Why Deep Breathing is Important for Meditation & Stress Relief

Why Deep Breathing is Important for Meditation & Stress Relief

Did you know that our breathing can actually lower the amount of stress hormones circling around our bodies?

Yep, that’s right!!

Deep breathing (also known as Diaphragmatic breathing) can help us signal to our bodies that we are safe.

This prompts our bodies to deactivate the Sympathetic Nervous System and activate our Parasympathetic Nervous System.

The Parasympathetic Nervous System is designed to bring our bodies back to a balanced and relaxed state and is responsible for calming our bodies so we can rest, digest and repair.

You can read more about how stress impacts these bodily systems here.

When it comes to deep breathing, the best way to master it is through regular practice.

 

Want to be a Happier, Less Stressed You?

Learn about the benefits of meditation and how it can help you relieve stress & anxiety symptoms.

    Enter your details above to start the course!

    PS> We don’t send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

     

    The Benefits of Deep Breathing

    There are many health benefits of incorporating deep breathing into your day to day life.

    Some scientifically proven benefits include:

    • Help to get more oxygen to your brain which can help with focus and concentration  (1) 
    • Reduce stress and anxiety symptoms by promoting relaxation, and in some cases PTSD symptoms  (2) (3)
    • Can relieve Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)  (4)
    • Improve sleep
    • Can reduce harmful physiological damage from chronic stress on the body (5)
    • Lowers your heart rate and blood pressure (6) (7)

    To remind yourself to breathe deeply it can be handy to set times in your day to do it.

    eg. During your morning meditation, at lunch on a walk, whilst driving in the car to work or even when sitting at your desk before a meeting.

    When doing deep breathing for the first time it can feel a bit weird…

    But it is SO GOOD for your body!

    It’s also a great technique to heighten the quality of your meditation, which is why it’s used at the beginning of meditation and yoga.

    You can also incorporate it alongside some other stress relieving activities and natural remedies for optimal results.

    Diaphragmatic Breathing (Deep Breathing) - Man breathing deeply

     

    Deep Breathing – The 4-7-8 Rule

    The 4-7-8 rule breaks down deep breathing into three memorable and easy steps.

    1. You breathe in deeply for 4 seconds (Breathe deeply into your belly, not your chest)
    2. Then hold your breath for 7 seconds and
    3. Breathe out for 8 seconds

    You then continue to repeat this process until you can start to notice you body relaxing and returning to state of balance.

    Personally, I find it helpful to rest my hand against my diaphragm, which is located just slightly above your belly button, as shown below:

    Resting your hand on your diaphragm can act as a reminder to breathe deeply into your stomach rather than your chest.

    You can recognise when you’re doing this process wrong because you’ll see your shoulders rising with each breath. An easy way to check this is to watch yourself in the mirror.

    Yes… I know sometimes this can feel a bit weird and awkward.

    But it’s the best way to see what’s really going on.

     

    Deep Breathing Tips for Newbies

    Apparently, we take up to 17,000-30,000 breaths per day!

    So, breathing is definitely not a new concept for most of you. Well, it shouldn’t be…. otherwise you may have another problem!

    The trick is to become more mindful of your breathing and extend your breaths over a longer period of time.

     

    Here are some additional tips that may help:

    1. Avoid breathing in too much, otherwise your lungs may literally explode by the time you’ve finished holding your breath.
    2. Ideally, when holding your breath, you should still feel comfortable and relaxed.
    3. If you start to feel light headed understand that this can be quite normal, but stop if needed or you feel like you may faint.
    4. The reason you could be feeling that way is because you are not breathing in enough oxygen compared to the amount of CO2 you are breathing out.

     

    Diaphragmatic Breathing (Deep Breathing) - Man breathing deeply

     

    How to Use Deep Breathing During Meditation

    Deep breathing is regularly used in meditation to help you relax and get yourself in the zone.

    Alongside the many other benefits of meditation, breathing properly can really help to improve your focus, mood, stress tolerance and blood pressure.

    Here are some basic steps you can follow to add deep breathing into your meditation practice (if you haven’t already).

    1. Find a quiet space
    2. Close your eyes
    3. Take a deep breath in for 4 counts (4 seconds)
    4. Hold your breath for 7 seconds (breathe into your stomach not your chest)
    5. Gradually, let go of the air and breathe out consistently for 8 seconds
    6. Repeat this process until you start to notice your body relaxing
    7. Return your breathing to a natural breathing rhythm as you begin your meditation practice

     

    Master Deep Breathing Through Meditation

    If you’d like to learn more about deep breathing and how to do it, we teach this and more in our Journey to Calm Meditation Course.

    Icon Journey to Calm Course

    If you’re not ready to start the complete 14-Day meditation course, you can learn about the basics of meditation with our FREE / Lite version.

    Get started with the Journey to Calm Lite Course, by entering your details below.

     

    Related Articles of Meditation for Beginners Series:
    How to Meditate in the Morning: A Guide for Beginners

    How to Meditate in the Morning: A Guide for Beginners

    Been thinking about starting a meditation routine but have no idea where to start?

    Yep, this is a common thing for most of us, especially when starting out.

    We want to do it…

    We plan to do it…

    But when it comes to actually doing it, we have NO IDEA what we’re doing or where to start….

    How to meditate in the morning

    Don’t worry, if this is you. I was once there too.

    In the beginning, I particularly struggled with getting comfortable during meditation. If you haven’t heard much about my story you can check out a brief snippet here.

    But I knew that overtime, I would be able to learn how to meditate in the morning like others who raved about it.

    What you may be surprised to learn, is that meditation has been scientifically prove to have a profound range of benefits. Not only for our mental health but also our physical health and spirituality.

    That’s why it can be so advantageous to meditate in the morning, before you’ve started your day.

     

     

    The Benefits of Morning Meditation

    When you meditate in the morning, you are setting your day up on a positive by:

    • Relieving any stress, anxiety or tension that you wake up with that day
    • Reducing any stress or anxiety from the previous day
    • Getting you to focus your mind and improve concentration
    • Centring your mind and re-energising your body
    • Gradually waking you up to the day, rather than being shocked by an abrupt alarm (that scares the Bajeesus out of you!!)
    • Giving you a chance to stretch out any stiffness and tune in to you body and how you’re feeling

    You can check out the whole range of benefits associated with meditation here;

    Related Article:

     

    How to Meditate in the Morning

    Common Barriers When Learning to Meditate in the Morning

    When trying to establish a morning meditation routine, there are a couple of common challenging that newbies tend to experience:

    1. That inner voice convinces us that we’d rather sleep in than get up 10 minutes early
    2. We find our mind getting regularly distracted due to thinking about what we need to do on our daily to do list
    3. We don’t allow enough time to meditate and to come out of meditation relaxed. Therefore, you find yourself rushing around to get ready for work, which totally contradicts the practice in the first place.
    4. You struggle with being distracted by others (eg. Family members, kids, etc)
    5. You feel bad potentially waking your partner up due to getting up earlier than they do

    If you’re planning to meditate in the morning, the best thing you can do is to notify those around you that your meditation practice is a “no disturb time”.

    Find a time that best suits everyone (especially if your a mum with young kids) and then communicate the importance of having this you time to your partner and also your kids.

    If you’re single, you dealt the much easier straw!!

    Communication is key guys, and setting expectations for those around you.

    If you don’t communicate, you’ll only get frustrated when people interrupt you which again, defies the point of your practice.

    Also ensure to get into the habit of getting up early enough to allow time for meditation, but also time to come back to the present post-meditation.

    If you’re a newbie starting from scratch 10 minutes for both should be plenty (Meditate for 3-5 minutes, and then have 5 minutes either side).

     

    How to Meditate in the Morning

    Here are the basic steps of meditation:

    1. Get into your preferred meditation pose  – take a seat on a chair, get into a seated pose or lie down on the floor
    2. Turn on your preferred meditation music or playlistThis can help to get you into the right mood and also help with concentration
    3. Set a timer for meditation – That way, you won’t feel stressed if your meditation session goes over time
    4. Breath in and out, deeply and slowly – This will help you to relax your body and tune in to the present moment
    5. Focus on your breath and tune in to your body and surroundings –  This again, helps you to focus on the present moment rather than worrying about the past of future things you need to do for the day
    6. As the mind wanders, bring your attention back – whether it be to your breath, the music or a guided meditation

     

    The above steps are a very basic summary on how to meditate, but there is a lot more detail that you’re likely to need to learn to help you along the way.

