Charity: Be Me Project
Total £ accrued: £0
Reflection: “Let your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” – Nelson Mandela
The Sixth Challenge: To Meditate
Once upon a time, millions of years ago we were just starting out as the human race in a big and scary world. Back then, we were more exposed to a multitude of threats and potential predators like wild animals, other humans (which is very sad because we should have just worked together), natural disasters and diseases.
As a way of surviving, our great great great great great grandparents of millions of years ago had to focus the majority of their brain power on spotting potential threats. This developed a “negativity bias” which has been passed down from generation to generation as a survival instinct.
Because of this, a lot of us have a natural tendency to pay more attention to negative experiences than to to positive ones with our thoughts turning to anxiety and depression, thus limiting what we choose to do.
So Why Meditate?
Meditation is a way of harnessing your mind power to gain control over your negative thoughts and instead use that same energy to produce positive thoughts. Science has shown that Meditation is one of the best tools we have to counter the brain’s negativity bias as your mind and body benefits from taking time out to shut down and relax.
Some say that Meditation is essential to mental and emotional wellbeing as it aids us in discarding negative thought patterns and changes the structure of our brain to support self-control.
It has also been proved that meditation, carried out on a regular basis, will control stress, decrease anxiety, improve cardiovascular health, and achieve a greater capacity for relaxation. This then assists with your metabolism, lowers blood pressure, improves your heart rate, breathing, and brain waves.
Here is a summary of the benefits:
Tension and tightness released from muscles
Increased production of the anti-aging hormone DHEA
Decreased anxiety, depression, and insomnia
Reduced production of stress hormones
Improved immune function
More efficient oxygen use
Decreased blood pressure and hypertension
Lowered cholesterol levels
How to Meditate
I will look to be harnessing my mind power to use it to develop a more positive mindset (which is a work I begun in my Positivity & Thankfulness month) and to increase self-awareness. I found this useful guide on meditation from Ashley Turner.
“To begin the meditation, sit comfortably in your chair with your shoulders relaxed and spine tall. Place your hands mindfully on your lap, close your eyes and as much as possible eliminate any stimulus that may distract you.
Watch your breath. Simply notice your breath flowing in. Flowing out. Don’t try to change it in any way. Just notice.
Silently repeat the mantra: “Breathing In. Breathing Out.” As your mind begins to wander, draw it back to your breath. Notice that as your breath begins to lengthen and fill your body, your mind begins to calm.
Consistency is key. Try to do this breath meditation first thing in the morning and/or at night. Be consistent with your meditation. Shorter meditations on a regular basis are more productive than long sessions every few weeks. Aim for 5 minutes a day and add 1 minute each week.”
Making It Your Own
People meditate for so many different reasons, whether it is any of the health benefits mentioned above or working towards reaching a state of peace, balance or spirituality.
Whatever your reasons for doing it, make it your own. Because it is your mind, your thoughts and your body that will benefit. For me, my purposes for meditation will be:
– Reflection & Silence
– Harnessing of Positive Thoughts
– Spiritual Growth
– Releasing of Negative Thoughts
I will start with 5 minutes, working my way up to 20 minutes a day, taking time to clear my mind and reflect either on the day ahead (in the morning) or the events of the day. Quieting my mind by letting go of each negative thought one by one and replacing with a positive until my mind is silent and I am able to listen and create a spiritual connection with God. This should help me to become self-aware and develop my confidence in who I am as a unique person.
For each day I choose not to meditate, I will be giving £5 to the Be Me Project, whose self-esteem courses help many young girls and women to celebrate their true identity by exploring and enlarging their vision, equipping them to thrive in life. They equip women to be who they are, and to break free from the ever increasing sense that they are not good enough or need to be someone different. Something very needed in today’s society.
I’m looking forward to seeing for myself the benefits that Meditation will have on my Mind, Body and Spirit.