Meditation – Get This Great Practice In Your Life Now
Meditation is the single biggest thing that I credit with my overall wellbeing. It is also the one thing that meets the most resistance from clients when I suggest it. If you have never tried mediation, I promise there are no robes or chanting involved. And even if you have tried it and given up, this video is for you too.
Have a watch, or read what I say as a transcript below the video. Then please have another go at meditation and let me know how you get on.
Hi, my name is Gordon McCrorie and I’m The Happiness Guy. This is a video all about meditation: what it is, what it isn’t and what it’s useful for.
I also want to dispel some of the myths and hopefully help you get something out of meditating.
Meditation in The Western World
It’s really interesting to me that meditation meets more resistance than any other concept I put in front of clients. Perhaps meditation is simply something we just don’t quite know what it is, but it doesn’t seem like US! I think we think of it as robes and chanting and incense and monks and all of that. And it can be that, however for most people in the western world it’s absolutely nothing like that.
So why am I shooting a video on meditation? I credit meditation with my mental wellbeing which is massively important for my emotional and physical wellbeing.
I will mention mental and emotional wellbeing a little bit more. When my emotional and mental wellbeing is good and my physical wellbeing is good, then I have a really good chance of having a great life. So when I look at all of the things I have got going on in my life, the different practices that I have for my health and my wellbeing; and just having a great life; then believe it or not I credit meditation with probably being the most important thing that I do on a day-to-day basis.
It helps me have a great life, so it’s a really big deal. Let’s talk a little bit about meditation starting with what it isn’t.
Not to Stop Thinking
Firstly, when people think about meditation, often the first thing they think is that mediation is about stopping thinking. Invariably, people sit down to try and meditate and try and stop thinking. They give it 5 to 10 seconds and the first thing that happens is the brain just kind of throws a thought up seemingly from nowhere and so they try and stop that. And the more they do that the more thoughts they have and so they just stop doing it and they think: I’m rubbish at this meditation malarkey – I’m not any good at this and we all know what most of us do when we aren’t good at something – we stop as soon as we can and decide we are rubbish at it and it isn’t for us!
Your Brain is Really Busy
Actually, what you should take from a brian that keeps generating thoughts is that your brain is actually just really busy. The busier it is, ironically, the more you need meditation. Through the power of practising meditation we really slow the quantity of your thoughts and can create a kind of space.
So the first point is that meditation is not about stopping your thinking.
Taking Some Time
Instead it is more about an opportunity to take a little bit of time, have a little bit of silence, breathe a little bit more deeply …. And slow down.
One of the very basic techniques for meditation is just to sit in silence and pay attention to your breathing and try to focus on your breathing. That might seem like a rather pointless exercise and you might ask yourself why bother? Actually one of the key things about meditation is that meditation is how we train our focus and attention.
When we tell someone to “pay attention” or “focus” almost nobody really knows how to do tha. Typically this instruction is like saying to a drowning man (who doesn’t know how to swim) just swim!
Meditation is the Answer
Meditation is the answer. Your mind is busy and an untrained mind is naturally going to drift onto different things all the time. The way to get much better at staying on-point and controlling your focus is the practice of meditation.
We often have negative unhelpful thoughts that cause negative unpleasant emotions which spiral to another really negative thought and before you know it you are having a terrible day all because you can’t control your own mind.
Control Your Mind
If you are not in control of your mind – and most people aren’t – then your mind is in control of you. This creates a lot of pain and distress because of the quality of your thoughts. So for me, meditation has allowed me to train and control my focus so that when it goes into an area that I really don’t want it to be in, I can bring it back on to something that is far more useful for me.
Another thing that I do with meditation is I will just ask myself a question. At the beginning of the meditation I ask myself:
How am I feeling, physically, mentally and emotionally?
This question helps create a connection with yourself and helps you develop a good relationship with yourself.
Imagine if you met a friend, you’d really want to know how they are. In the same way I ask myself how I am feeling physically: have I got any pain, do you recognise any tension, am I well rested, am I energised? I assess where I’m at physically.
Then mentally I assess how busy is my mind, is it relentless? So if the answer is yes then I need to slow down, I need to maybe schedule some more time between sessions, maybe I need to get out in nature. I need to do something that slows my brain down a little bit. It could be maybe I just need to write everything down and get it out of me that way. But also what I’m thinking about mentally ties to my emotions. So I examine the quantity and quality of my thoughts.
On the positive side doing the above is a chance to check I’m on track and to check emotionally how I’m feeling. Am I feeling connected, am I feeling loved and happy? Or is there some kind of friction inside, am I stressed or am I calm?
Helping You to Take Care of Yourself
Meditation is a brilliant use of time when we can actually just take a few minutes (and it can be as little as a minute or two) and sit and think about where am I at? The answer from that question could be one single thing you could do that would help you feel better physically, mentally and emotionally. Then we can go and do that thing, thus taking care of ourselves.
The other really important thing about meditation is that we are very much overstimulated. There is far too much input to our minds; stimulus stimulus stimulus!
The Science of Meditation
There are just so many things flooding in and that creates structural changes in our brain.
There’s an area of our brain called the Amygdala which is our “threat centre”. With a constant onslaught of stimulus and thinking, it becomes overdeveloped (it physically grows in size) and starts to control the mind and exert a negative influence on thinking. This causes cortisol to be released (often causing anxiety and leaving us feeling exhausted). If you want to learn more about the science, there is a short video about that here.
Meditation is the one thing that we know of that can clinically shrink the size of the amygdala back to size and it will cut the chords the amygdala used to control us and help put you back in control of your thinking.
Peace and Calm
There are so many good things about meditation. Remember it is not about stopping you thinking. The practice of mediation is about helping you feel better, think less, control your focus and take a little bit of time for yourself. It allows you to settle down and feel positive and at peace.
I hope this video has been useful for you, I’d love to know your thoughts on meditation and how you are getting on with it and if you think you need any help with anything that I’ve mentioned here don’t hesitate to get in touch.
I hope you’re well and I’ll speak to you again soon.