    If you need some additional guidance and help navigating through the steps of meditation, check out our complete Journey to Calm Meditation Course.

    Icon Journey to Calm Course

    In this course, I teach you:

    • How to meditate in the morning
    • How to build a meditation habit and daily routine
    • The importance of addressing myths and common challenges people face in the beginning
    • Many other tips and tricks that can help you on your meditation journey

    I also highlight some strategies you can implement to help you meditate in the morning, even when you’re not a morning person!

    If you’re not quite ready for a full blown course, why not check out our FREE / Lite version.

    In the Lite version of the course, you’ll gain an insight into the basics of meditation, how it can benefit our health, how I use meditation for stress and anxiety relief, and also a sneak peak inside the complete Meditation course.

    That way you can decide where it’s something you’d like to progress with.

    Get started with the FREE / Lite version of the Journey to Calm Course by registering your details below. 

    How I Meditate for Stress Relief & Anxiety

    How I Meditate for Stress Relief & Anxiety

    Coping with stress and anxiety can be tough. It’s can also be a pretty vicious downward spiral.

    You often start out feeling stressed because of a demanding situation at work, home or with family / friends.

    As you become more stressed, you start to notice that you’re stressed, causing even more stress because you don’t want to be stressed!

    Your body starts to get tired and burnt-out but there’s no way in hell that you can slow down right now!

    You continue to push yourself…

    Overtime, you notice that your body and brain are dropping the ball.

    You start making silly mistakes that are out of character and you’re beginning to fall behind.

    But still, there’s no time to rest!!

    You continue to push yourself BUT your body is now so full of stress that it’s getting out of control and you can’t manage.

    Argh!!

    Meditation for Stress relief

    Get my feels?

    I know for me particularly, this stress and anxiety cycle was something I dealt with on weekly basis. I found it hard to manage.

    You’d often find me stressed about something, whether the trigger was study, exams, work, family dramas, household chores etc.

    When you’re busy or a high-achiever, finding some degree of stress relief can be challenging – especially when you feel there’s no time in your day for down time.

    But today, I’m going to blow your mind….and help a brother / sister out.

     

    How I Found Stress Relief Through Meditation

    Whilst on my journey towards becoming a healthier and happier me, I discovered an awesome, free and basic technique to relieve stress and anxiety…

    Yep, as per the not so subtle headline, it was: Meditation

    [Dun dun dun….! ]  Is your mind blown yet?

    Ok well, maybe it wasn’t all that mind blowing….

    BUT if you haven’t got on the meditation train yet my friend, it’s time to buy your ticket.

    For those who haven’t heard of meditation before are are wondering “what the heck is meditation?”, it’s really not as scary or complicated as many think it out to be.

    It’s actually a pretty simple concept.

    Meditation has been proven to have many benefits for our mental health, physical health and soul.

    That’s why I initially thought I’d give it a try.

    Below, I’m going to talk more about meditation and how I meditate for stress relief and to cope better with anxiety symptoms.

     

     

    Why I Meditate for Stress Relief

    When I was getting started with meditation, there were so many myths about meditation.

    • Did I have to be religious to get the most benefit?
    • Would I need a lot of time to meditate and yield results?
    • Can I meditate when living at home with my family due to the distractions?
    • Will it really halp me find stress relief?
    • What if I can’t switch off my mind or thoughts?

    So many doubts circled around i my head…BUT I decided to give it a go anyway.

    After all, what did I have to lose??

    Since then, I have been practicing regular meditation for over 3 years and it has had a profound impact on my mental and physical health.

    Meditation has enabled me to:

    • Enjoy taking moment to pause, reflect, focus and live in the now
    • Gain greater clarity around my thoughts, rather than them being scattered and a tangled mess ALL THE TIME
    • To reduce anxiety and find stress relief before I start my day
    • Settle any stress or anxiety symptoms that I am experiencing at the time
    • Slow down my thoughts and focus on my priorities
    • Become more self aware, and also aware of others
    • Have more balanced and sustained energy during my day
    • Build a more positive mindset
    • Have more appreciation for the things I have in my life right now, rather than the things I don’t and worries about the future.

     

    How to meditate for stress relief and anxiety

     

    How to Meditate for Stress Relief

    Meditation can help you to gain insight into the inner workings of your mind and become more self aware.

    You learn to remain open and accept what your mind brings to surface (the good and the bad) and to let go of any emotions, stress or anxiety that you have been holding onto.

    But, there are many different types of meditation which can make it at times, overwhelming for beginners.

    Based on my own experience, I suggest that most beginners to start out with a basic meditation practice such as mindfulness meditation. Especially if your main goal is learning to meditate for stress relief.

    Mindfulness meditation is great because it teaches you the basic concepts and principles behind meditation. This knowledge can then be transferred to and built upon for most other types of meditation.

    If you’re interested in learning how to meditate for stress relief, I teach the basic concepts of meditation and guide your through each step in detail in the complete Journey to Calm Meditation Course.

    In the complete 14-day course you learn:
    • How anxiety & chronic stress impact our health and stress relieving activities you can do to combat it
    • About natural remedies you can add into your weekly routine for stress relief
    • How to build a positive and un-shakeable mindset by overcoming limiting beliefs and using positive affirmations, gratitude and mindfulness.
    • About the importance of self-care and some easy things you can do during your week to feel happier and fill your cup up
    • How to Meditate and what you need to know before getting started
    • How to maintain a good posture to improve the quality of your practice
    • How to choose a meditation pose that suits your body and improves comfort and focus
    • Simple techniques to create a Meditation room that you love and that heightens your meditation practice
    • Simple ways to reduce back & joint pain
    • How to build a fool-proof Meditation Routine in 14 days.

    If this is something you’re interested in checking out, you can read more about the course here. 

    If you’re not quite ready to commit to the complete course, you can always start with our FREE / Lite version of the course here.

    In the mini version, you will learn about the basics of meditation, why meditation is great for stress relief and managing anxiety, and also gain a great insight into the content inside the compete Journey to Calm Course.

    Get started with the FREE / Lite version today, by registering your details below:

    7 Proven Benefits of Meditation for Your Mental, Emotional & Physical Health

    7 Proven Benefits of Meditation for Your Mental, Emotional & Physical Health

    Are you considering getting started with meditation but are unsure whether the juice is worth the squeeze?

    Well… a few years a go, that was me.

    I was in the same boat!

    I’d heard about the benefits of meditation, but it took me over a course of a year to finally commit to trying and to adopting it into my routine.

    Mainly because:

    • I found it challenging to justify taking “time out” of my busy day to meditate
    • I felt like I was wasting time meditating, when I could be doing other “more important” things
    • I didn’t feel any different after my first few meditations or like I was getting any results
    • I thought meditation was a bit too “woo woo” for me.

    No thank you meme - getting started with the benefits of meditation

    Sound familiar?

    BUT, once I learned about the array of possible benefits from regular meditation, and the importance of maintaining a consistent routine to experience change, I decided to push myself through the doubt.

    AND, it was the best decision I’ve ever made!!

    Overtime, I noticed that things were gradually changing.

    And now, I can proudly say that some of the benefits I have experienced include:

    • My stress & anxiety symptoms have decreased
    • I feel happier and more content than ever
    • I have a better understanding of myself and my body
    • I am more self-aware and aware of others
    • I have greater control over my thoughts and emotions
    • I find pleasure and gratitude in the small things
    • I’m not as impacted by others or their opinions of me
    • I’m much less go go go all the time – and can now find a state of peace and comfort that I’ve never had before
    • I’m more focused and productive than ever
    • I’m more resilient in stressful times and able to keep a level head space.

     

    But what if you don’t have time…

    For so many of us, being in a constant state of stress and tiredness has become the norm.

