"When you're a kid, you lay in the grass and watch the clouds going over, and you don't have a thought in your mind. It's purely meditation, and we lose that."
- Dick Van Dyke
A fitting quote for World Meditation Day.
When the world around you is shrouded in madness, and you can't quite seem to find a moment of peace in the storm of the day, it time to step back and remember those blissful moments as a child where we merely lost ourselves without a care in the world.
It doesn't matter whether you've been meditating for years or have never done it before, in the madness of COVID-19 world, it's an excellent time to simply clear our minds, remembering that we are people first and workers second. Meditation doesn't have to take up much of time either. One minute a day spent in stillness can change your life.
Try this simple Gratitude Meditation – each morning when you wake, stretch your arms and think of one thing you are grateful to have. Next, stretch your legs and think of one person you are grateful to know. Finally, stretch your whole body and think of one thing you are looking forward to today. This meditation keeps you grounded in the here and now.
And here are some other simple ideas to add more stillness into your life …
Life in Flow
(Based on Life in Flow by Kate Kendall)
Slowing down has a wealth of benefits for the mind, body and soul. Here are top tips for boosting health and happiness wherever you are.
In the simplest terms, grounding is a sense of slowing down and being 'in your body'. It teaches us to savour the moment and to live life fully. And, when we live at this pace and in this state, we're less reactive and more clear-headed, calm and creative. Grounding is a process of connecting with the earth. Being grounded can soothe us and free us from stress and anxiety. It's the foundation of any mindfulness or meditation practice, and perhaps one of the most under-trained skills we have in modern society.
Try it for yourself … Wherever you are, take a moment to gaze at a point in front of you softly, or close your eyes, rest one hand on your abdomen and place the other just above. Take a generous but gentle breath in, feeling your hands lift, and take a long slow breath out, feeling your hands drop. Repeat as many times as necessary. Remind yourself you are exactly where you are meant to be.
Move your Body
When was the last time you worked out, practised yoga or went on a brisk walk and regretted it? Never, right? Often, the times when we're feeling most scattered, vague or disconnected are when we need to move our bodies the most.
Try it for yourself … Your activity of choice can be anything that encourages you to be more physical than usual. Before you begin, acknowledge whatever it is that might be frustrating you or dragging you down. And if you can't work out what it is, then acknowledge the uncertainty. Dedicate your activity to releasing whatever it is you are feeling. Take a moment afterwards to notice how you feel. Check-in with the aliveness of your body; the beat of your heart, the temperature of your skin, the flickers and pulses of sensations within.
Make a date with nature
Spend an hour outside, and you'll immediately feel the benefits. Spend a week, and you'll remember what it feels like to be in harmony with nature. We spend so much time indoors, at a desk, that it can have a detrimental effect on our health. We all know this, yet so often we wait until we are on holiday, or enjoying a special occasion, to properly immerse ourselves in the great outdoors.
Try it for yourself … Get outside and breathe. Look at the trees, listen to the water falling or moving, and watch the birds. Remember your connection to all of it. Close your eyes and let your awareness fall to the soles of your feet. Feel all four corners of your feet firmly press down into the earth, as if you're sinking a few centimetres below. Take three or four relaxed breaths.
Why should we practice gratitude? Put simply, what we appreciate, appreciates; what we give thanks for generates more of the energy of that thing we're appreciating. Research has shown that expressing daily gratitude can increase our happiness levels up to 23 percent. So, if you're feeling down or can't seem to shift a mood, find something to be grateful for. It can be anything from your coffee to your cat!
Try it for yourself … Start a gratitude list. At first, this might seemed forced, or like you're struggling to find things to be grateful for, but after you spend some time writing down whatever springs to mind, it will become easier. It doesn't matter how big or small the things you write down are – it all counts.
Learn to be calm, and you will always be happy
Meditation is a practice that will give you relief, create connection, as well as beneficial habits and feelings, such as managing stress and the health issues stress creates. It also helped me find a positive outlook, nurture healthy sleep patterns and even develop increased pain tolerance. And now, in my beginner's masterclass, you can learn how to reduce the overwhelm, relax your mind and body, and find your own mental and physical oasis in under 10 minutes a day.