In Mindfulness we have 2 forms of practice, an informal practice and a formal practice.
The informal practice is using Mindfulness through your daily tasks, bringing awareness to the present moment in whatever your doing. This could be walking the dog, washing the dishes, brushing your teeth and showering.
The formal practice of Mindfulness is stillness or what we call meditation. This means creating some time out of your day to sit, or lie and bring your attention inwards to what’s going on with your thoughts, feelings or emotions.
Pema Chodron says in her book How to Meditate “In meditation you are moving closer and closer to yourself, you begin to understand yourself much more clearly. You see your judgments, opinions, habitual patterns and emotional distress.
This can make us feel uncomfortable and steer away from the practice however it also brings about compassion for yourself and others, forgiveness, clarity and courage.”
All this whilst remaining seated and breathing! For me meditation has helped me with physical healing as well as mental healing.
I suffered from the age of 18yrs with migraines. I remember my first one as it was like being bashed over the head with hammer repeatedly. I was sick, dizzy and in terrible pain. This then continued for many years with them getting worse and worse, often having me in bed for days at a time. I was medicated for them, went to a number of doctors, even going to the migraine clinic in London.
When I started Mindfulness and meditation a few years ago for my mental health I really didn’t think about my migraines. The more I practiced the more I realised I hadn’t had a migraine for nearly a year. I used to get them regularly every month and now only having 1 or 2 a year. It’s made such a difference for me to not have time off work, being in bed for days leaving my children and husband to pick things up when I’m not around.
I believe meditation has helped me reduce my stress levels considerably, bringing more calm through my day. Mindfulness has helped me continue the feeling of calm through my daily activities and without both I would be experiencing the same levels of migraines I’m sure. It can also help with pain relief in chronic illnesses, support in healing digestive conditions, headaches, high blood pressure and auto immune conditions.
Meditation can be done anytime where you can have no interruptions and spend some time sitting or lying down and focusing on your breathing. Using your breath as an anchor and being aware of thoughts like clouds in the sky.
You can start doing this in the morning, afternoon or evening whatever suits you and your day. The time depends on what you have time for and as little as 5 minutes or 30 minutes can make a huge difference.
One point I must make is that to see a real effect in your life it’s important to be disciplined and bring the practice in your day every day. This is a big step and it’s important to start small but it’s so worth it. Make a commitment to yourself to help heal and I guarantee you’ll not only be feeling better but you’ll be looking better, more relaxed and glowing with the knowledge that you’re doing something to help yourself feel better.
Let me know if you’ve started your own meditation practice and tell me how it goes, I would love to hear from you.