    And although it makes us unhappy, impatient and frustrated, we often consider ourselves too busy to change.

    In some cases, we even prevent ourselves from doing that “one thing” that could help and potentially change our lives, because we convince ourselves that we just DON’T HAVE TIME!

    So, we put it off.

    Well I’m telling you now…

    Having this mentality is wrong and soon, you’re going to burn-out or crumble from all the prolonged stress on your body.

    This is why learning how to meditate, even for 5-10 minutes a day, can be so helpful!

    In this article I’m going to highlight the proven benefits of meditation and why meditation can be a godsend, when you know how to do it properly.

     

     With a regular meditation routine, you maximise your likelihood of experiencing the mental and physical health benefits of meditation. 

    Those who claim they have not experienced any benefits of meditation, are usually those who:

    1. Don’t put in the work
    2. Don’t keep consistent or
    3. Try to bite off more than they can chew and get overwhelmed

    But for those who meditate properly, you are practically guaranteed some of the proven benefits below.

    If you’d like to learn how to meditate, ensure to register for the FREE / Lite version of the complete Journey to Calm Meditation Course.

      

    The Health Benefits of Meditation

    Meditation can offer the following mental and physical health benefits:

    • Helps to reduce and relieve the symptoms of stress and anxiety (1)(4)(8)
    • Can improve productivity during your day
    • Lowers blood pressure, cholesterol and your risk of heart disease and stroke 
    • Helps to improve sleep and insomnia
    • Reduces burn out (2)
    • Increases your ability to focus and learn
    • Promotes happiness (3), improves mood (4), well-being, a positive mindset, greater quality of life and inner peace
    • Gives your body time to recharge so you have more energy throughout the day
    • Can help to reduce pain in the body
    • Improves your resilience and patience, enabling you to cope more effectively in difficult situations and with the busyness of daily life
    • Has been shown to slow down the ageing of your brain (7)
    • Increases the amount of grey matter in the brain (the area responsible for muscle control, seeing, hearing, memory, emotions, and speech)
    • Let’s you observe your thoughts subjectively, gain greater perspective of yourself and your surroundings
    • Can improve quality of relationships (5) by becoming more attentive of others and your surroundings
    • Become more self-aware and more able to cope with and manage difficult emotions (6)

    Given the extensive benefits of meditation, many choose to meditate for the very real and positive changes it makes to their lives, not out of any obligation to do so.

    How to meditate for stress relief and anxiety

    How Meditation Improved My Productivity 

    Did you know?

    Finding 10-15 minutes each morning to meditate could actually make you more productive.

    I wanted to expand a bit more on this, as this is one of the greatest benefits of meditation that I have experienced for myself from regular practice.

    It might sound strange that sitting still and doing nothing for 10 minutes, can makes you achieve more in your day…

    I think the reason it has had such a profound impact on my productivity is because I am now:

    • Able to think clearer with less distraction
    • More focused on my priorities, rather than trying to get EVERYTHING done or filling my time with “busyness” / meaningless tasks
    • Able to make faster decisions

     

    How I Use Meditation to Relieve Stress & Anxiety Symptoms

    Did you know?

    These days 60% of all doctor appointments are related to STRESS?

    And, although many of us experience its symptoms, few know how to effectively manage or reduce its side effects.

    Meditation can help to reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and depression, and also reduce the physical side effects of chronic stress and anxiety on our bodies..

    Previously, I’ve had difficulties managing my own anxiety and stress levels.

    But since adopting a regular meditation routine, I feel so much more relaxed, in control and able to more better control my emotions.

    Of course, I still get stressed from time to time, but not nearly as much as I used to before I discovered meditation AND, now when I do get stressed, I’m much better at handling it.

    Although I’m yet to master it, meditation has already helped me to come a long way. It’s truly been one of the most beneficial habits I’ve developed.

    I truly wish the same for you.

    If you’d like to read more about my personal story with managing anxiety and stress with meditation, you can do so here.

    Girl learning how to meditate in forest

     

    How to Get Started with Meditation

    As a beginner, meditation is definitely something that is easier to grasp when you have someone guiding your through it.

    Trust me, I know!!

    For years, I’ tried to learn how to mediate on my own…

    But, I can tell you from first hand experience, it’s so much easier when you have someone teaching you how to do it, rather than just trying to wing it all.

    Learning from someone will also save you:

    • The disappointment from failed attempts
    • Lots of trial and error
    • A ton of frustration
    • A lot of wasted time

    If you’re interested in experiencing some of the benefits of meditation, you can get started now with the “Journey to Calm” Meditation for Beginners course.

    Icon Journey to Calm Course

     

    This course is designed to save you time, confusion and frustration when learning how to meditate.

    In the complete Journey to Calm Course you’ll:

    • Learn theory and tips around the basics of meditation, mindset, mindfulness and self care
    • Have me guide you through 21 days of meditation.
    • Learn how to build a meditation routine that suits your currently lifestyle and routine
    • Learn the steps of meditation in a simplified and practical way.

    If you’re not ready to jump straight into the complete 14-Day Meditation course, try our FREE / Lite version.

    In this introductory mini course for beginners, you’ll learn more about:

    • The basics of meditation
    • How it can improve overall health
    • How meditation can be practiced to relieve stress and anxiety symptoms.

    Get started today by entering your details below.

    Next Up:  The Proven Benefits of Deep Breathing for Meditation & Stress Relief

    10 Simple Tips to Find Greater Happiness in Life

    10 Simple Tips to Find Greater Happiness in Life

    Why is it that so many of us struggle with finding true Happiness?

    Regardless of the many wonders and joys in the world or even the things in our lives that are well and amazing, many of us trudge through our daily lives unfulfilled, sad and dissatisfied.

    We all want to find happiness….

    But it’s so easy for us to feel unhappy with ourselves, unhappy with those around us, unhappy with the jobs we have, dissatisfied with the direction of our lives and are always left wanting more.

    I know for me, unhappiness is usually a result of focusing on the wrong things and measuring my self-worth against others or material possessions that have no relevance to my value as a person.

    Maybe you’re doing something similar?

    Based on my experience, I was unhappiest when I was:

    • Working long hours in a job tI didn’t enjoy
    • Forfeiting my health for money
    • Time-poor and too busy to invest time in the things I truly loved
    • Spending my money on things that had little value or return, and
    • Taking key relationships for granted

    But it wasn’t really my fault. After all, that’s kind of what I was “taught” to do by people around me – colleagues, family, friends etc.

     

    Society Flaws

    Unfortunately, from a young age we’re all imprinted to strive for what society defines as “success” and “happiness” in life.

    We’re taught to chase money, wealth, fame, power, good looks and spend a lot of our time following other people’s lives on social media or TV, rather than living our own.

    But what if the system’s wrong? 

    The problem with all of these things is that none of them will make you happy on the inside, not in the long-term anyway.

    I can tell you from first hand…

    Large sums of cash in your bank account and a busy job DOES NOT = Happiness. 

    If you don’t know much about my turbulent story – here’s where you can get up to speed.

    Truly, a faster car, a bigger house, a pair of Gucci sunglasses, a promotion or even travelling the world, isn’t going to make you a happier person.

    No, no…

    Happiness comes from within and starts, first and foremost, with YOU.

    here’s 10 simple steps to help you bring more happiness into your life.

     

    P.S> If you’re more of a visual learner, you can check out what I cover in this article in the video below.

     

    10 Simple Tips to Help You Find Greater Happiness in Life:

     

    1) Be an Optimist

    Find the good in every situation.

    To live a life of happiness, it is key to see every experience as an opportunity to learn and grow.

    Even if it was unpleasant or frustrating at the time…

    Express gratitude. Appreciate all the amazing things and people you have in your life, the job you have, the house you live in, the food on your plate and the comfortable bed you’ll sleep in tonight.

    Regardless of your situation, there’s always someone who’s worse off than you, and who’d dream to live even ONE DAY in your shoes.

    Given the overwhelming number of people living in poverty every day, take a moment to pause, take a breath and smile. Trust me, you’re doing just fine. All will be ok.

