All it takes is 10 minutes

Are you dreaming of getting into a daily mediation practice, but you just don’t know where to start?

Have you tried meditation again and again and given up again and again?

Or, maybe you  want to get into a daily practice,  but you feel overwhelmed  just thinking about it?

Maybe you feel so stressed that you think it would be impossible? Look at this….

Breathe

Breathe

 

I came across Andy Puddicombe, the creator of GET SOME HEADSPACE –   a mindfulness meditation program online. He has THE most pragmatic, fantastic and down-to-earth approach to meditation you will ever find!

The benefits of taking just 10 minutes out of your day to meditate, are tremendous.

I love and live my meditations – this time of my day, reserved for me, is a way to reconnect and tune in, it’s my sanctuary. In a busy life with lots of balls in the air, this is what makes me feel grounded, connected and reconnected.  It’s really not just about me, when I’m more in touch with me, I’m more in touch with my children, my family, friends, the people I work with and meet during my day. I’m able to be truly present with the world. 

These are some of the side-effects you may experience when meditating.  Be aware, you may feel more:

  • calm
  • clarity
  • laughter and happiness
  • energy
  • creativity
  • flow

Mindfulness meditation:

  • Reduces stress
  • Reliefs anxiety
  • Helps with depression
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Improves your sleep
  • Helps with Addiction
  • And even PTSD

And all it takes is 10 minutes!

Andy Puddicombe has created the Get Some Headspace program – which starts with a 10 minutes for 10 days program and it’s FREE for you to download HERE

Read how mindfulness meditation may be more efficient than drugs to treat anxiety and depression, HERE

10 tips on how to establish a meditation practice – read them HERE 

More articles on meditation HERE

The Danish/American documentary,  FREE THE MIND  about how meditation changes the brain, see the trailer and read more HERE

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13 steps to a healthier ’13

It amazes me how much is possible when we take our own health into our own hands – so much can happen! It could happen that we might very well risk feeling better, energized, loose weight, lower our cholesterol, boost our immune system – and all naturally!

A little actually goes a long way – and can make a huge difference.

Health is everything – without it we have nothing.

nature therapy

 

13 steps to a healthier ’13

  • Drink green juice/green smoothies – every day. It is not a coincidence that I put green smoothies and green juice on top of the list. Drinking them every day, will energize you and naturally make you feel like eating more healthy foods, moving and grooving. You will feel great. If you are not already a green smoothie drinker check this >>>out.
  • Try to exchange some of your meals with plant-based meals. But keep to: whatever feels right – exchange, bacon and eggs with a delicious raw food oatmeal and a great smoothie. Or exchange the sandwich with a delightful salad lunch. One meal at a time will make a difference!
  • Exercise – there is no way around it, exercise is a must. We know the mind will try to convince us, that today is not a good day, tomorrow is better or even next month is much, much better. But don’t listen – just DO IT, get out there – I promise you one thing, you will not regret it.
    What ever it is – make it fun, make it enjoyable, make it a joy that you cannot live without. Check this>> out!
  • Drink water – Exchange some of your drinks with cool clear water. Water rejuvenates you and keeps you alive. This is what The Mayo Clinic>> recommends
  • Meditate – research shows again and again the multiple advantages of meditation. If you already meditate, you know what I am talking about. Meditation is so powerful and so good for our health, both emotionally and physically. Mindfulness meditation boost our health and overall well-being – it reduces stress and anxiety. It gives us a pause, a well needed break in a hectic world.
  • Journal – journaling is a fantastic way to release emotions, reflecting about life and understanding ourselves better. It is like writing yourself home. The journal can be trusted with anything, no one will ever need to see it, it is yours. Express yourself on the pages, no censoring.
  • Fresh air – spend time in nature. Japanese researchers have found what they call “Forest Therapy” – spending time in nature, to lower blood pressure and heart rate and it increases the amount of natural killer cells that helps us ward of infections and fight cancer. Read the article>> here
  • Play – did you know that play is an actual need? Play is crucial for our health and well-being. Dr Stuart Brown has proven how play shapes the brain, opens the imagination and invigorates the soul. Check this>> out.
  • Express yourself – Expressing ourselves, speaking our truth and taking ourselves seriously, is important for not just our emotional health but our overall health. If we don’t there is a part of us that gets stuck – and stops the flow.
  • Follow a dream – Life is short and if there is one thing that can really bring joy and add to our well-being, it is going after our dreams. Making them happen. Taking steps towards reaching a goal, a dream.
  • Get a massage – A massage is soothing, comforting and wonderful. It also has tremendous health benefits, such as stress relief, pain relief, helps with depression and anxiety, blood pressure control and it even boosts our immune system.
    Read more>> here.
  • Self-compassion – Before helping others put on your own oxygen mask! The more gentle, compassionate and loving we can be with ourselves the more compassionate we are to our children, our spouse, our friends and the world. Studies says self- compassion boosts not only our self-esteem but also our health. Prof. Kirsten Neff has researched the power of self-compassion for years, listen to an interview with
    her>> here
  • Friends and family – spend time with friends of both sexes. Nothing so rejuvenating as a night out with the girls or a guys night. A night with good friends around the dinner table is wonderful. Make time for friends and family. Often when you ask people what is most important to them, they say family and friends, but work and duties get first priority. Read more here in this>> Huffington Post article.

Great scientific proof – mindfulness treats depression and anxiety

Anyone who has ever been defeated by depression or overwhelmed by scary anxiety attacks, will know what I am talking about here. It is an awful experience!!

But, it doesn’t need to be! It’s indeed possible to get help and find relief from both anxiety and depression! There are many great roads leading to Rome – one of them is mindfulness, which is what I’m going to talk about.

I read an interesting research article in the Danish Videnskab.dk. The Danish researchers have found that practicing mindfulness actually helps, if it is done properly. The study shows that young adults suffering from depression or social phobia, and, as well, cancer patients, suffering from depression and anxiety, all show significant improvement after just 8 weeks of intensive mindfulness training!

The research has been published in an Ph.D study: ‘Mindfulness-based therapy for social phobia, recurrent depression, and psychological symptoms in cancer patients and survivors‘.

The research shows;

  • Patients using a mindfulness program improved the same as patients who went through Cognitive treatment.
  • the re-occurrence of depression is significantly less if patients use mindfulness, and
  • cancer patients feel less depressed and anxious.

According to Psychologist Dr. Jacob Piet from Aarhus University who was in charge of the research – it is quite fantastic that an intensive 8 weeks course of mindfulness practice can improve peoples’ lives like this! But, it is an intense program and people have to be motivated.

Dr. Piet says that mindfulness means “conscious presence” and many misunderstand it and think it is “just” something we do. But it is not that simple, he says. Mindfulness is a competence that comes with dedicated practice and intense training – every day.

When you are mindful you are in the present moment aware of emotions, sensations, thoughts, impulses  – you observe what goes on right now, without judging or analyzing.

To use mindfulness as a successful treatment it has to be practiced intensely over a period of time.

The first study that was done showed that relaxation was just as effective as confronting a fear. A group of young patients suffering from social phobia – was separated into two groups.  One group was treated with cognitive therapy where part of the treatment was to confront the fears – which is common in cognitive therapy. Another group was treated with mindfulness based therapy .

The results showed that mindfulness treatment was just as effective as cognitive therapy.

The second study showed that mindfulness can be as effective as medication! This study involved 593 patients with reoccurring depression and as a treatment diligently practiced mindfulness. The results showed a decrease in re-occurrence of depression with up to 43%! The research is so promising that the British Health Authorities recommend the method to all people who have previously suffered depression.

Cancer patients, as a group, are understandably often suffering from depression and anxiety. In the third part of the study, 1403 cancer patients participated. The results showed that after 2 months practice, the patients felt less anxious and less depressed. These cancer patients felt emotionally better, after using the mindfulness practice.

Mindfulness

I can understand why mindfulness could play such an important role in overcoming depression and anxiety – and even preventing it from reoccurring.

Mindfulness teaches us to be in the moment – it teaches us to observe without judgement – whatever feeling, sensation, thought or impulse there is. It teaches us to feel, rather than suppress – it teaches us to tune in with our core. It teaches us to relax, take some time every day to be in the moment, without judging without fixing – just being.

Interesting links about mindfulness:

Center for mindfulness

http://mymindfulnessblog.wordpress.com/

UCSD Center for mindfulness http://ucsdcfm.wordpress.com/

UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center http://marc.ucla.edu/

Balancing life with mindfulness

I don’t know about you – but my meditation practice went down the drain as we got into summer with the kids being home, guests arriving, dog sitting, trips away from home and things going on all the time.

Meditation is one of those things that is as important to me as brushing my teeth. It is where I reconnect with myself, find balance, tune in to my core, listen to the songs of my soul and come home.

When I get out of my life-balance rhythm, I suffer and it leads to unrest in my body. As a result, I get stressed, I feel grumpy more often, feel restless. I get distracted and feel disconnected. I may overeat, convince myself I don’t have time to run or that I really, really need that bag of chips!

When this happens, I know it’s time for me to reconnect with myself, and one of the best ways I find, is mindfulness meditation.

In an earlier post I wrote about how meditation changes the brain – how meditation keeps us clam and grounded long after we finished mediating. It helps us stay calm and focused, even in stressful situations. The situation is very much like the way that running helps us to burn fat even in between runs and while resting, because our muscles have become a fat burning furnace. The same happens in the brain when we mediate – and even after just a short period of time it is possible to see changes in the brain. The propensity for relaxation becomes larger and it becomes easier to find back into the same peaceful place within, just as we experience during meditation.

I know that in beginning meditation may very well feel inside like Times Square during rush hour! It takes a while to find the calm and it is important to remember that meditation does not mean that the mind is totally quiet. As my mediation hero, Jon Kabat-Zinn, says: “If you have a mind, it is going to wander”! When the mind wanders and you start thinking about shopping lists, who is driving the kids to soccer, what you should have said to someone or should not have said, when you start telling yourself you will never learn to meditate and you don’t need it anyway – the trick is, to return to the breath – again and again, without judgement.

I have downloaded my meditations to my phone so I can hear them whenever I need them – 5 min, 10 min, 15 min 20 or 30 minutes meditations – voila no excuses.

The latest addition to my collection is a Mindfulness Meditation App – it has 4 guided meditations 3 min, 5 min, 15 or 30 min – it also has 4 silent meditations and a guided Body Scan. You can set it so that at certain times, it reminds you that it’s time to meditate. It can even poke you at certain intervals to remind you to be more mindful and allowing yourself to be exactly as you are – not escaping life as it is, but to be mindful in the moment.

For years I have used Jon Kabat-Zinn’s  mindfulness meditations and I never get tired of them

Here is a workshop Jon Kabat- Zinn gave at Google some years ago

Mindfulness Meditation

Meditation is a great life skill, one that is part of a balanced life. For example, I feel that meditation ought be taught to children in school, along with math, PE and social studies!

Mindfulness meditation has been, and is, an important part of my life. It is one of the elements in my life that keeps me healthy, sane and adds balance to my life. It is as important to me as cleaning my teeth, eating well or going out for a run. I can live without it, yes, but …………….

when I feel stressed and imbalanced, when life is overwhelming, hectic or confusing; meditation, is a way to effectively find balance again. Breathing mindfully, even just a few deep breaths.  Sitting in mindful peace, even for only a few minutes, can make a difference, and I can feel the balance, peace and life-connection again.

Often I meet people who say “oh, I so wish I could get into a meditation practice but …….. I don’t know how, and every time I try my mind keeps racing – so I must be doing it wrong and I am also too busy, but I so wish that I could”.

I think that we all long for quiet space – we crave it. Meditation is such a great way to get it!

But we tend to have this illusion that meditation has to be done just right, sitting down on a mountain, cross-legged, for hours and years, with a perfectly blank and quiet mind. So many give up before even trying. And even if we give it a try, then we experience just how busy the mind is, thoughts bombard us with, what do I cook for dinner, oh, he won’t like that, I need to remember to buy washing powder, I should have asked…, I have to remember to call……etc. When this happens, we think we are doing it wrong, and give up, not realizing that is actually quite natural and part of it. The mind is a wanderer and we will think of a billion things while we meditate, thoughts come and go, feelings come and go, sensations come and go.

As Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, a researcher, a scientist and a teacher of mindfulness meditation says, ” if you have a mind it is going to wander“. We are not doing it wrong, we are just human with a wandering mind. Simply observing that there are different thoughts coming, without following the thoughts, just noticing and going back to the breath. Don’t strive, let whatever happens, happen – just notice and be mindful with what happens, without analyzing or judging it, then return to the breath.

Dr. Kabat Zinn has been an amazing inspiration for me on my meditation path! What I like about mindful meditation is that it is simple – there is no right or wrong – it is “just” being – it is straight forward and down to earth. Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn makes meditation simple and obtainable – he removes the mystic part and makes it easy, durable and fun. Something for everyone!

Meditation can be done anywhere and anytime, sitting cross-legged on the floor or on a chair, on the bus or in the airport, walking, standing in a line up or laying down.

This YouTube is a workshop he did at Google – it is full of great and inspiring information. I hope you will enjoy it.

12 years ago, when I first started meditating I bought Jon Kabat-Zinn’s  CDs and I have used them ever since. They are so helpful when you start out and still to this day, I use them – fortunately, before I wore the CDs out, I added them to my iPhone and  listen to them when I need it.

You can read more about the CDs here

You may also want to read these two other blog posts I wrote on meditation :

Compassion 

-Meditation changes the brain