Mediation? You mean that odd chanting thing that Buddhist monks do when they say “om” over and over? Why in the world would I want to start involving myself in that? I have enough to worry about without having to change my religion, donning orange cloth and sitting cross-legged for hours on end!
If this sounds like what you thought about meditation before now, then don’t worry. You’re not alone! Meditation is actually a far simpler, more accessible and beneficial practice than you think, and it is certainly not a monopoly of the Buddhists, or any religious group. If you want to get into meditation, you need only look for a wellness centre in Melbourne, or even try your hand at it at home.
What Exactly is Meditation?
While meditation does feature heavily in some religious practices such as Buddhism, it’s actually a practice that even the non-spiritual and non-religious can enjoy and benefit from. To meditate is essentially to use techniques of greater mindfulness, breathing and bodily awareness to try and achieve a state of mental relaxation or focus.
There are many different approaches to meditation, and not all of them involve sitting cross-legged, either. Meditation can be done while seated in any comfortable or stable position, or even while lying down. Common techniques include closing one’s eyes, focusing on steady, rhythmic breathing, tensing and relaxing different parts of the body, and picturing certain scenes or images in one’s mind to achieve mental balance and relaxation.
As an idea, it has been shown to bring a number of benefits to those who try it.
Benefit 1: Relaxation
One of the most immediate benefits of meditation is its ability to relax us. By taking pause, closing our eyes, and just focusing on a simple breathing exercise for 1-2 minutes, one can achieve an amazing sense of relaxation and calm. It can be a very handy technique for those who are feeling tense, worried, nervous or perhaps just mentally “blocked”.
Benefit 2: Clears Blockages in the Mind
Have you ever been staring at a report or proposal you’re working on and the words you need just won’t come to you. This might lead you to distractions, causing you to further delay progress in your work. Taking a moment to relax, breathe, meditate and clear your mind of other thoughts can allow your mental juices to flow once more. It’s like a condensed night’s sleep, allowing you to process just enough information to let that blockage pass.
Benefit 3: Can Help Reduce Stress and Anxiety
A busy and stressful life can leave one feeling a great deal of anxiety from day to day. With so many things on the to-do list, it can just feel overwhelming, like an impossible task that will never get done. Meditation can help you focus on breaking down your mountains of stress and worry into manageable pieces that you can then work through methodically.
Benefit 4: Helps with Those Suffering from Sleep Loss
At nighttime, if you’re struggling to get to sleep, meditation can greatly benefit you as a method of relaxing your body and putting yourself into “sleep mode.” Simple techniques like methodically tensing and relaxing every part of your body as you lie in a comfortable position, while maintaining slow and steady breathing, can create just the right amount of relaxation to send you across the border into the land of nod.
Benefit 5: Can Help You Focus and Make Better Decisions
Finally, meditation as an exercise of focus and thinking also brings benefits to its practitioners. By clearing one’s mind, and spending a few moments in a more mindful state can make tough decisions seem easier, helping leaders, managers and others to make better and more effective choices.