Back in 2013 I was feeling pretty overwhelmed and stressed out. Family, life and business pressures were all taking there toll on me.
Looking for a way to manage stress and regain focus, I started to get into mindfulness and meditation.
I started by trialing various different apps before I found headspace. I spent a couple of years growing and learning while using the app daily.
Benefits of Meditation
There are numerous scientific health benefits linked to practicing meditation. These include:
- Stress Reduction – One study of over 3500 showed that it lives up the reputation as an excellent stress reducer.
- Reduces Anxiety – an 8 week study, involving 18 volunteers showed that regular meditation helped them maintain lower anxiety levels than before.
- Promotes Emotional Health – A controlled study compared electrical activity between the brains of people who practiced mindfulness meditation and the brains of others who did not. Those who meditated showed measurable changes in activity in areas related to positive thinking and optimism.
- Enhances Self Awareness – meditation can teach you to recognize thoughts that may be harmful or self-defeating. The idea is that as you gain greater awareness of your thought habits, you can steer them toward more constructive patterns.
- Lengthens Attention Span – A study looked at the effects of an eight-week mindfulness meditation course and found it improved participants’ ability to reorient and maintain their attention.
- Reduces Age Related Memory Loss – a review of 12 studies found that multiple meditation styles increased attention, memory and mental quickness in older volunteers.
- Help Fight Addictions – One study that taught 19 recovering alcoholics how to meditate found that participants who received the training got better at controlling their cravings and craving-related stress.
- Improves Sleep – A study compared two groups. One group practiced meditation, while the other didn’t. Participants who meditated fell asleep sooner and stayed asleep longer, compared to those who didn’t meditate.
- Helps Control Pain – A study used functional MRI techniques to observe brain activity as participants experienced a painful stimulus. Some participants had gone through four days of mindfulness meditation training, while others had not. The meditating patients showed increased activity in the brain centers known to control pain.
- Can Decrease Blood Pressure – A review concluded that several types of meditation produced similar improvements in blood pressure.
Over time I have changed things up, using a mixture of apps and YouTube meditation video links.
Below are my 5 favourite guided meditations right now: the first one I use before bed. The rest I use either first thing in the morning or during the day to re-energise as needed.
Dr Wayne Dyer – 5 Minutes Before You Fall Asleep
I use this 5 minute video by Dr Wayne W. Dyer before I go to sleep every night. Dr. Dyer was an internationally renowned author and speaker in the fields of self-development and spiritual growth.
He created many audio and video programs like this one.
He passed away in 2015 but his over 40 books, including 21 New York Times bestsellers, will continue to help change lives for many years to come.
Gratitude Meditation by Kenneth Soares
Kenneth Soares is one of the authors and co-owners of PowerThoughts Meditation Club . He is a prolific producer of guided meditations.
I regularly use this guided meditation throughout the day when I need a pick me up.
20 Minute Mindfulness Meditation for Being Present by Sara Raymond
This is a guided meditation to help you develop your skill of being mindful and present, written and read by Sara Raymond from The Mindful Movement.
I also use this one regularly throughout the day.
Gratitude Spoken Meditation – Jason Stephenson
For over 15 years, Jason studied the positive effects of guided meditation and relaxation music. His YouTube channel has grown to over 1 million subscribers, with over 250 million views.
The importance of guided meditation came to him in his 30’s, when he experienced troubled times in his life, involving drugs and alcohol.
Meditation and affirmations became a daily ritual that changed his health and mindset. He went from being a total wreck to having the strength to help others in their darkest days.
This guided meditation helps me daily.
Complete Body Healing by Rasa
Rasa is a qualified life coach and a yoga teacher who focuses on creative writing and practicing mind awareness.
If you’re feeling a bit overworked, overwhelmed and are constantly overthinking then my best advice is learn to relax your body and soften your mind by practicing the skill of meditation.
It has enriched my life and helped me rise above life’s hurdles, so I know it can work for you too.
Let me know how you get on!
Until next time, “Strength for Life”,
Davie McConnachie, creator of DMC Fitness and Dynamic Mind Conditioning, is an expert health and wellness coach, multi-award winning motivational speaker, award-winning gym owner, writer and published poet.
Athletically, Davie has competed nationally in MMA, Boxing and Thai Boxing, and internationally in kettlebell sport. Davie enjoyed the London Marathon, several half marathons and is a regular mountain trekker.