. It’s an effective way to calm your mind, relax your body and recharge your batteries.
I did a quick search for research and statistics on meditation online, and I was very pleasantly surprised to find that there is a huge amount of research going on in the US and in the UK. Professor Williams from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) stated that: “There’s encouraging evidence for its use in health, education, prisons and workplaces, but it’s important to realise that research is still going on in all of these fields. Once we have the results, we’ll be able to see more clearly who meditation is most helpful for.”
What is also very clear is that according to recent statistics the number of people who are meditating every day is increasing.
Why is it so popular?
Well, maybe because it’s free! But actually, I think it’s more likely because it works and it’s so powerful! If we make a habit of meditating, we feel mentally fresh and we are able to deal with difficult situations more easily. And once you have had a taste, an experience of the power of it you don’t want to stop.
To meditate is another way of saying to pray – however, it’s not necessary to be a Buddhist, Hindu or practice any religion, in fact, meditation has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with how you feel. Meditation can be practised by anyone, everywhere, and is extremely beneficial at reducing stress and it helps you feel happier.
How does it work?
In order to find your why there are three key steps and the first is AWARENESS – Learning how to understand who you are, where you are right now, what serves you and what needs to change to maximise your results in life.
On our Find Your WHY Retreats, in the Online Training and within the Membership group, we love using meditation as one of the techniques for helping our tribe of WHYs women, and WHYs men, it helps transcend their blocks and find their WHY.
There are many ways to meditate and it can mean something slightly different to each individual, but essentially meditation is about bringing your awareness inside yourself, it’s a state of consciousness (a way to use the mind) to look within. Now, if you are new to meditation this will not make any sense to you – so let me give you one of my favourite ways to start.
- As you are breathing in and out – right now, just begin to notice your breath, is your inhale longer or shorter than your exhale?
- Are you breathing through the nose or the mouth?
- And just keep noticing the inhale going in and the exhale coming out for the next 3 breaths… Noticing if you’re inhaling longer or shorter than your exhale?
There are lots of different ways to practice, some involve the breath, some involve sound, with others you can watch thoughts or notice sensations in the body.
So as a basic understanding, meditation is a way to go deeper within yourself, focusing the mind and eliminating outside influences which will encourage and allow a state of calm, peace and tranquillity.
A very wise woman named Oprah said that “If you peel back the layers of your life- the frenzy, the noise- stillness is waiting. That stillness is you!”
We believe that meditation can considerably enhance your health, your happiness, your life, enabling you to come more aware of yourself, allowing you to witness how and why you respond to certain things, noticing the beauty in your environment, having a deeper appreciation for yourself and the people around you, and reminding you to be present.
- Yesterday is history
- Tomorrow is a mystery
- Today is your gift – that why it’s called the present!
Meditation is becoming very popular and the research is proving that it has so many benefits, below are just a few that we have witnessed and people who have trained with us and been on our retreats have gained:
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- A decrease in pain and physical symptoms
- Deeper and more restful sleep
- Feelings of peace and tranquillity
- A deep sense of relaxation
- Increased concentration
- A more open mind
- An increase in creativity
- Energy and enthusiasm for life
- More balanced emotions
- More connection to self and to others
- Feeling more grounded
- A longer attention span and greater focus
- Less inner chatter
- More self-awareness
This is not an exhaustive list, so I am sure it is clear why we love meditation so much!
The medical evidence is so compelling too.
In June 2017, a Coventry University study recorded results and has data from more than 17 other studies, involving over 845 participants, revealing a pattern of molecular changes in the body that benefits mental and physical health. It has been revealed that meditation actually alters the activity of genes linked to stress, ageing and depression.
A gene-regulating stress molecule called nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB) which is involved in switching on a “fight or flight” response to stress which over time can increase the risk of cancer accelerated ageing, and mental disorders such as depression. Researchers examined the evidence for mind-body interventions (MBIs) such as meditation, yoga and Tai Chi, affecting DNA. People who practice meditation and other MBIs lower their production of kappa B and the stress effects it triggers, the scientists found.
Lead investigator Ivana Buric, from the Brain, Belief and Behaviour Laboratory at Coventry University, said: “Millions of people around the world already enjoy the health benefits of mind-body interventions like yoga or meditation, but what they perhaps don’t realise is that these benefits begin at a molecular level and can change the way our genetic code goes about its business. These activities are leaving what we call a molecular signature in our cells, which reverses the effect that stress or anxiety would have on the body by changing how our genes are expressed.
“Put simply, MBIs cause the brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our wellbeing.” This research is published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology.
When we begin to live in a more conscious state – we become the observers and creators of our own lives.
If you would like to find out more about meditation, our online programs, our WHY’s woman community or how you can benefit from coming on one of our Retreats, then please get in touch, we would love to hear from you!