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4 Meditations That Will Elevate Your Life And Help You Celebrate World Meditation Day



4 Meditations That Will Elevate Your Life And Help You Celebrate World Meditation Day

World Meditation Day this year is on Friday 21st May and aims to highlight the benefits of regular mediation to our health and wellbeing. Perhaps this year more than ever before, we’re in need of something that calms us, helps to reduce anxiety and stress and makes us feel more connected. The coronavirus pandemic has meant loneliness, upset, worry, mental anguish, loss and grief on so many levels.

Meditation has been a significant part of many religions including Buddhism and Hinduism for many centuries and has been practised for generations. Despite it being associated with spirituality, it doesn’t have to have any spiritual or religious connotations. Anyone can practice meditation and benefit from it. 

The practice of meditation aims to “encourage a heightened stat of awareness and focussed attention”. In other words, it helps us feel more connected to the present moment, helping to alleviate stress over past events and worry over future events. 

Mindfulness is a type of meditation that encourages us to pause and listen inwardly to our body or outwardly to the sounds around us. Another type of mediation is concentrative meditation, that encourages us to focus our attention on a certain object.

Here’s four meditative practices that you can try today:

  1. Mindfulness takes on many forms, but a guided mindfulness session using an app such as Headspace or Calm will help you to perfect your technique. There are many free mindfulness apps and audiobooks available for beginners. The idea isn’t to completely empty your mind of all thoughts, as that’s near on impossible. Instead, the idea is to focus on your breath, and as thoughts come and go, allow them to pass through, and return your attention to your breath. Guided mediations will gently and regularly remind you to refocus your attention, and with practice, you may notice that your mind becomes quieter.
  2. Performing a full body scan, again using a guiding app or audiobook is another type of mindful meditation that will help you feel connected to your body. You’ll be guided through focussing your attention on one part of your body at a time, from the top of your head to your feet noticing how each part feels. Notice how warm or cold each part feels, if there’s any pain, discomfort or tenseness there and how it feels connected to you. It’s incredibly relaxing and many find it easy to have something to focus on that draws attention away from other thoughts. 
  3. A type of concentrative mediation is one where you eat mindfully. Often, this involves just one mouthful of food, such as chocolate, where you hold it in your mouth, concentrating on its texture and aroma, as well as its taste. Then, when you swallow, you’ll be encouraged to focus on how it feels going down into your stomach.
  4. Listening mediation involves simply pausing at any point during the day, closing your eyes and listening to whatever is happening around you. This can be at your desk, on public transport, sitting on a park bench or just before you fall asleep. It can be helpful to set a reminder or to have a note stuck somewhere (anywhere from your laptop to your downstairs toilet!) to remind you. Listen out for birdsong, city hustle bustle, the hum of the fridge or faraway traffic. Whatever it is, it’s happening right here, right now. And you’re mindfully listening to and appreciating it.

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