Most people are familiar with the term ‘meditation’ but are unsure what meditating is. What are the benefits of a regular practice? Will meditation make you happier and more relaxed? 

Throughout the centuries, meditation has been used in a number of different ways by people in many cultures to improve their personal development and to achieve a healthy life balance. Although most still think it is used as an esoteric spiritual practice for people to reconnect with oneself, which is certainly true, meditation is currently widely practised for a variety of reasons.

Business executives and Olympic athletes use it to reach their maximum performance levels and to optimise concentration. For the same reasons, elite military units all over the world use meditation in their training programs.

Doctors recommend it as a form of therapy to relieve chronic pain and help with depression and anxiety. Many corporations see meditation as a great tool to increase productivity, improve creativity, reduce stress and keep sick leave under control. (Have we all seen Billions on Netflix?)

Meditation gives us a solution to one of the main challenges of today’s modern world: How to function at your best in a hectic, digitally driven society where lots of stimuli and daily stressors can easily be the cause of anxiety, stress and eventually a burn-out.

Experience the benefits

Meditation comes down to being aware of and resting effortlessly in this moment to achieve a certain ‘state of mind’. It’s an experience rather than an activity and therefore hard to explain by using words only. Try to explain the taste of a certain restaurant-quality meal to someone who’s never tried that delicious dish. It’s not an easy task. You have to experience the practice and its benefits before you truly understand what it entails and how it can help you.

Personally, my practice helps me to accept what is happening in the present, let go of past (unpleasant) events and it teaches me to have faith in my future. It’s a time-out from having my attention constantly shifted by my thoughts, feelings and senses. They will still be there, but instead of reacting to it, I become the observer.

Yes, I know this all sounds airy-fairy, believe me, I was sceptical at first. But a regular time-out from your own thoughts (which are entirely your worst enemy) can be extremely beneficial to your mental and physical health.

Although they can vary per person, meditation has many benefits and a regular practice will:

  • induce relaxation and peace of mind
  • improve your concentration
  • slow the ageing process
  • reduce anxiety and stress
  • calm your nervous system
  • make you feel happier
  • increase your energy levels
  • encourage a healthy lifestyle

Practice makes perfect

Just like every new activity or hobby, it takes a bit of practice to learn and master it. I have written another article about ‘Easy meditation techniques for beginners‘ if you’re a first-timer or want tips for a daily practice. When you first start, you will get distracted often and you’ll spend a lot of time coming back to your breath, back to the present moment. Don’t let this discourage you, it is completely normal and you’ll already experience the benefits of the practice.

If sitting still for long periods (or even 10 minutes) is not for you, moving meditation is an excellent way to achieve the same results. Mindful walking or running is a great way to get outdoors and still focus on simply being in the moment. We’re all guilty of going through our endless to-do list when jogging rather than enjoying our surroundings, counting your breaths or your steps can help you focus on the present instead of your future errands. Yoga is another one of my favourite moving meditation techniques. Every posture you hold is a chance to just concentrate on your breathing, and your breath becomes your guide when changing poses and when going through your ‘flow’.

Guidance

There are many health resorts that offer individual and group yoga and meditation programs as a great way to get started or to develop your existing practice. Sometimes the best way to learn something new is to be in a new environment, away from the distractions of your daily routine. It’s usually on holiday that we are fully relaxed without any worries about life back home. The key is to hold on to that ‘holiday feeling’ when you return back to the real world.

If you would like to know more about meditation retreats or are looking for unique places to stay and unwind, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’ll happily customise your retreat experience anywhere in the world.

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