When you’re a kid, you lay in the grass and watch the clouds going over, and you don’t have a thought in your mind. It’s purely meditation, and we lose that.Dick Van Dyke
When the world around you is ensconced in madness, and you can’t quite seem to find a moment of peace in the storm of the day, it’s time to step back and remember those blissful moments as a child where we merely lost ourselves in the world. World Meditation Day is a call to the world to take time to participate in this millennia-old practice and clear our minds, remembering that we are people first, and workers second.
History of World Meditation Day
The History of World Meditation Day can be traced through the History of Meditation itself. Meditation has been an integral part of many religions and was first found spoken of in written form in about 1500 BCE in India.
It plays a prominent role in many religions throughout the world, especially Buddhism and other Eastern faiths, but is also practised by those who are neither spiritual nor religious as a way of easing stress and clearing their mind.
In today’s world meditation is vital regardless of whether you’re a spiritual person or not, the frantic hustle and bustle of daily activity prevent many of us from ever having a moment’s peace.
The benefits of meditation
While extremist religious groups have sometimes villainized meditation, it has in fact been scientifically proven to have positive mental and physical effects when practiced regularly. Some of the key benefits of meditation include:
- Helping with anxiety
Across the world, anxiety remains one of the leading mental health conditions. Although in severe cases doctors may prescribe medication to help people with their anxiety, they often tend to try a more holistic approach first. Meditation is one of the most common holistic ways to treat the symptoms of anxiety, helping individuals to slow their heart rate, control harmful thoughts and prevent anxiety episodes.
- Reducing stress
There’s no doubt that the world we live in can be stressful. Although stress is a completely normal bodily response, we shouldn’t be feeling stressed regularly as constant stress can cause serious problems in the body. Meditation is a great way to take time out from the busy world and to focus inwardly on yourself. The breathing exercises conducted while meditating can reduce blood pressure and lower stress levels, calming the mind and giving the body time to recover from periods of prolonged stress.
- Reducing distractions
The human brain has more things than ever to keep up with and these combined with the internet and our access to smartphones means that many of us struggle with concentration. Practicing meditation and mindfulness encourages you to think about the present, to live in the current moment and to dismiss distractions, helping you to remain focused when you need to be and to improve your overall productivity.
How to meditate
One of the great things about meditation is that anyone can do it, and they can do it from anywhere. Whether you’re seated, standing, lying in bed or sitting in the bath, simply close your eyes, focus on taking deep breaths in and out and allow your mind to empty of thoughts. If thoughts pop up, simply acknowledge them and wave them on their way. Continue to breathe deeply and use your breathing to deepen your inner sense of calm, until you are ready to open your eyes and continue with your day.
How to celebrate World Meditation Day
Celebrating World Meditation Day is best done by setting some time aside for yourself to clear your mind and relax. How meditation looks can vary broadly from person to person, with some preferring physical activity accompanying their practice (often Yoga or other exercise-oriented activities) while others prefer to sit and take their ease.
For your own World Meditation Day celebration, find a place where you feel at ease and relaxed, whether that’s in the bath, at the gym, or even overlooking a natural environment like the ocean or forest. Then simply put yourself in a comfortable position, close your eyes, breathing steadily, and let all thoughts wander clear from your mind. If you’ve never tried to meditate before then it can be difficult to clear wandering thoughts from your mind and you may benefit from trying a guided meditation tutorial in which an experienced individual will gently talk you through the process.
Whichever way you choose to celebrate World Meditation Day, just remember that Meditation is most beneficial when practised regularly, so why not set yourself a reminder to meditate once a day, every day for the rest of the week and see how you feel.