I’ve always wanted it all: I wanted to enjoy everything the world has to offer, whilst also experiencing a full and healthy life, including being spiritually in touch. My life has all the hustle and bustle of our first world expectations: be a great mother/wife/daughter/sister, spend quality time with my friends, be a renowned psychologist, be as fit as possible, be calm, don’t react, have some fun, have some memorable nights out…. So… I have the busy job(s), the hectic family life, I enjoy the pleasures of life, and I exercise daily (sometimes twice!).
But this wasn’t giving me the allover calmness that I craved, the calmness that my body eventually told me I needed (when my immune system packed up). Enter MINDFULNESS MEDITATION. I found that by spending some time each day just focusing on my breath and establishing this as my ground-zero default state, I could live my (still busy) life with a certain balance, no matter what life threw at me, (mostly) without judgement. We are all with diverse personalities, temperaments, situations, and circumstances, all reacting differently to challenges in our lives. Stress is very much a large component of our lives too. There is much research that shows that stress lowers your immunity, affects your sleep, can make you put on weight or retain weight, even with your best efforts otherwise, can make you ruminate (think the same thought over and over), and can cause increased fatigue (and this is just to start with).
You may think that meditation is an exotic practice only connected with Eastern philosophies, or to do with sitting in a special posture with your hands arranged strangely, or maybe you think you can’t ‘do it’ properly. None of the above is true. Meditation is simply making a choice to focus your mind on something, and mindfulness meditation is learning how your mind and emotions work, and develop positive habits of mind, body and spirit. More formally it’s defined as: a mental state, experienced as a heightened sensory awareness of the present moment, free from judgement and reactivity; a deliberate sustained attentional focus on sensory processes. Mindfulness meditation can help you to develop your full potential as a human being – mentally, physically, spiritually.
Daily meditation practice can bring you all these benefits: more energy, assist weight management/loss, improve metabolism, healing and recovery, improve sleep, relieve pain, lower cholesterol, strengthen immunity, increase serotonin (feel-good hormone) and melatonin (sleep hormone) and decrease cortisol (stress hormone), boost endorphins, reduce rumination and negative thinking, reduce 1->100 reactivity……there is much more. Just 30mins per day of meditation can support and help you to reach your health goals.
Meditation is not mystical, otherworldly, inaccessible, or ‘too hard’. Meditation is very practical, easy to do, and is available to everyone, regardless of your experience or skill level. Meditation at Pinnacle Wellness applies to all levels of experience. We use our breath to focus on, as this is always with you, whenever and wherever you are. In our beautiful studio 2, I encourage participants to sit or lie in a comfortable position, and I guide them in a spoken meditation focusing on the breath, on white light visualisation, or on a pleasant journey. Many people fall asleep, and that’s ok, it’s often a pleasant side effect. And you don’t have to have a life-threatening illness to warrant meditation practice. Maybe you notice yourself rushing from one thing to the next, or maybe you get angry in traffic, or yell at your kids, or are irritated when people walk slowly in front of you! Maybe you sleep poorly, and always have ☹ Or maybe you are stressed with your workload or work environment.
The positive changes and benefits of daily meditation accumulate over time. You will notice changes in your daily activities, you will be able to focus better, gain time because you are less worried or bothered by intrusive thoughts, and you will likely sleep better. You may notice you don’t get sick as often, your headaches go away, you remember to drink more water. You feel calmer, your kids are happier, home life is easier, and people around notice positive changes in you and they tell you so. Your self-confidence may improve, and you may feel altogether happier.
Remember, health is not just about your body. And whilst I am a huge advocate of daily exercise (me = gym junkie, muscle addict), don’t forget about the health of your brain, mind and thinking, as these are often the drivers of stress, weight gain, sleep disturbances, relationship breakdowns, and ultimately mental and/or physical illness. Oh, and BTW, since I started meditating I’ve been free of illness, somewhat of a medical miracle it seems!
So, try meditation for a couple of weeks. See what happens. What have you got to lose? There’s so much to gain! (see above). Meditation will compliment your Fitness Program.
- Angelique Park, our Meditation Expert