     

    2) Live with Meaning

    Find your life’s purpose.  

    Those who truly find happiness in their lives know their skills and their strengths.

    They deliberately build their lives around activities which allow them to use these skills, and for the greater good.

    Consider your strengths and the activities that make you truly happy.

    And by happy… I mean warm, lit up and beaming from the inside out!

    For example, do you love:

    • Teaching?
    • Helping others?
    • Going on hikes in nature?
    • Being creative?
    • Writing?
    • Learning?
    • Seeking new adventures?

    It can be a massive happiness booster to add some of these activities into your weekly routine.

    Schedule time in your diary for your passions. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes a week.

    Seeing gradual progress towards these achievements will be intrinsically rewarding and is a key factor in finding true happiness.

    It also gives you greater purpose and direction in your life which will make you feel awesome.

     

    3) Never Stop Learning

    Maintain an open mind.

    In life, there’s no such thing as being too educated, too wise, too kind, too loving or too travelled.

    As humans, we are fluid and adaptive beings. We love to evolve and grow from newly acquired knowledge and experiences.

    That is why you must use each day to learn something new and STOP playing everything so safe!

    Yes, I know

    Stepping outside of your comfort zone can be scary. But once you do it, you will feel a new sense of empowerment unlike anything else you’ve experienced before.

    Find new ways to challenge yourself, take risks and step outside of your comfort zones.

    Learn from mistakes and failures and embrace new experiences and opportunities.

    Seeing progress towards our goals or even growth within ourselves, are some of the greatest sources of true happiness.

    Happiness in Life is to Never stop Learning

     

    4) Live in the Now

    Stop to smell the roses.

    Many become so tunnel-focused on achieving future goals that they forget to embrace and appreciate the now. I myself, I have been guilty of this.

    Take time out of your day, every day, to appreciate your surroundings.

    It could be as simple as:

    • Taking a moment to notice the vastness of the blue sky above you
    • Smelling the fresh scents of your neighbours flower garden
    • Listening to the sounds of birds chirping in the trees
    • Observing the diversity of people’s fashion as they pass you on the street, or
    • Listening to your favourite song one more time
    • Admiring the size of city skyscrapers as you commute to work.

    If you don’t take a moment to stop and live in the moment, you’ll miss all the small things that make life so great.

    Make the most of each day, every day. This will help you to find happiness, even from the small inconsequential things.

    Here’s 5 simple ways you can be more mindful during your day.

     

    5) Find Happiness Through Meditation & Mindfulness

    During your week, it’s important to take a moment to clear your mind.

    Meditation is a great way to bring your focus back to the present.

    When you focus on the present moment, you are much more likely to feel centred, happy and at peace. Meditation and mindfulness can help you with this.

    And no, you don’t need to be a “pretzeled” yogi or a Buddhist monk to reap the health benefits of meditation. Anyone can engage in meditation exercises… even if it’s just for 5-10 minutes each morning.

    When practiced regularly, meditation can help to reduce negative thoughts, anxiety, stress and depression and increase feelings of peace, calmness and serenity.

    If you’ve heard about meditation and are curious to learn more about it, sign up for our Free introductory meditation e-course below.

     

     

    6) Be Kind to Others & Yourself

    This one is pretty simple. Just be nice!

    You don’t have to be an angel or saint 100% of the time. Just be more respectful and kind to those around you.

    Doing nice things for people can trigger feelings of happiness by making us feel warm and fuzzy due to the natural dopamine (happiness hormone) release we get from doing so.

    Volunteer your time, help others and be giving.

    They may not always return the favour or physically show their appreciation, but you’ll reap rewards in the long run, even if it’s just good Karma.

     

    7) Nurture Your Body Properly

    Your body is your temple and you only get one.

    Instead of treating your body like a rubbish bin, fuel it with nutritious and healthy whole foods.

    Engage in regular exercise (even if it’s just a 30-minute walk on your lunch break) and strive to get the 7-9 hours of sleep that your body needs for optimum performance.

    This will make you feel good on the inside and look great on the outside.

    When you feel run down or sick, give you body a chance to rest, repair and recharge. Even if it means not getting that one last task done and ticked off your to do list.

    Self care is so critical, especially if you’re a high-achiever and tend to push yourself to burn out.

     

    8) Appreciate You for You

    Learn to love yourself as you are.

    Each of us has our own quirks and insecurities. It’s how you manage and respond to these insecurities that will determine whether you thrive or self-destruct over time.

    You have 3 options. You can either:

    1. Choose to hate yourself or that part of your body; putting yourself down each time you look in the mirror over something you cannot change.
    2. Take action to make a change. If you’re overweight, go to the gym and start eating properly.
    3. Accept it and move on. Identify all the other characteristics that you love about yourself. Maybe you have great hair? A killer smile? A kind and loving heart? A natural wisdom about the world?

    We’re all different and have unique features and personalities. Embrace it!

    Accept yourself as you are – flaws and all.

    Be grateful for what you do have rather than stressing about the things you don’t.

    No one is perfect – so why are you trying so hard to be?

    Nurture Relationships to feel a greater sense of happiness

     

    9) Cherish Your Relationships

    Relationships are one of the biggest sources of happiness in our lives.

    Yet in our busy society, we become so easily caught up with other responsibilities that we neglect those around us.

    In the pursuit of money, fame and fortune many of us overlook the needs of our family and friendships. If managed poorly it can lead you to a very depressing place.

    To be happy, you must focus on surrounding yourself with a supportive circle of family and friends, a loving relationship and a thriving social life.

    Cultivate and build connections (no, not through Instagram or Facebook), but actually in person.

    By doing so, you will experience greater levels of joy, attract higher quality relationships into your life and satisfy your sense of belonging.

    Rid yourself of pessimists or gossipers.

    Disconnect from people in your life who make you feel bad, unworthy or unconfident.

    Instead, make a conscious effort to spend quality time with happy people, family and friends who make you feel good, support and encourage you and take delight in your good fortunes.

    In return, offer them the same.

     

    10) Be Resilient 

    Learn and grow in the face of challenge.

    When you get smacked down in life, remember…. life is a rollercoaster.

    Don’t let it get you down.

    Instead, rise up from failure, take on new challenges and adapt readily to change.

    Stop taking things so seriously (as I used to). The truth is that you can’t control everything or have your way all the time (even though I used to wish we could).

    Sometimes, life can push you down a different path which can be scary, or even exhilarating.

    So ease up tiger!

    Let your hair down every now and again and enjoy the ride. All will work out in the end.

     

    For me, these 10 things have had a significant impact on my life.

     

    I hope for your sake, that they have helped trigger even just ONE NEW IDEA on how you could do something differently. ONE SMALL THING you could change in your life to be a happier and healthier you.

    If you need help with creating a life you love and that lights you up every day, I can help!

    We’ve designed a course to specifically help you to become a happier and healthier you in 21 days.

    You’ll learn how to improve all aspects of your life (physical, emotional and mental health) and how you spend your time.

    I’ll teach you a simple routine to maximise results each day, so you can make progress towards your biggest goals and start you day with the things you love and that make you feel amazing (rather than forcing yourself out of bed each morning).

    Introducing….

    The Journey to Happiness Course!

    Journey to Happiness Course

    Inside the Journey to Happiness course you’ll learn…

    • How anxiety & chronic stress impact our health and stress relieving activities you can do to combat it
    • About natural remedies you can add into your weekly routine for stress relief
    • How to create your dream life and Identify areas of improvement
    • About the science behind what makes people truly happy from the inside out
    • How to create a meaningful vision board that can help to motivate you and keep you on track towards achieving your biggest goals
    • About the importance of self-care and some easy things you can do during your week to feel happier and fill your cup up
    • How to build a positive and unshakeable mindset by overcoming limiting beliefs and using positive affirmations, gratitude and mindfulness.
    • About Meditation and why it can be beneficial for overall health, happiness and productivity
    • What Holistic health is and why having a healthy mind, body and soul is critical for overall health & happiness
    • Gain insight into whole foods and how much sleep, exercise and water you should be having/doing each day.
    • How to build a killer morning routine in 21 days to improve health, happiness, life satisfaction and productivity.

