Please stop going on about bloody meditation- what don’t you understand when I say ‘I don’t have

You do get that having chance to eat my lunch is a luxury most days and if a minimum amount of
sleep wasn’t vital it would be struck off my to-do list altogether?

So you want me to sit on the floor with my legs crossed, eyes shut, chanting some mantra whilst
counting my breath? Oh and stop thinking?! Are you crazy? For how long? And this is supposed to make me MORE productive and happy?!

😊that was me…

And since then I’ve discovered the answer to those questions is no.

No meditation doesn’t need to be done sat on the floor- sit/lie where ever you like, in whatever position is comfortable.

No your eyes don’t need to be closed. Keep them open if you’d prefer, just soften your gaze or focus lightly on one thing. Actually a good focus point if you’re at home is to light a candle and stare at the flame (just remember to blink).

And hell no there is really no way to stop thinking. Thinking happens. It’s about becoming aware and not getting caught up in any one thought that occurs. Notice it and let it go like a cloud passing by. We are not our thoughts, they do not dictate to us, and so we don't need to get attached to any of them. Instead we can just maintain an objective distance by knowing they are transcient (like clouds) and don't mean anything unless we want them to. And then we can watch them go, safe in the knowledge there will always be another.

Sometimes getting curious can help to create this distance - sit and actively wait for the next thought and then idly and easily respond with 'hmm how interesting...' Perhaps like when you are sat in the sun on holiday after a few cool gin and tonics and you are people watching behind your sunglasses - idly watching them go on with their business, mildly curious, but not caught up in it, so that when something else happens to the other side of the pool you easily let go of whatever you were watching.

We can then treat all the thoughts that keep coming as a chance to practice being in control of your own mind. You decide what you want to think about and when.

No need for a mantra or counting breath, although it can help. Maybe try something simple such as So Hum (I am). Or just sit and notice your body, how you are sat, how you are breathing, where’s your stress sitting in your body? If you want to try counting your breath, try box breathing - count to 4 breathing out, then to 4 again on the gap before breathing in, 4 again whilst breathing in, and then 4 holding your breath before breathing out. Or try breathing in for 4 and then out for 7. By extending the out breath we are activating the vagus nerve and that switches us to the parasympathetic nervous system (also known as 'rest and digest'). And as we can't be in both nervous system states at once (its either one or the other) that's great news when we need a break from the sympathetic nervous system (also known as the stress response or 'fight or flight').

Guided meditations can be great as they give your brain something to focus on. Also, meditations entitled 'body scans' are fantastic (my opinion) as they really help you bring your attention back to the present moment using your physical body (which is always handily to erm... hand).

Give your brain a break and you a break from your brain. Let it space out for a minute or two and then reap the rewards when you turn it back on. Like what happens sometimes when you are in the shower or out for a run. How many times has a great idea come to you in those ‘not thinking’ moments? (If you find this happens in your meditations (rather than after) try keeping a pen and paper next to you to scribble a word that will afterwards jog your memory so you can let the thought go safe in the knowledge the idea has been captured).

And if you are worried you will fall asleep (I’ve been there!) set an alarm for 20 mins just in case. And then if you do then that’s great you’ve just had a Power Nap (yes I am using capitals for that :0) ha) and will no doubt reap those benefits instead!

And finally, no it doesn’t have to be an hour a day, but the ideal is a little every day, whether that’s two mins or 20. Just like going to the gym- you know that spending half a day there on Saturday doesn’t mean you can skip going all week. Consistency matters. Your clarity of thinking matters. Your blood pressure matters.

You matter.

Extra tip! To double up on the benefits from this (and why wouldn’t you want to do that?!), do it before you eat. It’ll help your body get out of stress response and into a state where it can actually digest the food you eat and absorb the nutrients from it. So less likely for you to suffer through digestive issues (like indigestion and/or bloating) afterward. Bonus 😊

Some meditations aids.

Apps with specific meditations and guidance:

  • Chopra, Calm, Headspace, Balance, Simple Habit, Breethe.

I have used them all over the years and currently use Chopra for my bedtime meditation and for when I wish to do Yoga Nidra (which includes a body scan). I couldn't tell you about any of these apps current fees but most (if not all) usually offer a free trial period or free sections to see whether you like it. I also would not recommend one over any of the others as I have found each helpful at different points in my life and meditation journey. Perhaps because they each offer different things alongside more traditional meditation practice. Try them and see which one you like for yourself right now.

For my morning meditation I use the TM (Transcendental Meditation) app but that is only for those who have completed the TM training. If you are interested, you can find your local teacher and the fees (on a scale according to income - which incidentally is where I got the idea for my coaching fee scale for those privately paying) at their website -

Other apps that you may find helpful for creating space and calm in your mind:

  • Brainwave (you choose what you want - meditation, creativity boost, positive mood boost, deep sleep, etc and it plays music with brainwave frequencies associated with those states of mind)
  • White Noise Lite (various (free) background noises to choose from)
  • Sleepiest (sleep meditations plus other sleep focused content)

YouTube videos/audios:

  • Jason Stephenson does some lovely guided meditations of various lengths.