Learning How to Meditate Saved My Life

how to meditate 

Written by Alan Anderson

 

 My recipe for success some years-ago was to keep working harder and harder.

If any setbacks arose, the plan was simple. Just work even harder and longer hours to overcome any challenge.

How to Meditate - wellness

The Health Spiral

It seems this was a bad plan!

In fact, without realizing it, I was on a path many resilience and health experts call the death spiral.

No, I am not joking, this is a real term. I nearly fell off my chair when I first heard it.

From their perspective, if your body and mind are not continuing to rejuvenate and repair themselves, then the opposite is happening.

This means your health is in decline. Often, like me, you don’t even see the very slow steady decline happening.

Part way down this death spiral, I had a life changing wake-up call.

I collapsed and was taken to hospital with an asthma attack.

Luckily, the doctors got me breathing again, but left me with a very clear choice.

If I did not learn to relax, sleep better and reduce the stress in my life, I would probably be dead within a few years.

Journey to Wellness

Obviously, I did not want to die.

If fact, I wanted to return to the success I had achieved previously. Also, I needed to recover my health and wellness.

Like many low points we experience in life, we do have a choice. We can allow the situation to overwhelm us, or we can look for a solution.

I chose the path back to wellness and success.

To achieve this, I spent the next few years determined to explore every technique that would improve my health. Also, I wanted to find ways to be productive without high levels of stress.

 How to Meditate -reduce stress

Transformation

‘You have within you right now, everything you need to deal with whatever the world can throw at you.’  Brian Tracy

The most profound technique I found to transform my life was through learning meditation.

Meditation is now one of the most widely researched stress reduction and health improvement tools. In fact, over 300 university research studies have measured a wide range of health benefits.

Here are just a few of these well-researched health benefits that I experienced when I learned how to meditate.

  • Stress– Meditation is one of the most widely researched and proven techniques to reduce stress as well as reducing the occurrence of many stress related illnesses.
  • Brain Function– Meditation creates improved brain function.
  • Concentration– When I meditate regularly I find that I can concentrate and focus for longer periods without any stress. This is called the state of flow or peak mental performance which is a very powerful and creative state.
  • Aging– A high stress life style can increase the rate of biological aging. Conversely meditation reduces the impact of stress on your mind and body. That’s why long term meditation tends to have slow the aging process.
  • Creativity– Most people who meditate find that their levels of creativity increase because functioning of the two hemispheres of the brain are balanced.
  • Energy Regulation– Many who meditate report that their energy regulation and capacity is improved, which means the highs and lows of a normally stressful day are evened out leaving you with a steady supply of energy.

How to Meditate -what is it?

What is it?

Meditation at its root is very simple and is all about calming the mind and body.

In simple terms, meditation neutralizes the neuro-chemicals and hormones that stress our mind and body.

In fact, the stress response is replaced by the opposite response called the deep relaxation response.

Also, when we learn how to meditate, we stay completely alert. Also, with practice the mind and body become calm and more focussed.

If you imagine your mind is like a stormy sea, meditation allows you to bring deep and focused calm to the stormy waters of your mind.

It is when we can create this calm focus that the natural space for health and well-being is created.

How to Meditate -calm

Learn How to Meditate – 4 Simple Steps

You can begin your journey to improved health right now.

Below is my simple five step breath meditation. I developed this for friends and colleagues who wanted to achieve the health benefits they saw happening for me.

Try it out for yourself.

1) How to Meditate – Preparation

Find somewhere quiet where you know you won’t be disturbed for the few minutes. Then, sit in a comfortable chair with your back straight. Also, make sure you feel comfortable and able to stay relaxed yet alert.

Start off by setting a timer for one or two minutes. As you practice, you can gradually increase your meditation time.

2) How to Meditate – Checking In

Take a few slow deep breaths.

Next, notice what is happening inside your body.

Become aware of any noticeable tension or sensations?

Also, notice what is happening in your mind and what it is focused on.

Remember, just observe what is happening without any judgement.

Now, give yourself a rating out of ten for your current feelings of stress, tension and distraction.

