The Happy Health Project #2

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It’s that time of the week again – some happy clappy advice to help improve your health. So what’s Becca been up to this week? Well apart from eating buckets of quinoa (see last week’s post), I’ve begun meditating (read: nodding off in quiet corner for five minutes).

Admittedly most days I barely have time to think let alone meditate. But with my work and home life becoming increasingly unmanageable, I need to claw back a tiny part of the day I can call my own. So if it has meant locking myself in a toilet cubicle, stationary cupboard or utility room and taking five minutes out of my life, then this is what I’ve been doing.

The aim of meditation is to quiet your mind which is certainly not easy in today’s world. If I’m not on social media, I’m listening to the radio, watching the TV or reading the papers and being constantly bombarded with information. But the great thing about meditation is that you can learn to do it anywhere.

Meditation should be practiced somewhere calm and peaceful. Set a time limit – five minutes is all I reasonably have in a given day at the moment, but you might have more free time (lucky you!).

Have a good stretch before you start as meditation requires you to be still and focused. Ideally wear comfortable clothes. Meditation is traditionally practiced sitting in the lotus position (legs crossed) but if you have to sit at a desk or in an armchair, place both feet flat on the floor in front of you and tilt your pelvis forward to centre your spine.

Rest your hands in your lap, palms facing upwards and close your eyes. Breathe in and out deeply, becoming aware of the rise and fall of your abdomen.

Meditation takes practice so don’t worry if your mind starts to wander. Just try to refocus on your breathing. As I’m still a novice, I love to use a five-minute practice on YouTube from the Guided Meditation Site (see below) which encourages you to focus on the sound of chiming bell. Other devotees swear by chanting a mantra over and over – traditional chants often use the word ‘Om’ which symbolizes omnipresent consciousness to calm the mind.

I took a class in meditation many moons ago at the Dublin Buddhist Centre which gave me a good basis but there are so many great books, CDs and YouTube tutorials these days, you don’t have to leave home to learn. Most importantly, relax and enjoy the break!

Pictures courtesy of John Armstrong-Millar



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