Meditation to free your mind

Meditation is so beneficial as it allows you to become more aware and connect with the world around you. It brings your attention to the present moment you can free your mind from any worries and stress you are holding onto. I like to start my mornings (or end my days) with some yoga and meditation to allow me to connect to the present moment and kick start my day by relaxing and flushing out all the thoughts and stress in my mind. Meditation can provide so many benefits which include: reducing stress, improving your concentration, increasing happiness and awareness and encourages a healthier mind.

Perfectionism is something I struggle with a lot, always striving for the best and pushing myself as much as I can to achieve that, and when I don’t I’m always hard on myself instead of realising the fact that I tried my best and sometimes that’s all you can do! Over the years I’ve learnt that there is so much more to life than constantly worrying about silly irrelevant things and comparing myself to others. Everyone is unique and you’ll never be the same as that person you are constantly comparing yourself to. It all comes own to your own personal happiness which matters the most. Your health, your wellbeing and doing what you love because YOU want to. Not because you know it will impress someone else. If you surround yourself will positive people and distinguish the negative people from your life you’ll feel a lot happier. When I surround myself with positive people I feel SO much happier! I get bursts of endorphins when I surround myself with people who are also positive and bubbly as their energetic personalities rub off on me and makes me feel so much better. So if you find yourself feeling unhappy, question whether you’re spending too much time with negative people who pull you down. How can you be happy and content if you aren’t healthy? Because realistically, your physical health is just as important as mental health, right?

Meditation has been a big role in helping the way I think about things and allowing me to let go of the stressful thoughts that go swimming around in my head. I understand meditation can be extremely hard, I still find it difficult, but perseverance is key! Practise makes perfect after all, right? I find trying to focus my mind in the present moment really difficult, as this is when my mind starts to overthink and numerous thoughts swirl through my mind. So I use three different meditation/mindfulness apps which are amazing if you are a beginner as they guide you through the process. They help you focus more specifically on the present moment and challenge those thoughts so you can let them come and go. All of the apps are free to download but they do then require monthly subscriptions to provide you with all the content. However, they all offer free trials if you sign up which I am currently testing out so I can see which ones I find most beneficial for myself and enjoy the best. My top 3 apps are:

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The app is so easy to follow and it starts with a guide informing you on how to navigate the app. Headspace state on their website that their app will allow you to “Learn to meditate in just 10 minutes a day with the Headspace app. Daily meditation has been shown to help people stress less, exercise more and even sleep better.” I often hear people saying they don’t have time to meditate, so there is no excuse when headspace offer quick 10 minute sessions. If you can find 1 hour to watch your favourite Netflix show, I’m sure you can spare a quick 10 minutes of your day to meditate, connect and reflect.

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I love the Calm app as you are instantly exposed to the most calming and refreshing sound of birds and soft waves with a picturesque image of a mountain lake, one of my favourite aspects of this app is you can change the sound and image you hear and see to suit what you feel most calm at. (I also have the Calm book and find it so beneficial and therapeutic to flick through when life starts to get a bit too stressful). Calm website state their app enables you to “Relax with Calm, a simple mindfulness meditation app that brings clarity and peace of mind into your life” which I believe it certainly does do! The guided meditations are soft and calm and allow your mind to escape the hectic world and free all your worries.

If you subscribe to Calm you will have access to numerous helpful meditation sessions from; quality of life, sharper focus, reduced anxiety, reduced stress, a happier outlook and better sleep from as little as £3.74 a month (that’s nothing if you stop with the weekly £3.90 splurge on your Starbucks coffee ;)).

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Wildflowers website states that “Developing a meditation practice can be challenging. Through a combination of engaging content and accessible design, Wildflowers empowers individuals to embrace mindfulness meditation when and where they choose.

Make friends with your mind.”

Wildflowers is particularly unique as it requires you to measure your heart rate both at the beginning and ending of the meditation process. I’ve found this quite eye-opening as it allows me to see how mindfully meditation often brings my heart rate down and more often than not I am more calm and relaxed than when I first started the meditation process. (Often your heart rate can stay the same so don’t feel dis-heartened if yours does).

Additionally, Wildflowers provides this useful chart:

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Allowing you to pick particular words which relate to how you are currently feeling, which you can then rate from “no stress” to “extreme stress” and as your progress is tracked through the meditation processes, you can see how beneficial it is in reduced the stress you feel by relaxing your mind.

This app is really creative as it allows you to interact which I find really encouraging! There are even three minute and five minute meditations so if you are short on time these are for you! I often find the shorter ones are more beneficial if I am in a rush in the mornings and the longer meditations I find most beneficial for myself at night time, an hour or so before I am going to bed so that I can free my mind and disconnect and aid a better sleep.

*BONUS QUICK REFLECTION*

My friend recently showed me ‘The quiet place project’ which was really fun. It’s really great if you truly are short on time, or just need to escape your crazy workload for a couple of minutes! It’s the same little routine but I never get bored of it, once a day if you just need a break is really useful.
Give it a try, stop what you are doing right now and try it at thequietplaceproject.com. You can thank me later. It only takes a few minutes and I felt so refreshed and ready to get stuck into more work once I completed it.

I’d love to hear if you give any of these apps a go and which you find beneficial!

Sophie x

 

 

 

 

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