Have you ever wanted to pull your hair out because your kids won’t do as they are told? Do you feel your blood pressure rise when they are running around with their volume levels cranked to the maximum? Have you ever felt your head explode when your child decides they REALLY need the toilet as you’re walking out the door (and you already asked them 10 times)?
If you answered yes to any of these then you would probably benefit from meditation and if you answered no you’re either;
- Already awesome at meditating
- Just bloody perfect
Everyone can meditate
Many people I speak to about meditation tell me they can’t do it because their mind just wonders and they can’t switch off. This comes from the common myth that meditation is just not thinking, the truth is that’s an impossible task. Meditation simply gives your mind a chance to slow down and just be. That doesn’t mean your brain does nothing. Also it’s worth mentioning that meditation takes practice. I do it every day now but I am still just at the beginning of a long learning curve. You wouldn’t expect to run a marathon straight away, your body wouldn’t be ready. It’s the same with meditation, your mind needs training.
Other people I speak to say that meditation isn’t for them and I understand what they mean. They have an image in their head of someone wearing a tie die dress sitting with their legs crossed and humming, by all means if that’s how you want to do it great but meditation is so much more than that.
Why I mediate
I meditate because afterwards I feel so much more relaxed. In my day to day life I don’t stop, I am on a 24 hour hamster wheel; my children are at an age where the nights aren’t even guaranteed to bring peace. I know when I haven’t meditated for a day or two because I feel wound up; it has such an enormous impact on how I handle stressful situations that I wonder now how I coped before. I believe it puts me in such a relaxed state that when I do feel stressed or anxious I have further to go to get upset, It puts me in a better starting position. That doesn’t mean I don’t lose my temper or let the daily grind get me down but I can honestly tell you it happens less.
When I meditate
I don’t know about you but I get no time to sit cross legged and hum anyway. I spend most of my time looking after the kids, cleaning and working.
With this is mind I have identified three times of the day when I can meditate and not change my life. I aim to find at least one moment each day but I don’t stick to a strict routine or put pressure on myself as that’s the last thing I need!
- Walking (home from the school run)
- In bed before I sleep
- Just before I lose my shit with the kids (as long as I catch myself in time)
How to meditate
There are lots of different types and techniques for meditation and they require a whole series of blog posts to explain. I am currently taking a meditating course in Sahaja Yoga meditation but it’s just the tip of the iceberg and I plan on learning everything I can get my hands on.
Breathe in for 7 and out for 11. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Easy isn’t it.
It turns out that no one actually breaths properly and this is having a negative effect on our health and well-being. When we take the time to deep breathe we release toxins, reduce tension, relieve physical pain, increase our muscle strength, improve our blood, strengthen our immune system, aid our digestion and ease our anxiety.
Now for the science bit;
In the exercise above the most important element is that the outward breath is longer than the inward and there is a very important reason for this. The Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) is responsible for our “fight or flight” reaction. This natural and lifesaving response we are programmed to have is actually being stimulated when your kids are driving you nuts. That’s why you either want to scream or run away. Breathing deeply and creating calmness suppresses this response and allows your body to go into rest mode (PNS) To do it well though you must remember this;
- It is the out breaths that lower your blood pressure and slows your heart rate.
- It is the out breaths that reduce your emotional reactions.
By breathing out for longer than you breathe in you increase the effectiveness of the deep breathing and will calm down quicker.
Meditate through the madness of motherhood
I don’t want to lose my temper; I want to be a calmer and happier mother. I want my children to see me at my best so I can model for them what it means to be content. I certainly can’t do that if I continue to react against their behaviour and other things in life that are challenging. Mediation has been a tool for me to control myself when I can’t control anything else and I cant recommend it highly enough.
Have a go, after all the worst that could happen is you might just fall asleep!
The contented Family offers one to one coaching and workshops to empower parents to take back control of their emotions. Stop reacting to your children’s behaviour or any other uncontrollable condition and learn practical mindful tools and techniques which you can use in the everyday madness of motherhood.
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