The benefits of meditation are better understood as more scientific studies and research show the positive impact it has on our mental health and wellbeing – reducing stress and anxiety, increasing focus, concentration, mental strength and resilience.

When your mind is in overdrive, take time out and use meditation to help you relax, unwind and switch off.

Anyone can meditate. All you need is a few minutes and a quiet space away from distractions. If you’re new to meditation or have never tried it, start with a simple breathing exercise or a guided body scan.

Simple breathing exercise

  1. Sit quietly on a chair with your back supported or sit cross-legged on the floor.
  2. Close your eyes and focus on your breath.
  3. Count your breath as you slowly inhale and exhale through your nose.
  4. Count to four or six with each in breath and each out breath.
  5. Repeat for ten cycles of in and out breaths.

If you can, repeat this simple breathing pattern for 5-10 minutes and aim to practise daily.

For a quick fix when you feel particularly stressed or before a stressful event (like public speaking) do three rounds of in and out breaths to relax and calm you.

 

Meditation apps:

Headspace – this was the first app I used. Great for beginners, it has simple guided meditations for relaxation, mindfulness and calm. Basic course is free.
Insight Timer – I used this all of last year to develop a regular meditation practice. It’s totally free with 1000s of different meditations from beginner to advanced; meditations, music and podcasts for different needs, sleep, stress, addiction, work etc. Follow a guided meditation or use the timer option. Join a group within the app to connect with other users and to learn more about meditation or different aspects of health and wellbeing.
Mindfulness Daily – a simple introduction to mindfulness. Set daily reminders and use the pause option for mindful breathing during the day.
There are plenty of other apps out there but these are the ones I have found easiest and the most helpful to use.