We’ve teamed up with Queensland Health to help ensure that we’re all checking in with ourselves and looking after our mental wellbeing.
We’ve all heard about the incredible transformative power of meditation, haven’t we? I had always been curious about how meditation could benefit my busy mind, but I never fully grasped its positive effects until I decided to make it a daily practice. Once I experienced it firsthand, I can’t — and won’t — stop talking about it.
Science tells us that meditation has the remarkable ability to enhance our mental wellbeing and bring about a profound sense of calm and harmony with the world. In today’s hyper-connected world, where our attention is constantly pulled in multiple directions, meditation stands out as an invaluable tool for unwinding, finding inner peace, reducing stress, and cultivating self-awareness — and it doesn’t cost you a cent.
But how do you get started? The concept of meditation might seem overwhelming at first. We’re encouraged to sit still, free from distractions, yet it’s all too easy for the mind to wander and resist. When I initially attempted meditation a decade ago, I was surprised by how challenging it could be to simply sit there and do nothing for just ten minutes.
If you’re feeling the same, don’t be disheartened! With practice, it gradually became easier to notice my thoughts and feelings, without acting on them or judging them. When I committed, my mind became more controllable as I became more in touch with myself and was able to avoid getting sidetracked or get bogged down in negative thoughts.
Personally, I found solace in talking about my meditation journey with friends who had their own firsthand experiences. Their shared benefits reassured me that my own early challenges were entirely normal, and also helped me really notice when I was making progress.
If you’re searching for a meditation practice that you can truly commit to and use as a pillar of support for your mental wellbeing, keep reading and allow me to share with you how easy it can be.
The Turning Point
Start small. Every individual’s meditation practice is unique and personal, and you have to do what works best for you. I began my own journey by dedicating just five minutes each day to meditation for a week.
Choosing a week as my starting point felt like an attainable commitment, and I was confident I could keep it up. At the end of that week, it already felt much easier to get in touch with myself and I felt ready to embrace a more extensive practice.
By pushing through, you can really access a treasure trove of benefits, like reduced stress, better sleep, and a stronger grasp of emotional regulation. The way it can change your day-to-day interactions can make those few minutes a day you spend meditating more than worth it.
As I comprehend it, meditation proposes the notion that genuine freedom arises from paying close attention to the present moment, regardless of what you’re doing. By wholeheartedly engaging all your senses, you stop taking things for granted and start appreciating everything that unfolds around you. If you’re waiting at the train station, instead of zoning out, zone in on what you can see, hear and feel around you.
After completing a month of daily practice, I felt an incredible sense of momentum to keep going; it was all feeling so much easier, and I was feeling more gratitude and less anxious. So I continued for another month, and then another. Three months had passed, and I had meditated every single day. Each morning, I would wake up, make a cup of coffee, find a serene spot, and spend 10 or 20 minutes meditating. In the grand scheme of things, this is no time at all, and it didn’t feel like I was rushing it. I specifically practiced mindfulness — paying attention to what different parts of my body were feeling at the time. But, if that doesn’t work for you, you can also use guided or loving-kindness meditations to get the benefits you desire.
Turning it into a habit and a personal challenge became my driving force, but I used the Internet to look for gentle daily reminders and reflective notes to keep me motivated.
While unintentionally skipping a few days after those three months, I was reminded of the importance of staying present and not losing myself in thoughts of the future. The practice of meditation isn’t about outperforming others or achieving specific goals; it’s about cherishing the preciousness of life and ensuring it doesn’t slip away in a haze of daydreams.
Crafting a Meditation Routine
Having experienced the profound impact of meditation, I’ve settled into a routine that suits me, typically practicing 4 to 5 times a week, but never punishing myself if I don’t meet that benchmark. Taking those mindful moments each morning really impacts the rest of my day. The way I think while walking has changed. The way I interact with people has transformed. There was no grand ‘a-ha!’ moment; rather, just a recognition that I feel much more present and at peace in my day-to-day.
Without a doubt, my life feels much more vibrant and fulfilling now, and I firmly believe that meditation has had a tremendous impact on my mental wellbeing. You have nothing to lose by giving it a try, even if only for a week.
To learn even more about how you can improve your own mental wellbeing, head to Queensland Health’s ‘Dear Mind’ site here.