    Click Here to Learn More About the Course

     

    If you’re not ready to jump into the complete course right now, get started with our FREE Journey to Happiness Checklist.

    With the checklist, you won’t receive as much value or guidance compared to the course, however it will give you insight into a list of activities you can do each day to live a happier and healthier life.

    Think of it as a mini small sneak peak inside what is covered in detail in the Journey to Happiness course.

    Enter your details below to get sent your free Journey to Happiness Checklist:

     

    Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners | The 8 Step Introductory Guide

    Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners | The 8 Step Introductory Guide

    Mindfulness meditation is much easier to understand and implement when broken down into simple steps. 

    Although the concept behind Mindfulness Meditation is pretty simple and basic it does take practice to strengthen your ability to focus for extended periods of time.

    Just as you would build your muscles at the gym, meditation takes consistent and repeated practice.

    You simply can’t expect to be a master after your first session.  Well, that’s what I learned anyway….

    My journey of learning mindfulness meditation was full of a sh** load of frustration, impatience and inconsistency.

    I would put so much pressure on myself to be a master from the start, but these expectations were too high and unrealistic.

    My intense focus on seeing quick results ruined and took away from the entire experience, which would result in my procrastinating with my sessions.

    Don’t be like me kids….

    You must understand that meditation is a skill that you build up over time. There’s no cutting corners and yes, you actually need to do the work and keep consistent.

    The results may not be visible immediately but I promise you…they will come.

    In this article, I will give a basic break down of the steps on “what” to do to meditate but if you want to learn “how” to meditate, I teach this in much more detail in the Journey to Calm Meditation Course for Beginners.

    If you’re not quite ready to jump into the complete course, you can start your meditation journey with the FREE / Lite version of the course below:

     

    Here’s a basic overview of the basic steps you want to follow to start your meditation practice.

     

    1. Prepare Your Meditation Space

    Preparing your meditation space before is and important step because it can help to create the right ambience and get you in the mood for your mindfulness meditation practice.

    You may like to:

    • Dim or turn off the lights
    • Burn some candles, a Himalayan salt lamp, incense or essential oils 
    • Play some background nature or instrumental meditation music
    • Lay out your yoga mat or meditation pillow to add comfort during your meditation practice
    • Give your head, neck and shoulders a quick stretch to prepare your body and release any built up tension that could make you uncomfortable in your meditation pose

     

    2. Get Into a Comfortable Position

    Finding the right meditation pose for your meditation practice is really REALLY important.

    Sitting in the wrong pose during your meditation could result in back pain, discomfort and make you procrastinate with or even resent your practice.

    When meditating, some prefer to sit cross-legged on the floor, others prefer lying down. The key is to choose a pose that is most comfortable for your body. 

    Related:

     

    3. Choose Your Type of Meditation 

    The next step of learning to meditate is to choose which types of meditation you would like to do during your practice. 

    Despite as many beginners think, there are many different types of meditation. There are some that can be a bit complicated and overwhelming for beginners.

    That’s why it’s a good idea to choose a meditation style that matches your experience and preferences – I usually recommend mindfulness meditation for beginners. That’s also the style I’ll be focusing on within this article.

    Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners - Meditation Room

     

    4. Set Your Timer 

    In terms of how long to set you timer for, it truly depends…

    If you’re new to meditation, it’s usually best to start small and work your way up. Starting with 3-5 minutes, usually suffices.

    Starting small also makes your meditation sessions seem  less daunting. It will also help prevent you from procrastinating due to feeling that it’s a burden on your time.  5 minutes out of your 12 hour day is nothing guys…. therefore, you’re less likely to put it off.

    As you improve, gradually extend your sessions to 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, then 30.

    Don’t let ego or judgement get involved in this process. Everyone starts at the same level.

     

    5. Close Your Eyes & Breathe Deeply

    As you close your eyes, start to focus on your natural breathing rhythm and take a few deep breaths to relax you.

    In the Journey to Calm Course, I explain diaphragmatic breathing in more detail and how this technique can be used to increase relaxation during your mindfulness meditation practice.

    This style of breathing is a great skill to learn for life in general as it can also help you to relieve stress, anxiety or any built up tension in your body during the day.

    As you enter your meditation practice, it’s a good idea to allow your body to adopt it’s natural breathing rhythm and just simply observe how your body moves with each breath.

    How does your chest, shoulders, rib cage and stomach feel?

     

    6. Check in With Your Body and Surroundings

    Take a moment to tune in to your body and your surroundings.

    • How does your body feel right now, in the present moment?
    • What is the quality of your mind? Are stressed, tired, anxious, happy or relaxed?
    • Notice the sounds of your surrounding environment but remain unattached

    Enjoy a moment of pure mindfulness, by living in the present moment.

    Don’t worry about the things you have on your to-do list for the day. Let go of worries or baggage from your past.

    Just enjoy the moment for what it is.

    Related:

     

    7. As the Mind Wanders…

    During mindfulness meditation, it is completely normal to have moments where you experience a lapse in focus. You may become distracted with a thought, a noise in your environment or maybe even an itching sensation on your body.

    Meditation is a process of recognition. That is, noticing when your mind steps off track and then gently bringing it back to attention.

    If this happens to you during your practice, don’t be too hard on yourself. Just take a deep breath and return your focus to your breath.

     

    8. Stop Overthinking & Let Go

    As a meditation newbie back in the day, I found it really hard to maintain concentration and would regularly get distracted by my thoughts. #anxietylife.

    I also felt really awkward and had no idea what I was doing. Like who wants to hang in silence with their own thoughts…. well at the time, not me.

    I’d often worry whether I was doing things right or wrong. For example:

    • Were my hands in the right place?
    • If my nose gets itchy, can I scratch it?
    • Should I be “ommm-ing” or saying something?”
    • “I’m not feeling anything, maybe I’m doing it all wrong???”

    You get my drift….

    But meditation is not a one-size-fits all, and everyone’s experience is different.

    Just because your boyfriend’s friend’s sister, Doris, claims she felt results immediately after her first session of meditation, doesn’t mean that you’ll experience the exact same thing…

    You could, sure… but it’s always good idea to keep your mind open and enjoy your own journey.Try not to compare yourself to other and don’t concern yourself with all the nitty-gritty details.

    Just relax and let go.

    Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners meme - stop overthinking

     

    Want to Learn How to Meditate Properly?

    If you’re interested in learning the “How” of the meditation puzzle, I highly recommend that you start your journey with our Journey to Calm Meditation Course for Beginners.

    In this course, I teach you all about mindfulness meditation and delve deeper into exactly what to do in each step mentioned above to improve your likelihood of success.

    I also save you a lot of time, frustration and pain as a newbie… I truly wish I had this course when I was getting started, as opposed to all the time I wasted and confusion I felt trying to do it all on my own.

    Get started with the complete Journey to Calm Course here.

    If you’re not quite ready to jump into the complete course, you can learn more about the basics of meditation, my journey, and how meditation can be used to relieve stress and anxiety in the FREE “Lite” Version of the course.

    Get started with the FREE / Lite version of the course by clicking the link above or by entering your details below. 

    Anxiety vs an Anxiety Disorder – What’s the difference?

    Anxiety vs an Anxiety Disorder – What’s the difference?

    I’ll never forget the first day I was told I had anxiety…

    I was in high-school, trying to deal with the divorce of my parents, achieve high grades for my VCE and navigate the varying friendship groups and at times, the bitchiness that comes with high school life.

    I would regularly worry about my future and whether being an “anxious” person made me weird to others, unrelateable or unlikeable.

    Although relatively popular and with a large friendship group, I’d arrive at social situations feeling nervous, sweaty palmed and worried about saying something stupid, leaving myself humiliated or centre of attention.

    I was afraid of being judged and cared so much about what others thought of me, and whether they could sense my insecurities through my confident facade.

    I rarely spoke to anyone about my anxiety because I thought that I was on my own and that it was unusual.

