Find balance with meditation

Along with the concept of mindfulness, meditation has become increasingly popular in recent years as we all search for ways to manage stress, anxiety and to achieve a greater sense of inner peace. With a strong focus on wellbeing at The Spa at Bedford Lodge Hotel, we know that incorporating some meditation practices into your everyday life can help you lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Whether it’s five minutes in the morning after you wake up, a dedicated half an hour before you begin your yoga session or simply finding a moment to tune out when you’re doing the washing up – I think you’ll love the benefits!

So, what’s the history behind meditation? It is a technique that has been practiced for thousands of years, in many cultures around the world. It involves focusing your attention on a particular object, thought or activity, to achieve a calm and clear state of mind. There are many different forms of meditation, including mindfulness, transcendental meditation, and Zen meditation. All of them are about letting go of stress and negative emotions, allowing you to focus on the present moment and achieve a sense of calm and relaxation.

The benefits of meditation:

Less stress: One of the benefits of meditation is stress reduction. When we’re stressed, our bodies release cortisol, a hormone that can have negative effects on our physical and mental health. Meditation has been shown to lower cortisol levels, reducing stress and anxiety, as well as promoting feelings of calm and relaxation.
Positive changes: Another benefit of meditation is an increase in self-awareness. When we meditate, we become more aware of our thoughts and feelings, allowing us to identify and manage negative emotions more effectively. This increased self-awareness can also help us identify negative patterns in our thinking and behaviour, meaning we can find ways to make positive changes in our lives.
Better sleep: When we meditate, we allow our bodies to relax and enter a state of rest, which can help improve sleep quality and even make us fall asleep more quickly. Regular meditation can also help regulate our sleep patterns, meaning you can finally achieve those longed for eight hours of sleep each night!

How to meditate
Firstly, find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed, and take a comfortable seated position. Sit wherever you find most comfortable, keeping your back straight but not tense. Take a moment to close your eyes and focus on you breath, notice the sensation of your breath as it enters and leaves your body. Try not to control your breath, simply observe it happening. This can take practise! Let go of any distractions, you’ll probably find your mind will wonder, but gently bring it back to your breath. You’ll begin to be able to become more aware of your surroundings, noticing any sensations in your body or sounds of your environment – simply observe them peacefully. Most importantly of all, enjoy these quiet moments! Meditation is a skill that takes time and practice to develop. Be patient with yourself and don’t give up if you don’t see immediate results. Consistency is key, so try to make meditation a regular part of your daily routine.
My top tip? When you first start meditating, it can be helpful to set a timer for a specific amount of time, so you can start with just a few minutes and gradually increase the time as you become more comfortable.

Until next time,
Kate x