When the first round of COVID19 lockdown restrictions occurred, I found myself arriving at a cross-roads in my life. I was just about to take off on a trip of a lifetime and had been putting off seeking full time work because of it. In fact I got offered 2 positions before all of this and when they found out I had travels approaching, they withdrew their offers. In hindsight if I knew all this was to occur and I would be left unemployed and vacationless, I would have done things differently.
What I am getting at, is that it took about a week to work out what I was going to do with my life during this pandemic. But I decided that I would take a more conscious approach at looking after my wellbeing. Because I for one did not want my mental health to deteriorate. Having a background in psychology and counselling, I knew what I needed to do to keep things “under control”. This included routine, exercise, intermittent fasting, healthy eating (cutting out refined sugars) and meditation. The former will be explored in other blogs, however I wanted to outline all the amazing benefits meditation has and the enormous impact it has had upon my life.
Meditation is a practice which aims to calm the cognition and improve awareness of oneself, our minds as well as our surroundings (Behan, 2020).
I chose to sign up to the Body By Finch program founded by the same two people that have created my favourite collagen - Rachael Finch - Miziner and Michael Miziner. The choice was a no brainer for me as it included everything I wanted and more! For the sake of this blog I will focus on the Meditation aspect.
Since commencing, the meditations have allowed me to feel reenergised, focused, grounded, relaxed and happy. For someone like me who is very anxious at times, constant mind racing, brain fog and always riled up, this has been a godsend.
Afonso et al. (2020) has found people who have been meditating for years have diverse brain activity with regards to anxiety and stress. Behan (2020) follows stating that three areas within the brain: hippocampus; frontal cortex and cingulate cortex, have all displayed higher levels of activity not to mention, the amygdala displayed lower activity which enables better emotional regulation. This shows how powerful the mind is, particularly when you give it the space to rest, recover and rejuvenate.
Meditation does not only have amazing effects on the brain but so too on mental health, which is quite prevalent in these unprecedented times. Results indicate a reduction of cortisol in the body as well as blood pressure which subsequently decreases stress, and mental health issues including; Post-traumatic stress disorder, Depression and Anxiety (Juul et al. 2020; Khusid & Vythilingam, 2016; Montero-Marin et al. 2019; Pascoe et al. 2017). All these phenomenal statistics indicate that implementing meditation has significantly positive results for longevity.
If you decide that meditation will ultimately better your life, like it has mine, there are many platforms to do so. Online there are an array of options including joining a program like I have (Body By Finch) or there are other apps such as Insight Timer, Smiling Mind, Headspace and Calm (all of which I will link below).
I hope you are all staying safe and if you are struggling please seek help.