Recently I’ve been meditating. I wake up early, stretch and go out onto my balcony. My balcony is sheltered so it doesn’t matter what the weather is- I am out there at the crack of dawn doing my sun salutation. I always find as soon as I close my eyes those buzzy, pesky thoughts come flooding forward. I felt a plethora of emotions, when told it was World Mental Health Day. Part of me wanted to hide away and not think about it, but another part of me felt the need to connect.
Meditation is a practice that seems to transcend language. It is a fantastic way to unravel the mind and come to the core of an issue which is worrying you. But how on earth do you do it? It’s all well and good sitting there cross legged on a yoga mat and saying “ohm”, but how do you switch off? For ages I became increasingly more frustrated with the fact that I couldn’t turn off my brain. A friend then told me that it wasn’t about shutting down the thoughts- it was allowing those thoughts to pass in and out of my focus without passing judgement on them- like watching clouds go by, or cars pass.
So I invite you to go ahead and try it- close your eyes and breathe deeply. If any of those thoughts come into your brain just say “yes, I see you, thank you for your input, but this can pass.” You’ll find that if you focus more on your body- the way your legs touch the floor, then way your hands sit in your lap- the more you will forget about the disruptive thoughts.
Is it enough?
So if yoga and meditation enough? Yes and no. There is no denying that yoga and mediation are beneficial. In fact, many scientific studies have linked meditation to better sleep, experiencing more empathy and increased learning. However, action is more what plays a role in defining how you will be able to move forward with your mental health. That action doesn’t have to be a huge one. It can someone as simple as making the conscious decision to put aside 10 minutes a day for self-care. I have found that if I turn off my phone and truly absorb myself into the self-care then I can give myself a quick recharge. I also find that if I meditate on something which is troubling me, and figure out a solution, then I need to act on that solution instead of allowing the situation to fester.
So from me, to you. I hope you have a fruitful, thoughtful, mental health day.