Frazzled and frantic minded, or just curious about meditation? The OSU Team has compiled a handy guide on how to start your journey, the benefits of regular practice and the different types to experiment with. Meditation stereotypically has been portrayed in pop culture as a hard feat achieved by the zen, single minded few. We’re here to disperse those generalisations and demonstrate how easy and accessible it can be. Here’s what you need to know:
The Benefits of Meditation
At OSU, we believe in the power of meditation. Why? Because meditation has potentially long-lasting and far-reaching advantages. Research and studies surrounding the positive effects meditation can have on your wellbeing have been conducted for many years. So, what are the main benefits of meditation?
It Can Reduce Feelings of Depression, Anxiety & Pain - A study conducted by John Hopkins revealed that mediation reduced symptoms of depression, anxiety and pain. It also showed that mediation has the same positive effect on the brain as anti-depression medication (an effect of 0.3). While meditation is not the magic cure-all of depression, anxiety and pain – it certainly can help alleviate the symptoms in a more natural and holistic way.
It Can Increase Your Ability to Focus - Various studies have shown that meditation can increase your ability to focus and increase your concentration. A psychological study has shown that just a few weeks of meditation improved people’s cognitive skills by 16% . Another study done by Yale University found meditation reduces activity in the default mode network (DMN) section of your brain – the section responsible for mind wandering .
It Has Positive Widespread Effects On Your Brain - A study from Harvard found that meditation can change your brain structure for the better. A few weeks of meditation thickened the cortical in the hippocampus which is responsible for learning and memory. It also reduced brain cell volume in the amygdala – the section responsible for fear, anxiety & stress. This change in structure was felt on an emotional level by participants, many report improvements in mood, memory and learning .
The OSU Guide to Meditation
Ready to take your first metaphorical step? Follow the below suggestions to set you up for a restorative session:
1. Set The Time and Place
Firstly, find a place you feel most comfortable to practise meditation. The quieter and calmer the better. Carefully select when in the day you wish to practise, for example morning meditation can boost your start to the day and evening meditation can help you sleep better. Also, allocate a time limit which realistically works for you. If you’re a beginner starting with a short time of 5-10 minutes can help improve your experience.
2. Pick The Right Attire
Wear whatever you feel comfortable in. Comfort and relaxation is the main focus here, you can be wearing a suit/dress or sweatpants – it doesn’t matter as long as you are comfortable.
3. Establish Body Awareness
Position your body in a way that feels most effortless, if you’re on the floor try lying down or if you’re sitting on a chair rest your body into it. You want to establish a secure and stable position you can stay in for your time limit. Next, feel your breath. Follow the sensation of breathing in and out slowly. Then, scan your whole body from toe to head. Feel your toes, then slowly scan upwards feeling every aspect of your body. This is called the body scan tactic – a very popular meditation method.
4. Connect With Your Mind
It’s helpful to start with a clear meditation motivation – what are you looking to achieve? This will help you stay focused. Your mind will undoubtedly wander, this is okay. Try to be aware of when your mind does this, let it happen and realign yourself with your focus objective. It is also important to be kind to yourself if you lose track and start mind wondering, just remember to come back.
5. Gently Stop Meditation
When you’re ready to stop, gently, slowly and peacefully ease out of meditation. Take a second to notice your surroundings and noises that come from it. Notice how your body feels while detaching from the practice.
6. Maintain The Calmness
Take a second to acknowledge the state of your mind, do you feel calmer? Do you feel more at ease? It’s key to realise how you feel post-meditation. This does wonders in helping you carry what you experienced during meditation into the rest of your day. We suggest maintaining your yellow vibes with a cup of OSU & Ginger Tea while reading a book or watching TV or making your own apple cider vinegar infused drink, you can get a bottle here.
How To Overcome Obstacles
There can be many reasons that can get in the way of being able to meditate or inhibiting you from having a ‘successful’ session. We explore two obstacles and how to overcome them:
1. When You don’t Have Time
Trying to find the time to meditate is something a lot of people struggle with. Like we said before, there is no time limit to meditation. You can meditate for 2 minutes or 30 minutes, do whatever you can. We also want you to know that it doesn’t matter if you miss a day, two or three. Of course, regular practice is best practise but it is important to be kind to yourself. When you lose the pressure you put on yourself to find the time, it becomes a lot easier to find time to meditate. Also, establishing a clear motivation as to why you want to meditate will help inspire you to prioritise finding the time.
2. When There Are Too Many Distractions
Stereotypically, mediation is meant to be this dead silent, still practice. This is not the case. We want you to understand that you are not meant to sit in total silence and stillness, meditation is about settling into your environment (no matter how loud or quiet it may be). We advise you to not dwell on these distractions, rather accept them, appreciate them and let them come and go. If you need extra help blocking out your environment, we suggest something as simple as music. Put on a playlist of your choice on Apple Music or Spotify and get meditating.
The Different Types of Meditation
Guided meditation is the best type of meditation for beginners. This involves an experienced teacher guiding you through the basics. Their guidance is key to helping you if you’re new to the practice and unsure of what to do. Try the Headspace App for a great guided meditation experience.
Mindfulness meditation encourages relaxation and heightened awareness. It embraces you to remain aware and present at the moment. This is a good type of meditation if you like to dwell on the past and struggle with the thought of the future. This meditation can be done anywhere – it simply involves taking time to be aware of what’s around you. Use the Breethe meditation app for this, it specialises in mindfulness meditation specifically.
Loving Kindness Meditation
Loving-kindness meditation involves projecting love and kindness towards everything, even the negative. While being aware of your breath, you put a focus on opening your mind to love and kindness and try to radiate that into your life. Meditation app Calm is perfect for loving-kindness meditation, we highly recommend trying it.
Start Meditation with OSU
Meditation is a very simple strategy that can help you to obtain a better mind and body connection, mental health and physical health. It can take practice to get ‘good’ at it but it’s important to remember that being ‘good’ isn’t the objective. The objective is whatever you set e.g. reducing stress or improving sleep. So, try our guide to meditation, explore with a few types we’ve mentioned and let us know how it helped you via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. We also have some Meditation videos that are perfect for beginners featuring mindfulness influencer Belinda, stay tuned on our Instagram account.
If you enjoyed reading this, take a look at our #30DayChallenge – this can help you stick to the habit of meditation if you find it hard to keep habits going.
We use 200 years of Japanese craft to blend 100% natural apple juice with apple cider vinegar for a smoother taste. Our apple cider vinegar is always raw, unpasteurised and with the Mother.
Concentrated Apple Juice (56%), Apple Cider Vinegar (44%), All Natural!
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Make like the Japanese and drink in the traditional fashion through diluting 1 part (20ml) OSU with 9 parts of still, sparkling or hot water. New to drinking apple cider vinegar? Why not try one of our fruity drinks recipes to acclimatise you to the taste?
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