Meditation is a practice that serves to train the mind and improve mental, physical, and emotional health. In recent years, meditation has become more popular and many people take advantage of its benefits.
There are many videos on YouTube that explain exactly what this practice is and how to meditate. I personally use an application called Headspace. It offers guided sessions, and it is a super easy, accessible, and useful app. I spend no more than 10-15 minutes a day. At the end of the post, you will find the described step by step process.
Live here and now
One of the important lessons this practice has taught me is to learn to live in the present and to be right here right now. This is extremely important, especially if you are struggling with some kind of addiction or eating disorder. In my case – bulimia.
Our brain is a very complex system that works in a unique way. It is able to memorize the sequences of events and build habits. All this in order to make our lives easier, so we do not have to make decisions all the time. Unfortunately, we very often switch to autopilot and we don’t realize what is going on around us. However, we are fully capable of taking back control into our own hands.
When I was stressed or something unpleasant happened to me during the day, it was almost a certain indicator that I would have a binge eating episode later in the day. That was the sequence my brain had memorized. But through the ability to live in the present moment, I learned to recognize those sequences. First I learned to know myself well enough to notice the things that bring me stress and that would lead me to binge. Secondly, when binge eating occurs, I could see it quite clearly and consciously, go through it and thus reduce its consequences, volume, and strength. Meditation is a key moment for every problem we have. The ability to be aware and live in the present helps us to distinguish the emotions we experience. When you know an emotion, it helps you get through it without the negative consequences, because you know very clearly that it is just an emotion.
Be your best friend
Imagine that someone makes you angry, for example, you find out that someone lied to you about something. The emotion that arises in you is disappointment, sadness, then turns into anger, rage, all negative emotions. And now imagine that at this point, you can get out of your body and look at yourself from the side. Your mind, without the influence of any emotions, sees yourself as another person who is upset. What would you do then? Probably what you would do if this was your best friend who is possessed by negative emotions. And you as a good friend would try to explain to him how life goes on and how to draw conclusions for the future and just let go, but at the moment he just needs to cry or get angry, just to experience the emotion. Meditation teaches you to be able to look from a side and be that friend for yourself who explains to you that life goes on. This is an incredible ability.
Don’t judge yourself
Another wonderful thing meditation teaches you is not to judge yourself. In meditation itself, your goal is to train attention and awareness. You have to find an anchor, most often it is your breath, and you focus on it. Your concentration is solely in your breathing, you follow every inhale and exhale without thinking about anything else. When a thought comes up, you just have to acknowledge it and very calmly let it go. It is important, when a thought arises, not to blame yourself and not to criticize yourself for not being focused enough. The goal is simply to be able to notice that you have deviated from breathing and return to it without judging yourself. This wonderful practice teaches you not to be self-critical and to respect yourself. Something that is still very difficult for me. As a person who wants everything in her life to be under control and to be perfect, it is very common to blame myself and be dissatisfied but that’s okay, as long as I notice it and let it go.
According to a number of studies, meditation reduces stress by significantly reducing cortisol levels. Cortisol is the body’s main stress hormone. Meditation teaches you to accept yourself. It shows you how to control your emotions. And also it teaches you to know yourself better, to know who you are, and when emotion overwhelms you, to know that it is only an emotion. This gives you the incredible power to act consciously and rationally. Because you know that this feeling now is only momentary. Being emotionally intelligent will not only improve your life, help you deal with eating disorders, but will also improve your relationship with the people around you. And all this for only 10 minutes a day.
- Go to some comfortable place or room. Make sure no one bothers you for the next 10-15 minutes;
- Sit comfortably;
- Take a few deep breaths, then close your eyes. Return to normal breathing;
- Focus on breathing. Focus on each breath and watch how your body changes with each inhale and exhale. Notice that each breath is different from the previous one. Don’t change anything, just observe;
- Every time you feel that your mind begins to wander (it will), just accept it, acknowledge it and return to breathing;
- Don’t judge yourself if your mind wanders, just notice and accept it.