Noise. Pollution. Crowds. Fast everything. Living in the city can be stressful. Learning how to switch off is crucial if you want to stay productive, healthy and happy. How? Try meditation. It’s the perfect antidote for the urban dweller.
It’s a technique of taking charge of our mind, developing our focus and awareness. This allows space for us to connect with our innate qualities – spaciousness, creativity, patience, goodness, empathy – qualities we’re probably short of in a busy city!
The popular mindfulness meditation is a part of meditation. It’s just noticing what’s happening inside you and around you. Simple, but powerful.
We’re very conscious of having a fit, healthy body. It’s just as important to have a fit, healthy mind. With meditation, our minds become more capable, clear and focused, enabling us to better handle stressful situations. Better for us, better for everyone else.
Taking time out to be calm and aware can stop the stress spiral. This happens because meditation lowers the stress hormone cortisol.
Rather than urban stress overwhelming you, you will learn how to distance yourself emotionally from it and remain calmer. Think of it like watching the hustle and bustle of a traffic jam from the safety of a hill. It’s still there, but you’re not stuck in the middle of it!
Apps are a very popular way to meditate. Both Headspace and The Mindfulness App are excellent. Simply download onto your smartphone and see what suits. From 2-minute breathers at your desk to deeper relaxation sessions at home, apps will guide you perfectly.
What’s the optimal amount of time to meditate? There’s no definite answer. But in one trial it took just five days of meditating 20 minutes a day to have measurably less anxiety and cortisol. Other people find 5-10 minutes a day enough. Discover for yourself. Remember the key is little and often.
I am a HeadSpace fan. I use it almost every day for 10 minutes and that has helped me enormously with my emotional ups and downs. I highly recommend it. There's a free 10 day trial so you can't go wrong really.
I keep hearing about how amazing meditation is but dont actually know anyone who does it. I do take time during the day to be 'present' and grateful for the good stuff and I think that works well for my mind and makes me feel better.
I find it hard to find time for 'mental exercise' like meditation. But the one time I did the free trial of HeadSpace I did feel like I was doing my mind some good deed, and felt more in control of myself when things didn't go my way.