Grace Nalty tries out a series of stress-busting activities to see if they’re all that. This week is meditation
It’s only the first week of term and already I am drowning in an overflowing onslaught of 50 page PDFs and the deep feelings of internal stress that come from having no clue what to do my dissertation is on. I can already count one day that was spent watching Friends and eating doughnuts in a mist of fear and dread of the next nine months and ended with me crying into my badly printed out readings that used up all my yearly printer credits in one go. There must be a better way to deal with this and I found out the hard way that doughnuts are not the answer.
I decided to become zen and try meditation. Meditation is a way of transforming the mind, to become aware of how and why we are feeling a certain way and to be able to clear our minds of the stressful clouding of negative energy. It ultimately gives you a new outlook on life, allowing you to keep calm and put things in perspective. It is a moment of clarity. It is I.
To begin my journey to the peak of mindfulness, I downloaded Headspace, a free app that talks you through the steps of meditation in just ten minutes every day. There are inspiring metaphorical videos slipped in every other day to help you understand your mind and thoughts, and supportive ‘mindful moments’ of inspirational quotes for when the going gets tough. It is easy to be sceptical when you first start, especially when you have a thousand things whizzing through your mind and you have the overbearing expectations to have a meaningful out of body, transcendent experience in your first ten minutes.
I found that as my week went on, and I got into a habit of taking my ten minutes, it became a very necessary and satisfying part of my day. When you eventually focus your mind and allow thoughts to pass through without lingering, you even find yourself having absolutely no thoughts at all and a calm cloak of mindfulness drapes around your brain, keeping it warm and protected from any dirty thoughts of stress.
Feeling very new age and revitalised, I am ready to step it up to the next level. The London Buddhism Centre in Bethnal Green offers free group meditation classes that help you reach that next level of transience, whilst also teaching you a little more about the art itself.
Download Headspace from the App store now.
London Buddhist Centre at 51 Roman Rd, London E2 0HU, http://www.lbc.org.uk/
Featured image credit: Health Room