My tips for M E D I T A T I O N

Freshwater beach, Sydney, Australia.

Freshwater beach, Sydney, Australia.

Meditation has been a game-changer for me. It's helped calm my mind and allowed me time each day to turn inward, calm down my nervous system and all the stress hormones that go with it to promote healing. It's by far the easiest, cheapest most accessible tool for healing that I've come across and it makes you feel amazing. I also love that when times are busy I can meditate more to counter-balance the excess stress in my body.

But it wasn't always easy for me or something I even enjoyed. I completely underestimated how powerful it could be back in the beginning days of my diagnosis. However I knew it was something I needed to master in order to give everything to heal on the OMS program (those of us on OMS are advised to do 30 minutes of meditation daily as part of our recovery). So I just started one day by laying on my living room floor, and I kept with it till I eventually got the hang of it and realised what to do. Now I'm an avid meditator that looks forward to it every single day, I couldn't live without it. So I thought I'd share with you what I do when I meditate to help me relax, what I find beneficial and some things to remember in case your struggling to get started or the hang of it, like I was. 

  • Start with guided meditations

When I first started I could always think of other things to do with my time over meditating and I found it really hard to look forward to everyday. I decided to start with guided meditations so I had a voice to focus on and guide me through what to do and they're fantastic! They’re the perfect place to get started (and continue if you want to). I downloaded the app "Simple Being" and set my background music to light rain. I still use this app almost 3 years later so it's been well worth the few dollars I paid for it. Other great meditations I've tried are Melissa Ambrossini's  Mastering your mean girl meditations which are next level (available to buy off her website) because she uses special frequencies (binaural beats and solfeggio frequencies) as the background music that induce better brain waves for relaxation and they are A-MAZING. I also love Louise Hay's Morning & Evening meditations to start and end the day - (available on her website or free on youtube).

  • Meditate at the same time everyday

So you know every day you have that time to yourself to completely switch off. Dr Jelinek recommends we do it when we change gears in our day like when we get home from work. I personally like to meditate directly before sleep, late afternoon or first thing in the morning to set myself up for the day, or sometimes a few of these. 

  • Take yourself away from everyone

To limit the distraction and really focus on switching off. I always do mine in my bedroom with the door closed. Tell your family your meditating and ask them not to interrupt you for the next 40 or so minutes. Meditating at the beach or the park early in the morning or at dusk when no-one is around is also beautiful. 

  • find a comfortable position & make sure your warm or cool enough

I lay down completely flat on my bed with no pillow as I find this the most comfortable, laying down takes all the pressure of my body and I can completely relax and fall asleep if I want to. In Winter I put a blanket over me so I don't get cold and loose my focus. I make sure my body is aligned, my spine is straight and my chin in gently tucked in.

  • use headphones to limit distraction

I use the little white apple headphones which are great as the sound is fed straight into the air canal. It also limits all other noise pollution to stop you getting distracted. 

  • Place one hand on your chest & one hand on your belly

I like to do this as it gives me more consciousness of my breath going in and out, I can feel my chest and tummy rise and fall with each breath. If you don't find that comfortable you can place your hands in your lap or by your side, do what feels right for you.

  • Inhale deeply, try & hold the breath at the top, then exhale fully

Slow down your breathing and try to inhale as much as you can - holding the breath at the top, then exhaling fully right to the bottom. Some guided meditations don't prompt this but it's so essential in calming the body and the mind. Deep breathing is necessary for deep relaxation as it sends messages to your body that your safe and free from danger. After a few long deep breathes I find I can hold the breath at the top for a lot longer and I notice my breath slowing right down.

  • visualisation

Some days I visualise hot tense air leaving on the exhale and calm refreshing air being inhaled. This simple visualisation is great as it doesn't require much thought. In the past I've visualised my plaques shrinking or me running again. Visualisation is powerful as the brain perceives anything visualised to be true, as with me, my plaques have healed (all but a pin prick sized lesion) and I can run again. 

  • thoughts are part of meditation - continue to bring yourself back to the present moment

You may get distracted easily when you first start and wonder why your doing it at all because your mind isn't use to it, but thats exactly why we need it - to calm the chatter of the mind. When thoughts come up just gently let them go, don't get caught up in the story, always bring yourself back to the sounds of the meditation. Time and time again, just bring yourself back to the present moment. Eventually as time goes on the gaps between these thoughts become farther and farther apart and you realise your mind is much calmer. You'll start to notice this in everyday life as well.

  • it takes time

It took me months and months to actually look forward to daily meditation, I use to see it as more of a chore than something nice to look forward to. But now 2 and a half years later I crave it everyday. It'll naturally take time to get into wanting to meditate daily (if you are anything like I was) and it also naturally takes time to completely switch off during meditation. Try not to get frustrated, just be patient with yourself and continue to show up every day. It does get easier.

  • some days its easier to switch off than others

Some days it'll take me 10-20 minutes to completely switch off during my meditation and I might do another 30 minutes just to get that healing relaxation time. Other days it's straight away. It depends what's going on in my life and whats on my mind that day. Eventually after a while you should feel your breathing completely slow down and a nice drop into relaxation.

  • Emotions may arise

I noticed this a lot in the first year especially, it bought up a lot of emotion much like yoga can sometimes. But this has definitely gotten better for me. I guess its all part of the healing process. 

A few things I've learnt since starting...

  • meditation directly before bed makes for blissful restful sleep

With work taking up much of my day now I've started meditating directly before sleep and I've noticed my sleeps are much calmer and more relaxed - I am completely hooked!. Also, the brainwaves you experience directly before sleep are perfect as any affirmative thinking sinks into your sub conscious much easier. Dr Bruce Lipton talks about this in my recent post on Mind over matter medicine.

  • the days your too busy to meditate are the days you need it the most

The most crucial time for meditation is when your "pushing it" or " too busy" , "stressed", or doing big hours at work etc. Think of it like eating - its essential. Always keep this in mind when your busy - you should be meditating even more. If your struggling to find time then do it directly before bed and/or first thing in the morning as soon as you wake up - it works a treat!

  1. Start with guided meditations

  2. meditate at the same time everyday

  3. take yourself away from everyone

  4. Find a comfortable position & make sure your warm or cool enough

  5. Use headphones to limit distraction

  6. Place one hand on your chest & one hand on your belly

  7. Inhale deeply, try & hold the breath at the top, then exhale fully

  8. visualisation

  9. thoughts are part of meditation - continue to bring yourself back to the present moment

  10. it takes time

  11. some days its easier to switch off than others

  12. Emotions may arise

A few things I've learnt...

  • meditation directly before bed makes for blissful restful sleep

  • the days your too busy to meditate are the days you need it the most

     Just remember that nothing is ever wrong in meditation even if a million thoughts come up and you think its not working (I have these days sometimes), continue to bring yourself back to the present moment and continue to show up daily and you'll find the cumulative effects are so worth it. I like to think of it as my personal healing time where I get to be alone, switch off from the days events and just be. Eventually you get lovely drops into relaxation and you’ll be hooked on the feeling.

    Namaste πŸ™πŸΌ 

    Simonne x