If you have ever suffered from a mental problem at some point in your life I’m sure you have heard..
Have you tried meditating?
And I always used to think ‘What good will sitting perfectly still listening to rain drops and wind chimes do.’ As whenever I tried to meditate I could never turn my brain off anyway. It’s taken me a long time to realize that meditation is different for everyone and you don’t need a CD of a whispery woman telling you to ‘channel your inner peace’ to relax.
I like to think of meditation like massage in that there are two main types; Relaxation and Remedial.
Relaxation meditation is where you try to clear your thoughts and become more mindful of your body. Most meditation practices are this type of meditation. I find it particularly helpful when I am feeling stressed out over everyday life events, however I often find the benefits to be temporary or ineffective if I am suffering from a more serious problem as shortly after the meditation the racing thoughts just come back. I try to make time at least once a week to do some relaxation meditation where I try to clear my head from toxic thoughts and focus on my body. I find yoga and swimming very good for this.
Remedial meditation is more intense. This is where you allow your mind to flow freely without distractions. It has the exact opposite intent of traditional meditation which aims at clearing the mind, but instead focus is entirely within the mind. Like remedial massage it is good at healing injury and hurt. I find it essential during my manic phases in order to purge everything and think clearer afterwards. My favorite way to do this is to listen to my ipod while briskly walking my son in the stroller. I just walk until I feel clearer, Jett needs a feed or my legs can’t take me any further. I also find showers particularly good for thinking time. In this day and age every one is so busy they rarely spend spare time just thinking without having a screen in front of them. I believe practicing in remedial meditation is very important at maintaining mental health as it helps the mind work through problems and issues, the trick is knowing when to stop and get back to reality. A good starting point is automatic writing. I was skeptical at first but I was forced to do it in a group setting and I got so emotional I cried the whole time (very embarrassing). But I had been holding on to so much for so long that to finally release it onto paper, whilst difficult, really helped me and I felt fantastic afterwards.
Traditional meditation isn’t for everyone, but I believe that taking time each day to stop and think about your mind and your body is very beneficial to everyday health and wellbeing. You just have to find the right meditation that works for you.