Now more than ever, mental health is extremely important. We’ve all got a combination of cabin fever, a fear of the outside world and how it’s affecting our friends and family, and much more. On top of staying physically fit to ensure our mental health stays intact, we’ve been doing a deep dive into the world of meditation. Having a calming practice like this is key for staying sane in a time like this. Adding meditation into your routine brings you so much mindfulness.
For this reason, we interviewed Luke McLeod, founder of Soul Alive, a company dedicated to teaching the wonders of adding mindfulness into your routine. He gave us tips for beginners and busted some myths about meditation for us. Keep reading below for more!
Luke McLeod’s Guide On Meditation
1) What are some of the reasons why people need to start adding some more calming practices into their routines?
Well, right now almost every human life has been affected in some way due to the COVID-19 virus and although we might now know what we need to do to stop the spreading of it, what we need to start focusing on is the ripple effect it is having on our mental health. Introducing easy & quick exercises to your daily routine will do a long way to helping you maintain a clean and healthy mindset throughout this difficult time.
2) What are some of the mindful things that you have added to your routine?
I’m constantly researching for new exercises I can implement into my daily schedule. But what I really try to look for is how easy and quick can it be implemented, yet also have the most impact. The following would be my top suggestions that can be done at any time from anywhere and truly do have a strong positive impact on one’s mental state:
3 minutes of deep breathing.
Keeping a gratitude journal
Sending a text each day to a loved one/friend
15 – 20 minutes of meditation
Small breaks in nature
3) How can the addition of meditation help people bring calmness into their lives?
Meditation opens the door to the present moment and this is where calmness resides. Because when we are truly present we realize that everything isn’t so bad. We’re still breathing, the sun is still shinning. The simple realization that is true and happening right now. Not the fictional stories that are playing out in your head. Even just small amounts of meditation can do a lot. 5-10 minutes a day can calm your mind and pull you into a clear state of mind to take-on those challenges/work that lay before you.
4) What are some of your tips for beginners?
I think the big one would be letting go of what you’re wanting meditation to do for you. Meditation almost works best if you can approach it in the complete opposite way we approach most things in our life. What I mean by that is that we when often go into learning a new skill or exercise, we put objectives/goals around it. This works great for achieving things in work, fitness and even other mental exercises. But progression with meditation comes the more willing you are to surrender and just let yourself open up. Dropping the expectations of what you are wanting it to do for you and simply trusting the process.
Another common misunderstanding with meditation is when you catch yourself wandering off, most people think at that point they’re doing it wrong. Which then snowballs and leads them to feel quite frustrated. Whereas that moment when you catch your mind drifting off is actually an essential part of meditation. That’s you becoming more self-aware and something to be celebrated. So when this happens, and it certainly will, it’s just a process of simply acknowledging it and bringing your focus back to whatever you were concentrating on.
5) What myths do you want to bust?
A myth I often hear is that meditation is about getting your mind to ‘switch-off’. I’ve never understood that because if the mind ‘switched off’ you wouldn’t be around for much longer. It’s just like if the heart stopped beating. It’s a major organ of the body and that’s its job. Instead, I like to see mediation as a way of ‘switching on’ your mind. This simple shift in perspective about it can really help, particularly for those people that say “I could never meditate because I wouldn’t be able to get my mind to switch off”.
The last myth worth addressing is around the typical meditation position. You certainly don’t have to sit in the lotus position with hands resting on your knees, thumbs touching your index fingers. This most important factor when it comes to your meditation position is that you’re comfortable. For me, this is simply sitting in a chair with my feet flat on the ground and hands resting in my lap.
6) How did you get into it and what was the “ah-ha” moment when you just got it and knew it was for you?
I originally found meditation about 10 years ago as a tool to help me with my work as I remember reading an article that one of the most common habits of successful people was that they all meditated. Since then it has evolved enormously for me and now filters into every area of my life.
I’ve experienced so many ‘ah-ha’ moments with meditation and still continue to do so. But one of the biggest ones was when I almost gave it up because I felt like it wasn’t progressing with it. I decided to give it one last chance and went into it with this almost care-free attitude and that’s when I realized a big secret that meditation works the best when you drop all the expectations of what you want it to do for you. The more willing you are to surrender to it, the more it will work its magic.