Although our image of mediators may be of gurus sitting crossed legged, in fact all you need to do to begin is just to sit comfortably.
What all relaxation techniques have in common is that they enable us to experience very deep relaxation in a way that we can’t get from any other activity, leaving us feeling much more rested than from sleep alone. We feel a unique sense of calm and wellbeing.
There’s a wealth of research into the benefits of Transcendental Meditation and now Mindfulness Meditation too. Using the breath as in a technique such as 7/11 breathing can have similar benefits and it is very easy to learn with a Human Givens Therapist. (See http://www.hgi.org.uk for a list of registered practitioners.)
- Self soothing when emotionally stirred up
- Less anxiety
- More joy and happiness
- Sleep is improved
Generally in life, we tend to believe that our thoughts are random and we have no control over them. Through the regular practice of meditation though, we can become accustomed to experiencing quieter levels of awareness which can help us to feel more calm and peaceful even during times when we’re not meditating but just going about our normal day.
We can’t feel empathy for others when we’re highly stressed. We’re not all that nice when we’re stressed, because the stress is so all consuming.
It’s a paradox that we feel angry with the actions of others around us when in reality, we ourselves are at our most selfish when we’re most stressed.
Only once we learn to get the mind to become less jittery, we can start to notice other things besides those stressful thoughts and naturally start developing skills of empathy, even without trying.
Try it; as the nervous system becomes used to dipping into that sense of calmness, you can find that you can soothe your self even in the presence of others. Your buttons don’t get pushed into an automatic response in the same way as they did before you learned to relax or meditate.
Our perspective on situations that are potentially stressful changes because we know we can step back and see a bigger picture with more options. Enjoyment of life is enhanced as relationships are improved.
Interestingly, brain imaging scans back up what we have subjectively known from our own practice of meditation and relaxation; that our brains are far more plastic than had previously been believed and our brains physically change in response to our thoughts, actions, and to our environment too.