From the editor
Change can be exciting. But it can also be scary and unsettling. And I don’t know about you, but this year has felt more like the latter.
I’ve tried numerous mindfulness apps and classes, failing so miserably that I could only conclude mental peace and serenity just weren’t for me. Until I finally found a teacher who showed me that meditation IS for everyone – it’s a case of finding a technique that works for you.
Brains get bored easily and like to throw up all sorts of stressful thoughts to occupy us (thanks, bbz). I’ve found the key is keeping the mind occupied with something relaxing rather than stresses, worries and fears. Sit in a quiet place, close your eyes and give these a go:
1. Three-part breath
Breathe in through your nose, slowly, to the count of three full seconds. Imagine your breath fills your tummy on second one, your ribs on second two and your chest on second three. Then take a three-second breath out, counting back 3,2,1 as your breath leaves your chest, your ribs and your tummy.
2. Wish you were here?
Think of a place that makes you feel calm and concentrate on imagining yourself there, using all that brain power to paint a vivid picture for yourself. What can you see? What do you hear? What does it smell like? Can you feel a breeze on your face?
OK, sounds weird – but it works. Smiling releases endorphins that trick you into feeling happier. Plus it makes you focus – the second your smile drops, you know you’ve let yourself get distracted.
4. The hurricane
Visualise yourself in the eye of a hurricane. It’s calm, quiet and sunny. All the stressful things in your life are just swirling away in the periphery. Negative thought pops into your head? Let it blow into the distance.
5. Light as a feather
Imagine there’s a string attached to the top of your head, lifting you up. Use all your energy to concentrate on the feeling that you’re becoming lighter and lighter.
Most importantly? You can’t fail at meditation. If you’ve taken time to focus on your mental wellbeing, you’ve succeeded.