    But now, as I’ve grown older and wiser, I’ve learned that every day anxiety is actually a really common thing!

    If you suffer from anxiety, I truly want you to know that you’re never alone or need to suffer in silence. 

    In fact, anxiety is considered one of the most common mental health issues across the world.

    Below, I’ll explain the differences between anxiety / an anxiety disorder as well as a really powerful way you can overcome anxiety symptoms naturally.

    Related Articles:

     

     

    The Prevalence of Anxiety Across the World

    Here’s some interesting facts about anxiety and anxiety disorders:

    • An estimated 284 million people across the world have been diagnosed with having an anxiety disorder. And of that number, around 62 percent (170 million) are female (Our World in Data, 2017)
    • In Australia, 4% of all adults are affected by an anxiety disorder every year, making it the most common health condition in Australia (Sane.org).
    • Within the US, anxiety disorders are said to affect 40 million people.

    This makes anxiety / anxiety disorders the most prevalent mental health or neuro-developmental disorder in the world!! That’s pretty crazy!

    Here’s a break down of anxiety disorders by country:

    Despite what some will lead you to believe, anxiety is a really common thing. It’s nothing to be ashamed about or concerned about.

    Most people are expected to experience some form of anxiety in their lifetime whether it be every day anxiety, or from an anxiety disorder…

    Which I’ll explain in more detail below.

     

    What is Everyday Anxiety?

    As a rule of thumb, feelings of anxiety come as a natural response to stressors or unstable conditions in our lives. It’s our body’s natural way to respond to fear and to try and keep us safe.

    Everyone feels anxious from time to time and there are certain levels of anxiety that are both normal and even helpful in certain situations.

    For me personally, I know I’m feeling anxious when:

    • My heart rate increases or I can sense my heart throbbing in my chest
    • I can’t put words together to describe how I feel, causing me to close up to others
    • Worrisome thoughts consume and overwhelm me
    • I start overthinking and excessively planning for events or situations
    • Feel tension building in my chest and back
    • I’m over-analysing the behaviour of others around me
    • My instinct is to regain control
    • I become irritable and overly emotional
    • Feel hot and sweaty

    There are many types of anxiety symptoms that you may feel.

    You could feel anxious because you have a big exam or deadline coming up, you’re overloaded or stressed at work, you have a big social event coming up, you’re buying a house for the first time or because you need to face a personal fear (Eg. Getting an injection or climbing heights).

    In these instances, anxiety is a normal part of life. It is rational, usually short-lived and is unlikely to continue after the stressor is gone.

    Why Do We Feel Anxious?

    Feeling anxious in certain situations, especially those requiring you to face a potentially harmful or worrying event, is not only normal but necessary for survival.

    Back in our caveman days, our brain used to be on high alert for predators and incoming danger. When sensed, it would trigger an alarm and physiological response within us, usually consisting of:

    • An increased heartbeat
    • Sensitivity to our surroundings
    • Additional sweating
    • A quick release of adrenaline

    All of these responses were intended to help trigger our bodies into action. Often called the flight-or-fight response. This rapid response would enable us to physically confront or flee threats in a few seconds and get to safety.

    Nowadays, our environment has changed, but our bodies are wired exactly the same way.

    So, rather than running away from lions or tigers, our stress response is triggered by our jobs, life, money, family life, relationships and health crises.

    The problem with this is that rather than only being switched on for a short period of time or a certain event (Ie. to escape the threat) our stress response is being activated for longer periods of time.

    Now, many find it difficult to switch off, even after the stressor is gone.

    With anxiety, the fight-flight response is overstimulated, depleting your internal resources. This causes you to feel exhausted, tense and irritable by the time you finally settle down.

    This is very different compared to someone with an anxiety disorder.

    Anxiety Meme

     

    What are Anxiety Disorders?

    According to Anxiety.org, people who suffer from anxiety-related disorders feel a great degree of fear, worry or nervousness, even after the stressor has subsided.

    In some cases, they may even feel unsafe due to intrusive, extreme, negative, unrealistic or exaggerated thought patterns.

    People with anxiety disorders tend to worry about hypothetical disasters or perceived threats rather than real ones. They overthink and “over plan” in an attempt to prevent something from happening.

    They may choose not leave their house for an extended period due to fear.

    Anxiety disorders often interfere with the individual’s daily functioning and activities including going to school, work, going outside and with developing close relationships. It can also affect how they process emotions and behaviours.

    Anxiety disorders are believed to develop over time and can be caused by a combination of factors including:

    • A family history of the disorder
    • Physical health
    • Personality traits, or a
    • Stressful life event or traumatic experiences.

    Understanding the difference between everyday anxiety symptoms and an anxiety disorder is important and is why you should seek the services of a licensed health professional for an accurate diagnosis.

    Self-diagnosis is never a good idea.

    Common Types of Anxiety Disorders

    Here is a brief list of some common anxiety-related disorders. I’m not going to go into detail about them all in this article but will explain them in more depth in a future article.

    • Generalised anxiety disorder: Usually involves excessive worrying about anything and everything and not something in particular. It could even be worrying about worrying in certain cases.
    • Social anxiety disorder: This relates to people who avoid social situations due to fears of embarrassment, doing something wrong and being judged by others, often resulting in them pulling out of events.
    • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
    • Panic disorders: People who have this disorder often experience repeated panic attacks, and feel extreme and anxiety worry about having future attacks
    • Specific phobias: Relates to an intense and often irrational fear of a certain object or situation (e.g. Needles, Birds)
    • Agoraphobia: Is a disorder related to feeling extremely anxious about having a panic attack in certain situations and not being able to escape or get help

     

    How to Overcome Anxiety!

    Since being diagnosed with anxiety, I’ve tried many things to regain control over my thoughts and emotions. I was never interested in medication, and luckily my anxiety has never been bad enough to warrant it.

    Of the natural activities and remedies I tried, meditation, mindfulness, positive self-talk and holistic health have had the greatest change in my life.

    Since learning about mindfulness and how to meditate, I am SUCH A DIFFERENT PERSON!!

    • My stress & anxiety symptoms have decreased
    • I feel happier and more content than ever
    • I have a better understanding of myself and my body
    • I am more self-aware and aware of others
    • I have greater control over my thoughts and emotions
    • I find pleasure and gratitude in the small things
    • I’m not as impacted by others or their opinions of me
    • I’m much less go go go all the time  and can now find a state of peace and comfort that I’ve never had before
    • I’m more focused and productive than ever
    • I’m more resilient in stressful times and able to keep a level head space.

    Meditation has truly been a god send for me…

    That is why I created the “Journey to Calm” Meditation Course am now working my way towards becoming a certified meditation teacher.

    Icon Journey to Calm Course

    You can read more about how I use meditation to manage my anxiety & stress here.

    My aim is to help other women to better manage their stress and anxiety symptoms naturally, before turning to medication. 

    In the Journey to Calm course, I cover everything you need to know regarding meditation, building a meditation routine and reduce your stress and anxiety symptoms naturally.

    If you feel:

    • Tired of feeling stressed and anxious, but have no idea where to start or what to do,
    • Constantly overwhelmed, or like you’re too busy / don’t have time to unwind,
    • Unhappy or unfulfilled in your current life or with yourself, but are not completely sure why,
    • That there may be something wrong with you or you’ll have to deal with anxiety for the rest of your life,
    • You just can’t seem to stay MOTIVATED,

    You’re in the right place!

     

    Start your meditation journey with the FREE Lite version of the complete Journey to Calm Course, below.

    In this 5-day mini version of the course, you’ll learn about the basics of meditation and how meditation & mindfulness can be used to better cope with stress and anxiety symptoms. 

    Get started today towards becoming a happier, healthier and calmer version of you.

    Related Articles:

    What is Mindfulness Meditation? An Overview & Guide for Beginners.

    What is Mindfulness Meditation? An Overview & Guide for Beginners.

    Mindfulness is such an amazing natural therapy and has been scientifically proven to have many mental, emotional and physical health benefits. 

    Feeling constantly stressed, anxious or burnout is really taxing on our bodies.

    You may find yourself low on energy, with no time to enjoy the present or do things that fill your cup up.

    If you struggle with managing the daily demands of life and the stress and anxiety that comes with it, mindfulness can be a great technique to include in your daily routine.

    But as a newbie, some of the terminology used surrounding mindfulness and meditation can get really confusing…especially around mindfulness meditation.

    • What’s the difference between mindfulness and mindfulness meditation – or are they the same?
    • Are the concepts interchangeable?
    • What the heck is this business in the first place?

    Confusion around Mindfulness Meditation

    Yep, don’t worry, I get it…I’ve been there. 

    As a newbie, understanding the difference between mindfulness meditation and normal meditation can be a bit confusing….so I’m going to bring everything down to basics for you.

    The key thing you need to know, is:

    Yes – technically Mindfulness and Meditation are different things AND Mindfulness Meditation, is it’s own category.

    This is because Mindfulness Meditation is actually a specific type of meditation that involves combining the two concepts together.

    Let’s explore this in more detail so it’s clear as mud!

    Towards the end of this article, I’ll also answer some common FAQ’s that beginners often have about meditation.

     

    What is Mindfulness Meditation? 

    In simple terms, Mindfulness relates to your ability to be present in the moment.

    Being mindful involves being aware of where you are and what you’re doing, but are not overly reactive, distracted or overwhelmed by what’s going on around you.

    As a meditation practice, this involves taking a moment to clear your mind, relax, focus and observe wandering thoughts as they drift through your mind without any judgment. As you become distracted, you softly bring your attention back to focus.

    Mindfulness meditation can be done in the comfort of a meditation room/ space, whilst you’re walking or even at your desk at work.

    Mindfulness is a great meditation practice for beginners because the concept behind it is really simple, compared to some other types of meditation.

     

    As said by some of my favourite celebrities:

    “Meditation is all about the pursuit of nothingness. It’s like the ultimate rest. It’s better than the best sleep you’ve ever had. It’s a quieting of the mind. It sharpens everything, especially your appreciation of your surroundings. It keeps life fresh.”Hugh Jackman

     

    “It feels good. Kinda like when you have to shut your computer down, just sometimes when it goes crazy, you just shut it down and when you turn it on, it’s okay again. That’s what meditation is to me.” Ellen DeGeneres

    So there you go. You must be on to something good…

     

    If you’d like to learn more about how to use mindfulness meditation to reduce stress and anxiety, and become a happier, healthier and more relaxed version of you, ensure to sign up for the:

    In this short e-course you’ll gain an insight into the basics of mindfulness meditation and how you can use it to manage and relieve stress and anxiety symptoms.

    I’ll touch on this in a bit more detail later in this article, but first – let’s touch on some common Meditation FAQ’s.

    P.S> Here’s a video version of this post in case you prefer watching rather than reading:

     

    FAQ’s about Mindfulness Meditation

    1. How often should I meditate?

    Once a day is usually ideal and most achievable, especially given our busy schedules.

    Some prefer to do it more frequently (eg. in the morning and at night). As a newbie, I suggest that it’s probably best to only commit yourself to once a day. This will make it much easier and less of a time burden to turn it into a daily habit,

    Note: At first, meditation may seem like a bit of a chore or another task to tick off your to-do list. BUT the more you practice, the more you’ll start to notice the benefits in your daily life.

    View meditation as a moment of luxury and peace – some you time… that can be quite rare to get these days.

     

    2. How long should I meditate for?

    As a beginner, just start with 2-3 minutes each day – particularly in the first week. This way your meditation practice won’t feel like a burden on your time.

    Also, if you try to extend your meditation sessions too early, you’ll likely find yourself struggling to concentrate for the entire time. This can cause you to end your sessions feeling frustrated and deflated. We don’t want that!

    As your attention improves, you can then extend your sessions up to 15-30 minutes.

     

    3. I find it difficult to concentrate during my sessions. Why is this the case?

    It’s quite common for beginners to find it challenging to concentrate in the first few sessions of meditation, but this is normal. 

    Even I myself, and other experienced regular meditators have days where we find it hard to focus.

    That’s why you want to choose a time in the day where you’re not engaged in thought-provoking activities beforehand. This is why morning sessions can be better (when your mind is clear).

    If you find yourself struggling to maintain focus due to fidgeting, it could be worth giving your neck and body a quick stretch before you start.

     

    4. I find sitting upright and cross-legged uncomfortable. Are there other positions I can try?

    Yes! absolutely and I’m glad you asked. When I was first getting started with meditation, I too found some sitting positions uncomfortable. Especially if I was meditating for longer than 5 minutes.

    If you can’t get comfortable during meditation because you get back pain or muscle tension, I’d highly recommend getting a meditation pillow or yoga mat. It will make your practice much more comfortable.

    When I was starting out, it took me a while to rip the band-aid off and buy my first yoga mat and zafu meditation pillow. Thankfully, I made the decision because now I wouldn’t look back.

    I’m so glad I took the leap because I had been stubborn for so long.

    If this is something you struggle with, and you’d like to read more about it, ensure to check out the below articles.

    Related Articles:

     

    Ready to Get Started with Mindfulness Meditation?

    Meditation is definitely something that is easier to grasp when you have someone guiding your through it. Trust me, I know!!

    For years, I tried to learn meditation on my own… with many failed attempts, trial and error, a ton of frustration and sadly, much wasted time!

    But by doing this, I actually learnt so much, including how to do it properly and master it.

    That’s why I created the “Journey to Calm” Meditation for Beginners course, to help newbies save time, confusion and frustration when learning how to meditate.

    In this 5-day e-Course, I guide you through the steps of meditation in a simplified and practical way.

    NO jargon! NO ultra spiritual or religious content!

    Just tips and guidance from someone who’s been where you are and has experienced, first hand, the results you can gain from meditation. 

    If you’re interested in learning more about mindfulness meditation:

    You’ll learn about:

    • The basics of meditation
    • How it can improve overall health
    • and how meditation can be practiced to specifically relieve stress and anxiety symptoms.

    Get started today by entering your details below.

     

    5 Good Yoga Mats for Meditation | A Beginners Guide!

    5 Good Yoga Mats for Meditation | A Beginners Guide!

    As a beginner, it’s natural to question whether you need a yoga mat for meditation or not...

    I know I even had this debate with myself A LOT in the beginning. But, for most newbies, one of the biggest challenges is getting comfortable and remaining still.

    Investing in a yoga mat for your practice can be a great way to improve the quality and comfort of your meditation practice.

    Here’s a couple of questions that often come up when considering whether you should get yourself a yoga mat. I’ll also highlight 5 different yoga mats that are good for helping beginners to improve comfort during meditation.

     

    Do I Really Need a Yoga Mat for Meditation?

    To be 100% honest, nope you don’t NEED to get a yoga mat.

    BUT, it can make a profound difference to the comfort your experience during meditation, and also yoga.

    Personally, these days I wouldn’t meditate without one…

    When I was getting started with Meditation, discomfort was my biggest problem. I’d get itchy sitting on my carpet at home, and if lying down, I found the floor to be too hard.

    When I went to yoga classes, their public yoga mats didn’t exactly turn me on….Especially with their disinfectant smelling aroma and previous sweat marks from the person who used the mat in the prior class…

    Yuck & no thanks!

    This is where having your own mat for meditation can be SUPER handy.

    You’ll have the confidence that it’s clean and will also feel much more comfortable than sitting on the floor.

    If you enjoy doing some yoga too (as I do), your mat can become multi-purpose. This way you’ll get more bang for your buck… which is awesome!

     

    What Yoga Mat is Best for Meditation?

    Well honestly, you have soooo many to choose from….

    But this diverse amount of choice often makes the decision even harder!!

    After all, as a beginner…how are you possibly going to know the difference between a shitty yoga mat, and one that is actually going to help you with your practice?

    Well, that’s where I come in.

    Having been meditating now for over 4 years, I’ve tried my fair share of different yoga mats. I’ve also done my research.

    Below, I provide a quick overview into some of the more popular brands on Amazon – the perks and the downfalls.

