Beginners Guide to Meditation

Meditation is a great way to calm and clear even the most stressed or troubled of minds. Just taking that time out each day for yourself can really benefit you in so many aspects for your life – you’ll wonder how you came to get along in your life without it.

People can be put off meditation as they think they’ll feel silly doing it or that they won’t be able to concentrate etc. However, meditation can be as easy as taking 10 minutes out of your day to focus on your breathing – by doing this you’re homing in on the present moment and giving your mind the chance to clear itself, which can do nothing but benefit you overall. You don’t just have to be a devout monk meditating constantly to reap its benefit.

The beauty of meditation is that it is completely personal to you and your individual path. Everyone’s is different and you can take your meditating as far or as slow as you want – it entirely up to you.

Below, we have laid out a few key steps when it comes to doing your first few meditation sessions. These points are only a beginner’s introduction, so if you find you want to take meditating more seriously, simply build/research upon what you have read here:

Environment

When it comes to meditating you need a quiet, relaxing and comfortable places to do it in. Make sure it is free from distractions and a place that you associate with being happy and content.

Such places as a quiet spot in your garden, the beach, the forest or local park would be good area to start out your meditating. Places of nature are the best for meditating, as the natural sounds can help you fall deeper into your meditation.

Clothes

If you’re planning to have a session of meditation at the office or during work hours, you may want to remember a change of clothes. The most important thing for you to get the most out of your meditation is to be comfortable.

Loose, light clothes such as jogging bottoms, hooded tops and baggy t-shirts are great for meditating in and removing shoes and socks will help you get into position better.

Positioning

Ok, so you have your quiet little haven away from the world and you have your favourite comfy joggers on – it’s time to get into position.
For those of you familiar with yoga, most people find it easiest to meditate whilst in the “lotus” or “half lotus” position. This involves being sat up right in the crossed legged position with either the heels of your feet tucked into your thighs or simply resting on the floor. The palms of hands are resting in your lap or on the edges of your knees – now you’re ready to go!

Meditate

Your all set, now finally to meditate! As this is only an introduction, for your first few attempts at meditating simply focus on your breathing and clearing your mind of distracting thought.

Whilst in lotus position, close your eyes and really focus on your inhaling and exhaling. Breathe at your normal rate but be really conscious and aware of every breath you are taking into your lungs and then expelling out again. After doing this for 5-10 minutes you will slowly hear all the normal chatter the mind puts out fade away and your mind will begin to relax – as will you.

CBT and PMA – Depression, Frustration and Enlightenment in daily life

Introduction to Sophie

This blog is an outlet for me to deal with my over active emotions and for anybody who is depressed, frustrated or contradictory to this enlightened. I am eager for people from all perspectives to share life stories so we can teach and boost each other and be grateful for the lives we have been given.

I will tell you about my struggle with depression which started in my early teenage years and which still rears its ugly head at 26 and more about myself in the next blog. I must note I have made progress by myself and with the help of a 6 week counselling programme and with a knowledge that this depression is not me and it is not you. It is a relentless bully that needs to be challenged. As we know Mental Health issues never fully go away but this is a chance to explore the mind a bit more and see to what extent we can heal ourselves. Here goes …..
So the path to eternal happiness has never has been an easy one. Ok, we get that….. but what steps can we take to try and feel a bit more fulfilled or at least stop with the moaning (I am a chronic moaner trying to go cold turkey). I will also openly admit that I am someone that suffers with what I call depression (on and off) and low self esteem (for another blog). For me I describe my depression as the common feeling I have had since 13/14 when on paper there is nothing wrong in my life, but an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness takes over my mind and makes my existence feel pointless, insignificant and doomed. This leads and has lead to negative thought, dangerous thoughts, sadness, tears, lethargy, laziness, self loathing and can often affect my everyday life. Not the most inspiring or motivated feeling as you can imagine but the important thing is that I WANT to change. Hense this blog and the fact that I am not ashamed to say it as no one should ever be. Sometimes I wonder whether this is a hormonal imbalance which has been passed down genetically (as my close family members are sufferers) or environmental (because they were depressed and negative I adopted this learnt behaviour and way of thinking). The old Nature/Nurture debate. Or is this purely and simply being a human and some people deal with such thoughts and feelings better than others.
There is now a term coined by the Daily Mail that describes depression sufferers that still manage to function on autopilot every day and go to work. These are known as the ‘Smiling Depressed ’ and I have been in this bracket before when it was very bad. It is when you can scrape the energy to go into work everyday and seem fine to others but in reality you are not fine and you have not been ‘fine’ for a very long time. You will often reach a moment where you cannot go on anymore and you want to hideaway or escape, but then the alarm rings for 6am, your body defies your mind and you arrive at the office forgetting your journey there.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2044877/Could-YOU-victim-smiling-depression.html

The culture we live in today has been labelled the selfish culture. Children have been told that we can have everything and do anything. Careers, travelling, experiences, relationships and children. The latter also being last on the ‘life list’. We are the ones that have had every door opened for us and it is coming to light from my experiences that the breeze from those open doors can be ice cold at times. Maybe we are ungrateful? but it is as if we are trying to live in the present without actually living in the present moment. I often find myself decision making with the thought process of … ‘As on old lady, what would I want to look back and say I have experienced?’.

Is this good because I am are trying to avoid having regrets or does over thinking things take the true spirit, heart and spontaneity away from the experiences themselves. …. Or maybe that’s just me … overthinking again…..my personal strongest addiction as Eckhart Tolle would say.

What do you think? Are we too self absorbed or rightfully trying to get the most out of life now that we have the opportunity? I am writing from the perspective of a 26 year old woman living in England. I have all this opportunity and still I get frustrated. Do I just need a slap round the face and a cold hard reality check? Or do I have good reason?

I have read many a self help book to deal with the selfish and ungrateful thought process which I call my depression. (Please note that this does not mean I do not sincerely believe or empathise with others that suffer from depression) however with positive thinking (of course) my aim is to take responsibility, be productive and try to ease my own restlessness with some alternative ways of thinking and I am lucky I have reached a stage where I can try and think of it in this way. The official term is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. This is when one tries to control their own thoughts by way of logically thinking and almost overriding initial negative or counterproductive thoughts that often plague them. I will be trying and testing CBT techniques as well as drawing from popular and maybe obscure self help books and as aforementioned alternative ways of thinking. I have read the books but never really whole heartedly put them into practise because I have been too busy surrendering and behaving as if I have no control over my life, which if we use these methods correctly, we will find we do and that we have had control all along. Meaning we didn’t need the book, the methods or anything! Coming full circle so to speak.

Anyway, before I go, I leave you with the most over used, some may say cheesy and most frustrating and life saving truth out there that is noted in each and every self help book I have read. This is that only you can make yourself happy. If all the writings and teachings are true then no one person or thing can fully make you happy and the more you attach that happiness to material things and other people the more you will be disappointed. The only thing that you know for sure and have is your own conscious mind. Happiness, has to come from you and your inner self ….apparently. So I am going to give this thing a try …

For the next two weeks I will concentrate on Susan Jeffers ‘Feel the Fear and Do it anyway’ which I have downloaded on audio book.
Thanks for reading my ramblings.
Speak Soon.
Sophie
xxxxxx

Ps. If anyone has come full circle and has any books, methods or practises that you would recommend please post them and I will research into this.
Pps. Also note that I am not currently on any medication and previously sought a 6 week counselling programme when I was at my worst. If you are having struggling or having intrusive thoughts that involve the harm of yourself or others I urge you to seek help from your G.P/doctor and also remember that you are not and in no way alone