Taking just ten minutes a day to do nothing but breathe can hugely benefit your mind, body and soul.
And sitting still for just ten minutes sounds simple enough, right? Wrong. You’d be forgiven for thinking that doing nothing is easy, but for some of us, letting go of the need to control, think and do is extremely difficult.
When I first started on my own meditation journey, I’d think of a million and one reasons why I couldn’t do it. I didn’t have time, I wasn’t in the mood, I didn’t need it that day. Slowly, I’ve started to prioritise meditation in my morning routine, because I truly feel that it makes me a happier, more mindful and calmer person.
Some days I sit through ten minutes of serenity and open my eyes to a calm and content mood. Other days my brain is busier than Oxford Circus during rush hour, and no matter how many times I press the off switch on my thoughts, they just keep on coming. But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from my meditation journey so far, it’s that this is all okay. It’s normal to have good days and bad days; not being able to control your thoughts all the time does not make you ‘bad’ at meditating, it makes you human.
So if you’re struggling to persevere with your own meditation practice, I want to share five signs you’re already benefiting from meditation (even if you don’t feel like you are).
You sleep better at night
Ah sleep. In our over stimulated world of computers, smartphones and electronics, it becomes increasingly harder to switch off and sleep. But meditation can improve your brain’s ability to let go of thoughts and relax. This has personally been one of the biggest benefits for me. I really struggle to drift off and get to sleep. However, since starting meditating regularly, my mind is quieter and my thoughts don’t keep me awake. I’m not saying every single night is like the sound sleep of a baby, but more often than not I drift off straight away which is a huge improvement!
You do one thing at a time
Suddenly, you realise that you didn’t need to get everything done yesterday. You start to give things your full attention and see them through to the end. I can be terrible for starting three or four different things at once and not actually finishing any of them. These days, my thoughts are less scattered and I’m more able to prioritise and logically work through my to do list — without panicking that not everything will get done.
You feel more present
Leading on from focusing on one thing at a time, you start to do things with more intent. For me, this is as simple as when I’m walking to the train station, not looking at my phone. Whether I am listening to music or not, I try to notice my surroundings, breathe in nature, and focus on the physical sensation of walking rather than thinking of my to-do list or replying to emails and texts.
You become less agitated
You learn that there really is something in ‘the power of the breath’ ( as cliche as that sounds). When feeling overwhelmed or anxious, you learn to pause, take 2 or 3 deep breaths and put things into perspective instead charging head first into a situation. When something out of my control doesn’t go to plan, I am more able to question whether I really need to let it bother me. 9 times out of 10 the answer is no!
You have more compassion for others
You gain perspective and put yourself in other people’s shoes. You have more time to listen to others and treat them with the compassion they deserve. You become more accepting of human differences and appreciate that not everything needs to be done your way.
Do you meditate? Which benefits have you noticed for yourself?