I credit my immense energy and focus to two things- meditation and intermittent fasting.
I’ll shout from the rooftops the benefits of meditation, and I firmly believe it should be a daily
part of everyone’s routine.
But not all meditations are created equal.
There’s Zen, bodyscanning, and my personal favorite- transcendental and vedic meditation.
The Beatles did it, Oprah does, Ellen, Russel Brand, and Jerry Seinfeld too.
Now I reckon we can all agree these people have accomplished some pretty big stuff, and juggle multiple projects with intense schedules.
Jerry Seinfeld actually says it was the only way he was able to write, film, direct and produce Seinfeld, do movies on the side and raise a family.
He said it was like being a mobile phone, and someone hands you a charger- now doesn’t that sound like a hell of a pick me up?
I’m sure you’ve heard me- and many others- bang on about the benefits of meditation, but there truly are so many.
Mediation has been a life-saver for me many times, but particularly when I was dealing with divorce and separation. Numerous rehabilitation centres and even prisons are using it to help with the treatment of addiction and trauma.
A lot of people also find that meditation reduces cravings. When we binge eat or abuse substances or chuck a 15 hour Netflix marathon, what we’re really doing is checking out of reality. We do this through indulging in mind-numbing activities that give us a break from whatever negative emotions we feel.
By practising meditation, we can get that relief in a more constructive way. You don’t need to turn to unhealthy behaviours to blow off steam. As Gary Gorrow, vedic meditation guru, once told me, “you get to experience something beyond what you currently are”.
How I do it
I’m a huge advocate of any form of mindfulness, breath work, or consciousness. Just taking a few minutes to breathe before a big meeting, or tuning into your body in times of stress, is a huge step in the right direction.
A lot of people find that just closing their eyes and focusing on their breath is a good place to start, but they might not reach that next step of extreme relaxation and alertness. Using a mantra is a great way to go deeper, and really reap the benefits.
Vedic/transcendental meditation involves reciting a single mantra over and over in your head. It stops the thinking mind by giving it something to focus on, so you can focus your energy on consciousness.
It’s kind of like giving a child a toy and saying “here, go play while I focus on this”.
My mantra was given to me by a transcendental meditation coach- going to a professional means they really get to know you and choose a word that suits your vibration and your energy.
You don’t say your mantra out loud, don’t tell anyone, and it should be a word with no English translation.
For example, a pretty common one is Om or Aum (Oh shoot, I just told you).
Start by sitting in a chair, and focus on your breath for a few minutes just to wind down. Then, begin to repeat your mantra in your head, with patience and intention.
20 minutes repeated twice daily- once in the morning and once at night- is ideal for reaping both the physical and mental benefits of meditation.
That being sad, meditation is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.
You don’t sit down for half an hour once a week and suddenly reach new heights of success.
People say “Oh I tried meditation but it was too hard so I stopped”- which gives me a good giggle. It’s like saying “Oh I tried losing weight but I went to the gym and lifted a weight and it hurt so I put it down and stopped”.
It’s going to take you a while to get the hang of it and fall into the groove, and it’s going to be so, so worth it when you do.
What happens when you meditate
Transcendental/vedic meditation is one of the most researched when it comes to health benefits- in fact there’s over 400 million studies to back it up.The anti-ageing benefits are particularly mind boggling.
One study that’s stayed in my mind, is one where two groups of people’s biological age was monitored over five years. One group was taught transcendental meditation, the other group was a control group. After five years, the control group’s biological age was five years older, as you’d expect. However, the group who had been practising transcendental meditation was biologically 12 years younger than when they started!
12 bloody years! If that doesn’t make you want to start yesterday, I don’t know what does.
It’s also super interesting to look at what happens in the brain during meditation. The limbic/fear response dials down, our creativity centers speed up, and we experience something called neuroplasticity- which is essentially our brain learning to rewire itself. The many areas of the brain begin to work in harmony, like an orchestra playing a symphony in perfect balance and synchronicity.
And this doesn’t just stop when the meditation is over- this balanced and improved function carries over into everyday life. As Gary likes to say “meditation is like a rehearsal for enlightenment”. Having our brain enter this optimised state has incredible flow-on effects for our physical and emotional health.
For example, we all know that when we don’t rest properly, our physical health suffers, we’re extra emotional, we’re prone to more stress, and our body can’t recover. 20 minutes of transcendental meditation is proven to actually be more restful than three hours of sleep. We produce healing hormones, we have access to more energy, and are able to reverse the negative effects of stress on the brain and body.
I’m not saying you don’t still need sleep, but for 20 minutes, it’s worth it’s weight in gold.
Meditation has changed my life profoundly, and I truly feel like I’ve tapped into an unfair advantage by using meditation to create and get after what I want in life. For more info, check out the podcast episode with Gary Gorrow- it’s a personal favourite.
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