Meditation for Mammys
Everyone has their own way of de-stressing, whether it’s surfing the net, cracking open a few beers, hooking a trough of crisps to either side of your face and losing yourself in a bag of salt and vinegar or maybe you’ve carved out healthier ways to unwind, like hitting the gym or taking long walks on the beach. But can you remember the last time you felt absolutely calm? Even when things are going swimmingly, the stresses of adulthood can take their toll. Getting your loved ones safely through another day, the never ending to-do list, along with the constant barrage of information being fired at us from all angles, can leave us Jinga’s feeling a bit frazzled, anxious, nervous and sometimes even a bit scared. If you’ve ever woken up after a full night of sleep and still felt like you’ve been run over, maybe it’s time to try meditation.
The first time I meditated was after reading about it in the book ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. People levitated, saw spirit eagles and all of life’s big questions were subliminally answered! So you can imagine how disappointed I was when my first few sessions went something like this: Breathe in... “I must send an email about that” and out... “How is there nothing for the dinner? I should have got mince yesterday in Tesco”... and in... “I can’t believe she said that, wagon.” ... and out... “ I never took the washing out of the machine, I’ll just have to wash it again”... in... “Get ketchup.” - Alarm on phone goes off. Yes, ketchup was my big epiphany. But for some reason I stuck with it, mainly because I was intrigued by human landfill brain and the random thoughts that flitted around like plastic bags in the breeze but by the end I also felt, dare I say it, calmer? Even attempting to clear my head was like putting out the bins and afterwards my mind felt tidier. A couple of weeks in during one session, for a split second there was... nothing... until the annoying voice in my head chimed in, ‘this is it’! Which immediately took me straight out of whatever ‘it’ was and back to pondering life’s other big questions like ‘do we have biscuits?” But it was also around this time I started to notice very subtle changes. The daily ‘mad hour’ which occurred sometime between 6pm and bedtime, when everyone was tired and cranky was becoming less eventful. When a little person insisted I look at something ‘right now’ - when I was clearly very busy with something else - I didn’t snap or lose the head. I took a breath, dutifully dropped what I was doing and ohh-ed and ahh-ed at their latest creation.
I hear you, ‘not another chore for my to-do list, just let me watch Dancing with the Stars already’ (permission granted) but if you give me five of your precious minutes, I promise, it’ll be worth your time.
Here are my five tips for your first five minute session:
1. Sit upright in a comfortable chair or lie down.
2. Set your alarm for five minutes.
3. Close your eyes.
4. Focus your attention on the breath. (Don’t try to dictate it, just observe, noticing how it goes in and out.) When your mind starts to wander (which it will, a lot) gently guide it back to noticing the breath.
5. When your alarm goes off, open your eyes.
Voila! You may have spent the entire time ranting about a stranger who cut you off in traffic or a project that’s due - our brain can be very insistent when we need to hear something important like... ketchup... but once the message is delivered it will eventually quiet itself. Think of your thoughts like an unruly toddler, most days they will do whatever the hell they like and the odd day they might just surprise you and behave. Whatever the outcome from your session, chalk it up as a success, you took five minutes for yourself.
I could back up this article with reams of scientific research on how beneficial meditation is towards your mental and emotional wellbeing but I too want to watch Dancing with the Stars, so take it from me, it exists. You may not notice the difference immediately or at all, until someone points out ‘you’re in better form’, whatever the benefits, I hope it inspires you to do more and build towards the recommended twenty minutes a day. Who knows, you may even get to levitate! From one Jinga Mom to another, mind yourself. x