The Merits of Meditation

Welcome to the June edition of Mind Gym:
A simple mindfulness exercise to boost your wellbeing

The practice of meditation is a great mind-strengthening exercise. For me, it’s very much like cleaning my teeth.

I have a sign in my bathroom that was given to me by some friends who both happen to be dentists that says: Brush, brush your teeth. You don’t have to brush all your teeth just the ones you want to keep!

Source: Tim Skene

I’ve been very diligent in cleaning my teeth over the years, it’s saved me a lot of pain and money. I could have done the same for my mind if I had known about practising meditation earlier in life too.

So, this is a good call on the preventatives. You might also ask: how can meditation help me in my work or life in general?

Ray Dalio, co-chief investment officer of the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, says: “being able to ground yourself and not get caught up in the what-ifs and what could go wrong makes meditation a very powerful tool. It helps us to train the mind to remain in the moment, to stay calmer in moments of uncertainty and think more clearly when we need to. This has huge benefits for our work productivity and general wellbeing.” Ray explains how the Beatles inspired him to try meditation – watch the video HERE.

Source: Tim Skene

Are you new to meditation? Here’s how I do it.

My practice is very simple. I carve out 30 minutes of my day in the morning and 30 minutes just before I go to bed at night, and set a timer on my phone. You might want to start with 15 minutes, but not less than that, as our minds take at least that time to settle down.

I have a nice quiet place where I’m not likely to be interrupted and it’s relatively quiet. The people that I live with know my routine and generally tend to respect my space and need for quiet during my practice.

Step-by-step guide to meditation

You may find that it takes you the whole session before your mind starts to settle. It’s a little like “pushing through the pain barrier” in physical exercise. Although in meditation you don’t want to be straining to overcome the wondering mind, just notice it and simply return to the practice.

The first few attempts might be hard-going but if you stick with it, you’ll start to notice the positive effects. It is said, like most habits, that after 6 weeks of daily practice the real benefits start to become apparent.

I find being part of a meditation group also useful. It encourages and inspires me to continue and learn more about meditation. I can ask questions and notice some of the struggles that others face.

Meditation has increased my ability and capacity to listen to others, being more able to focus on what was said. This helps me socially and benefits me in my learning. I find I am more able to retain and learn from the information that I have heard. I am less distracted and feel more peace and calm in my mind, and body.

I also have a greater awareness of my own thinking identifying what are useful positive empowering thoughts (PETS) and what are negative automatic thoughts (NATS). I’m then able to choose more easily to stay with the positive.

I hope that as you delve into meditation, whether for the first time or not, that it helps you as much as it does me.

We believe that the Birmingham business community matters. Join us in helping us improve the wellbeing of people in our city, one person at a time, by sharing this article with your friends and colleagues.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *