Meditation is something that a lot people seem to just shrug off when it is suggested for them. Perhaps this is because they envisage sitting on the ground, legs crossed, eyes closed and chanting.
Contrary to this, I would define meditation as simply focusing one’s mind. It is about setting time aside to do something good for yourself.
We can also practice mindfulness i.e. moment-by-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment, characterised mainly by “acceptance” (attention to thoughts and feelings without judging whether they are right or wrong)1. This can be very informal and simply mean attempting to be more aware in everything that you do.
Mindfulness can be implemented simply and quickly, yet few people find the time to do it in their busy lives.
What are the benefits?
- Improved productivity
- Clarity in thoughts
- Feeling energized
- Taking a break from a constant busy schedule
- Improved sleep
How long does it take?
From as little as 2-minutes to an extended 30-minutes. Most people find that 2-5 minutes each morning is highly effective once you’ve had some practice.
There seems to be an app for almost everything these days, and there are some great meditation and mindfulness apps.
Smiling Mind is a free Australian product complete with soothing Aussie accent guided mindfulness to get you started. It even covers specific programs for different age groups from as young as 7-11 years.
Another popular paid app is Headspace from former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe. This aims to make meditation accessible, and strip back the stigma.
If all you want is to get to sleep easier then have a go at the Sleep Easily Meditation app. The 25-minute guided meditation should help you fall asleep before its finished.
Dr Brendan O’Loughlin is an experienced Osteopath at Melbourne Osteopathy Sports Injury Centre. He has extensive knowledge of health, nutrition and managing an active lifestyle.