    That way, you can choose a mat that best suits you and your preferences.

     

    1. TOPLUS Yoga Mat (6mm+)

    Yoga Mats for Meditation - Toplus

    The Perks:

    • Made of eco-friendly materials
    • The mat is grippy to help prevent slipping during yoga and other floor exercises.
    • It has a dual-layer structure, so is highly durable and tear-proof.
    • Many customers rave about the thickness and size of the mat, saying it is very comfortable to use.
    • Comes in a range of colours
    • Has a one year warranty.

    The Downfalls:

    • There doesn’t appear to be that many significant problems, other than a few customers complaining that the mat can get a bit slippery during yoga where they sweat a lot.
    • Some have also highlighted that their mats were damaged when delivered damaged. But I feel that this would be rare as there were only a few instances of this.

    Conclusion: 

    I think that given the many rave reviews, the fair price point and thickness, this mat would be a great option for newbies to meditation.

    If you’re planning on just using the mat for basic yoga or meditation, this mat could be a perfect option for you.

    View on Amazon.com

     

    2. Gaiam Patterned Yoga Mat (6mm)

    Gaiam Meditation Mat

    The Perks:

    • Many customers (including me), love these mats because of the range of different patterns and colours you can get.
    • Has a good thickness for meditation and yoga
    • It comes with a FREE downloadable yoga workout, which is great if you’re also interested in giving yoga a go. Just double check it’s included before you buy.
    • Gaiam is a very reputable and trusted brand in the industry. Therefore, you can generally trust that you’re going to get a better quality product.

    The Downfalls:

    • Several customers have complained that they keep slipping on the mat when they’re sweaty from yoga, despite it being advertised as non-slip.
    • Some people have said that the mat smells bad.

    On this note, I actually did experience this a bit when my mat was delivered but after I let it air out for a bit, it was fine and nowadays, doesn’t smell at all. Some suggest to just wipe the mat down with warm water and soap.

    Conclusion: 

    For the purposes of meditation, this could be a good mat to get your meditation vibes going. Especially, due to all the cool colours and patterns that the mats come in.

    The thickness of the mat should provide enough cushioning and support, but keep in mind it may not be as thick as the BalanceFrom GoYoga All-Purpose (12mm) mat mentioned above.

    View on Amazon.com

     

    I personally use and own this mat, Gaiam Yoga Mat – Classic 4mm, with the purple and pink pattern. I love it because when I unroll it, it looks pretty and inspires me to get started.

    Gaiam Yoga Mat for Meditation

    I mainly use it for meditation and light yoga/stretching, so it could be another option to check out. But, it may not have as much padding as the other mats, if that’s something you prefer.

     

    3. BalanceFrom GoYoga Mat (6mm)

    Yoga Mats for Meditation - GoYou

    The Perks:

    • It’s said to be a good yoga mat for its price
    • Many say it’s a good size for tall people and is comfortable to use.
    • Easy to wash and clean with soap and water.
    • Has a 2 year warranty.

    The Downfalls:

    • Several customers have complained about the quality of the mat
    • Some state that the mat sometimes falls apart and flakes after use,  which can sometimes be a bit embarrassing to clean up after classes
    • Claims made that it dents and marks easily due to little resistance in the material.

    Conclusion: 

    If you’re planning on using the mat for Meditation and not extensive yoga, then this yoga mat should suffice. 

    View on Amazon.com

     

    4. Balance From GoYoga All-Purpose (12mm)

    Yoga Mats for Meditation - GoYou all round

    The Perks:

    • Many customers have raved about the thickness of the mat which leads to added comfort and cushioning for the spine, hips, knees and elbows on hard floors.
    • The mat is cheaper than a lot of others on the market
    • It is considered easy to clean
    • Has a 2 year warranty.

    The Downfalls:

    • Apparently, the Company incentivises customers to leave positive reviews in exchange for a free gift

    Not sure whether this is a bad or good thing.. but it does make it hard to say whether all the 5-Star reviews on Amazon are legit and genuine or if people just wanted the free gift.

    • There is a common theme of customers saying that the mat slips, especially on wooden floors.
    • Mat apparently has a tendency to tear easily with regular yoga use.
    • Apparently, makes some noises when you move on it which can be distracting / annoying

    Conclusion: 

    As a yoga mat, I’d probably avoid buying this one. But for the purpose of meditation, it could work ok.

    The extra cushioning could provide additional comfort without tearing a hole in your bank account.

    Previously, I’ve avoided buying mats this thick though because I find they take up a lot of space when being stored and they don’t lie flat after being rolled up.

    However, I have not bought this particular yoga mat, so I am unsure if it is the same for this one too. There’s not many comments about it.

    If you’re wanting a cheap, thick, inflexible mat that you’re not going to use for yoga, it could be a good option.

    View on Amazon.com

     

     

    My Final Recommendations:

     

    The Winner (For Meditation Beginners & Yoga)

    – TOPLUS Yoga Mat (6mm)

    Yoga Mats for Meditation - Toplus

    After looking at several different yoga mats, I believe the TOPLUS yoga mat is the way to go.

    • Their mat is versatile and has really good reviews on Amazon.
    • The price is mid-range, so not too expensive or cheap.
    • I like that the mat is made from eco-friendly material rather than latex or PVC
    • Has a double-layered structure to improve grip and cushioning and reduce its likelihood to tear.
    • Their mat also comes with a carry strap making it light and easy to carry

    The only real downside is that it only comes with a 1-year warranty, compared to some mats that have warranties for 2 years. However, after a few sessions, you’d probably know whether it is a good mat or not.

    Some also say they’ve found the mat can be a bit slippery. But if you’re just doing meditation and maybe some simple yoga poses here and there, I think you’d be ok.

    View & Buy on Amazon 

     

    The Winner For Meditation Beginners

     – BalanceFrom GoYoga All-Purpose (12mm)

    Yoga Mats for Meditation - GoYou all round

    I believe this would be a great mat to get started with as a beginner to meditation.

    • Its cheap price, thickness and great reputation on Amazon.
    • It also has over 10,000 customer reviews and is labeled as one of Amazon’s best sellers.
    • Being extra thick, it should provide lots of comfort during your practice, especially if you prefer to lie down on the floor rather than sit in a seated meditation posture.
    • It can be easily cleaned if it gets dirty over time and is easy to carry around given its lightweight components.
    • They also include a FREE yoga strap that you can use for stretching before and after your practice.
    • This mat is covered with a 2-year warranty.

    Sounds like a pretty good deal to me. And at that price, what have you go to lose?

    View & Buy on Amazon

     

    Other Contenders:

    There are LOTS of yoga brands and yoga mats competing for your attention given the increasing popularity of meditation and yoga these days.

    There were a few other mats on Amazon that I looked at, but I didn’t think they matched up to the ones I’ve mentioned above –  at the time this article was published anyway.

     

    My Considerations for Choosing the Top 5:

     

     

    Reviews:

    • How many positive and negative reviews there were for the yoga mat, along with my own experience using them or similar products!

    Price:

    • The price of the yoga mats to determine whether you would get value for your money.

    Thickness:

    • As a beginner, it’s a good idea to start with a yoga mat that has a bit more cushioning to add some comfort during your meditation practice.
    • You can go for something a bit thinner if you like (as I did), but in that case, you may need a meditation pillow as well. I personally use this meditation pillow during my practice.

    Brand Reputation:

    • I naturally prefer brands that are known, stable and consistent. Therefore, they are rated higher than others.

    Quality:

    • You want to try and get a yoga mat that isn’t going to rip, tear or flake away after only a few uses.
    • You also want to be able to use it for as long as you can to get your money’s worth.

    Style:

    • I don’t know about you, but to me style matters.
    • You ideally want a mat that is going to make you feel good and motivated to get started with your practice  and that is easy to use and carry.

     

    So, there you have it!

    Hopefully this article as helped you to narrow down the field in terms of which yoga mats most suit your needs and preferences.

    As mentioned, I personally use the Gaiam yoga mat, but it’s best that you choose a mat to best suit your needs and preferences.

    All the best guys!!

     

    Related Article: