Monday, 19 December 2011

Meditate your way to Christmas calm

During the festive season or holidays we all need to take time out to relax. We should do this anyway as relaxation is what Christmas is about, but many of us will spend the time running after our families, wrapping presents, shopping and cooking. It’s sometimes hard to remember to keep calm when it’s Christmas Eve and you haven’t managed to find time to shop for presents or buy the Turkey.

While all this is going on and you’re switching off from work it’s the best time to try to meditate. The best time to meditate is officially when you are fully dressed and able to sit on a chair with no distractions, but I don’t think this suits everyone. Trying to switch off during the day actually meant relaxation didn’t come to me easily and I became frustrated as a result.

Then I tried it last thing at night before I went to sleep. It was also difficult at first but I listened to a man guide me through the Alexander Technique of tensing all your muscles one by one and letting go. I focussed on an image of a wall of colourful wool in bookshelves. I noticed how I felt after taking deep breaths. I felt amazing.

To be honest I didn’t expect it to work so I tried this a few times and then forgot about it. I thought I would just remember to breathe deeply whenever I was stressed. Which was wrong of course.

Then I was lucky to meet someone who gave me her meditation CD. It was brilliant and I found it worked fantastically well on me. It took me a few attempts to get over the feeling that I was doing something weird, then I was away. I remember the first time I felt a heightened sense of calmness. I felt high but without the sense I was out of control of my body, and of course I hadn’t used any substances.

If you are new to meditation I would suggest trying The Meditation Podcast. The voices in it are incredibly soothing and lull you into relaxation mode just before you begin the meditation. There is a wide choice of podcasts but I found the ‘positive thoughts’ one to be most beneficial to me. When I first listened to it two years ago I found myself imagining myself walking with a book under my arm in a wonderful tree-lined park. I wondered whether I desired reading or to write a book. In any case I resolved to write more and read which led me to a writing residential where I made my decision to become a journalist indirectly.

Self-actualisation is a very powerful process. When you listen to this podcast you will imagine yourself as you want to be. In the following years you will find yourself subconsciously taking little steps along the pathway to get to where you want to be.

Powerful and relaxing at the same time. So choose a time in the day which suits you (take your iPod in the bath if you have to) and practice meditating. It’ll come after a while and you’ll feel amazing when it does.

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