I was with a good friend last night who was complaining about her sleep pattern and how every night she wakes up at the same time – 3.15 am and finds it takes at least a few hours to get back to sleep.
It made me remember a few years ago, my own insomnia and how disturbing waking up in the night can be and I shared with her, as I am with you, how meditation has really transformed my life, not just when I’m trying to go to sleep but anytime I’m feeling anxious.
When you don’t sleep, it really does affect your health and for me, it went directly to my back:
All those nights of turning continuously in bed from right to left then centre and then repeat the other way, well, my back was a nightmare and so were the bags under my eyes which were growing heavier day by day!
My life changed with just ten minutes every night and doing that habitually for about three months meant that it became part of my routine and soon I didn’t even think about meditating – it just happened naturally!
So what does it mean to meditate and how easy is it?
Mediating means for me one thing, breathing in fact conscious breathing.
That probably sounds ridiculous – we all breath otherwise we would’nt be alive, but breathing in the right way can really improve health and sleep and allow us to remain calm when we need to;
For some of us, even finding ten minutes sounds too long – so here is my favourite 1 minute meditation routine - give it a go and see if it helps.
The first thing to do is to find one minute for yourself.
If you are at home, a quiet room, if you are out, just a quiet space to close your eyes and not be interrupted.
Check in with yourself: Then close your eyes and take a deep breath and think about how mind and body are feeling. Set your timer for a minute
Then allow your mind to settle and bring your attention to your breathing and feel your breath as it goes in and out, letting it be natural and relaxed.
Follow the sensation of each inhale and exhale.
When you notice your mind wander, acknowledge it and then bring your attention back to your breathing.
Continue breathing in this way for one minute and after the minute is over and your timer has chimed gently open your eyes and take one more further deep breath.
keep your thoughts clear and try to hold onto that calming sensation.
This one minute can be repeated as often as necessary and is a great introduction to the tool of being able to switch off the mind and just think about breathing – this will relax both your body and your mind is an amazing way to relax both body and mind and when that middle of the night annoying wake up moment happens or you are just having an anxious time, try this technique – it worked for me!
Meditation Tips for home, travel or anywhere
- If it’s possible to find a quiet spot, move away from crowds. Find a comfortable position for your body and close your eyes. If it’s not possible to get away, simply close your eyes (as long as you’re not driving) and/or put headphones in to cancel out some of what’s happening around you.
- Take a deep breath in, followed by a deep breath out. Repeat this several times and let the breath become even deeper if you can.
- As you breathe, first notice how the sensations in your body start to change. Relax any spots that are holding tension you don’t need.
- Imagine yourself in a calm, peaceful spot. As you imagine this place, take it all in – sounds, sights, temperature, and smells. Let yourself be immersed in complete calm.
- As you finish your visualization, return to your breath for another 3-5 full deep breaths. Notice what has changed for you internally in the past few minutes.
- Blink your eyes open and remain seated for another moment or two if you can before you return to the world around you.