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Meditation has become more popular with more people giving it a go, and why not, it really is an incredibly powerful tool: It can increase stillness, mindfulness, promote clarity and lead to us experiencing more happiness. We have previously shared a simple breathing meditation with you before which is designed to be completed on your own and really is a great introduction to what meditation is about. Meditating on your own is such an essential part of a complete practise. But it can require considerable effort to try doing this, and sometimes people find a guided meditation more helpful and useful.
A guided meditation is where a teacher will gently guide you through the practice, which can be invaluable when we are getting started. Our mind tends to constantly wander to begin with (in fact even when we are more experienced we can still have practises where our mind has been extremely busy), but with the clear instructions from a teacher it can help to bring us back to the present moment, let go of our thoughts and not be so hard on ourselves. I have been using LSW guided meditations recently and absolutely love them.
What is meditation?
Before we get going, it is a good idea for us to understand exactly what meditation is. Quite simply meditation to the mind is what exercise is to the body: A training session. It promotes mental concentration and relaxation. Throughout the day our minds are constantly wandering, whether it be in to the future worrying about what’s to come or perhaps excited about things ahead, or back to the past regretting things that have happened or reminiscing on the good times. Either way, these pull us out of the present, and often result in anxiety, stress and a general uneasy feeling. Meditation helps us to come back to the present and brings about calmness, kindness and a sense of peace.
People often think that meditation is religious, but that isn’t the case at all. It can be used by anyone at any time. As David Gelle says in the New York Times “Though mindfulness meditation was inspired by Buddhist practices, today it is available as a wholly secular practice that emphasizes stress reduction, the cultivation of focus and the development of tranquility.”
Meditation is one of the best tools that we have to help balance our emotions, deal with psychological stress, and find the tranquility of the now.
- Find your spot – The key is to find somewhere where there are no distractions. So make sure the children can’t get to you (providing somebody is available to look after them), the dog can’t run in half-way through or you can’t be interrupted by the phone ringing or somebody who needs to enter the room. The great thing is that you don’t need any specialised equipment, just an area that is comfortable for you and you enjoy going to.
- Pick your time – By establishing a set time when you are going to meditate in the day, it really helps to create a routine. You will find that you are much more likely to follow it through having thought about when it can realistically fit in to your day.
- Know that it’s normal for your mind to wander – The idea behind meditation isn’t to stop thinking, despite what many think. It is about recognising that you have been distracted by a thought and gently bringing the attention back to the present. So expect the mind to wander, it happens to even the most experienced of meditators.
Mindfulness and Meditation
You often hear these words together, but are they the same thing and what do they mean?
Ms. Brach explains it quite simply: “Mindfulness is your awareness of what’s going on in the present moment without any judgment. Meditation is the training of attention which cultivates that mindfulness.”
There are different types of meditation, and mindfulness meditation is one of those. This is the practice of bringing ourselves back to the present, with the idea being that we then use this outside of our practice to be more present in our daily life.
Benefits of guided meditation
Guided meditation is a great starting point for beginners. Meditation is about constantly bringing the mind back to the present, and with our constant demands of full-on every day life these days, having somebody to gently bring us back when our minds inevitably wander off every few seconds can be encouraging for us to continue.
Having a guide during meditation will provide direction, and take away any additional thoughts required. It allows you to fully focus on what you are trying to do.
Having a voice to follow can be a great distraction from other intruding thoughts.
People who practice meditation also report lower levels of stress and anxiety, as well as depression.
Research has shown that guided digital meditations can be just as effective as in-person meditation classes for some people. Having a meditation on hand that is so readily available can significantly increase the chance of creating a successful and consistent practice.
LSW guided meditations
Lili Sinclair-Williams provides 4 beautiful guided meditations.
In Just 10 minutes, you can expect to be guided through an incredible meditation designed to encourage you to focus on the positive aspects in your life, and culture a sense of gratitude as you go throughout each and every day.
As Lili says “Gratitude doesn’t have to be saved up for the big events in life, it is something you can practice everyday. In fact, the more you begin to notice and be thankful for the small stuff, the more you are likely to begin to look out for things which bring you positivity. It’s time to learn to dwell on the good.”
This meditation will certainly allow you to do exactly that.
You can expect within this 10 minutes to focus on what you truly want in life, and it will allow you to consider the possibility of living a life that is fulfilling and exactly as you want.
As Lili explains. “Setting aside time to reflect on what is important to you can be a great way to discover more about yourself and your values and ensure that you are on track to being the best version of you. Reflecting on the words of others can be a great way to question ourselves and our beliefs, why we hold certain beliefs and whether the beliefs keep us in protection mode or allow us to grow. So let’s dig a little deeper into what reflection can bring us.”
What better way to do that than in a meditation
As we explained in our post about self care, taking some time out on a daily basis is so key to keep you fresh, calm, energised and focused. This meditation goes perfectly with that approach.
Turn to this 10 minutes of de-stressing at the end of a day. It is designed to allow you to put the day behind you and not carry those stresses with you in to the next one.
Lili explains that “Rituals are a fantastic way to boost happiness and create a grounded, calming sense of being in the world. Creating rituals out of positive habits can help us become more present, create more awareness and more appreciation for what we love.”
You can currently get the relaxation meditation free of charge until Monday 25th May with this link.
There is no better time to start
Hopefully we have done a great job of outlining the benefits to you of practising in regular meditation and how to go about getting started, so whether you decide giving it a go on your own or trying the guided meditations is the way forward we hope that you are not able to take that step towards a regular practice.
Perhaps you have already set up a regular meditation, or you have tried and struggled? Let us know your thoughts, as we would love to discuss them (we can talk meditation all day… when we are not doing it of course!)