For this rating, ten is a high stress and one is low stress.

What number are you right now?

This rating is so you can measure the impact of your first meditation sessions on your mind and body stress.

Now, gently shift your focus to your breathing and begin your meditation session.

How to Meditate -breath watching

3) How to Meditate – Breath Watching

Breathe in and out very gently through your nose.

Gently shift your focus and attention to your breath as it comes in through your nose and as it goes out through your nose.

At first, this may seem pointless.

However, it is the act of shifting our focus onto a single point that allows our mind to become calm.

As our breathing slows and our mind and body become calm, our natural deep relaxation response is activated.

It is this state where the wonderful health benefits begin to accumulate, as the body’s repair processes take place.

Do not try to control anything.

There is nothing to achieve except a single pointed focus on your breathing.

Our job is to simply observe our breath as it gently moves in and out through our nose.  Do not try to over analyze the process.

The Wanderer

Most importantly, be aware that your mind will wander.

In fact, all kinds of thoughts will continue to bubble up to your awareness.

It is very likely that your mind will not want you to stay focussed on your breath.

This is because it is used to managing thousands of thoughts jumping around your mind.

At first, it may not seem normal for your mind to focus on one thing for such a long period.

However, this is the key to success, and why we start with only a short meditation period.

So, every time your mind moves to another thought, just smile and gently bring your focus back to your breathing.

Remember to smile when your mind wanders, as it’s difficult to hold onto stress when you smile.

However, be firm and don’t let your mind chatter take over.

Simply return your focus back to your breathing.

When you start, your mind can seem like an unruly child that won’t do what we want. But every time your mind wanders, as it will, gently bring your attention back to your breath.

Try to watch your breath for the full two minutes if you can. However, reduce this to one minute if you find this too challenging at first.

The key is to start with a small amount of time and slowly build your ability to stay focused on the one single point of your breath.

Most importantly, building up your practice slowly helps you to become stronger and stronger in your ability to maintain a single point of focus.

How to Meditate -impact

4) How to Meditate – Gentle Return

When your timer sounds the end of your meditation session come back to the outside world gently.

Then, open your eyes and sit for a moment to feel your level of calmness.

Now, check in again with your mind and body and review the levels of body sensations and mind activity.

Next, give yourself a new rating for the level of stress, tension and distraction you are now feeling.

What is your new stress number?

Has it reduced?

How different does this feel to your normal busy state?

Of course, you may not notice a massive difference on your first attempt at meditation.

However, don’t beat yourself up over this, because this is quite normal.

Practice makes perfect

Remember, with any new skill, practice makes perfect.

So, try this simple breath meditation over several days and you will begin to see a reduction in your feelings of stress.

Once you become more experienced with how to meditate more effectively. In fact, you will find you are able to calm your mind and body more and more while remaining highly alert and focused.

Then, you can try to bring this calmness and focus into the outside world.

Personal Power

Long-term meditation practitioners can bring high levels of calm concentration into their everyday activities.

This calm, yet alert state is often called a ‘peak performance state’ where the two hemispheres of the brain are perfectly balanced.

Scientists have coined the term ‘flow’ for this powerful state.

In fact, when you can bring this peak performance into your work and home life, everything seems to flow without effort.

In this state of flow, not only do your feel calm and highly focused, but also highly energized and productive.

For me personally, this state of flow allows me to become more productive and creative which was impossible when stress took over.

So, being able to achieve this state of peak mental performance is a powerful tool in today’s very busy world.

Learning how to meditate is the most powerful skill you will ever learn for two reasons. Firstly, it can bring your mind and body into balance and creates the perfect state for great health and wellness. Secondly, it allows you to capture the state of flow during your day, bringing you the power of stress free creativity and productivity.

That’s why, regular meditation practice was the most profound tool for transformation in my life.

Learning how to meditate was so important to me, I have made it my mission in life to help as many people as possible enjoy the wonderful benefits it can bring.

If you would like to learn more about meditation visit www.makemeditationeasy.com

You may also want to check out my book How to Meditate for Beginners.

 

 

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