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Meditation
First Years Pregnancy Nov 11, 2019
5 Minutes

Making meditation for you/your baby’s health easy, realistic and achievable!

We are increasingly being told meditation and mindfulness is a good thing to do. For stress, and for our health overall. We are even being told that it can be powerful for conception, pregnancy, birth and early years! Click here for more. Our entire advisory board also practises and advocates it.

However, it can be really hard to do! So, no matter how time poor or tough you find it, we break down the ‘how to’ to make meditation achievable for everyone. With resident expert psychotherapist Emmy Brunner. 

Ok so here is a confession….

Historically I have found meditation and mindfulness impossible. As little as a few seconds in I have found my mind wondering, getting fidgety, thinking about my to do list and wondering if it’s over yet. Ironically I realise this probably means I need it the most!

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. So we spoke to our resident expert psychotherapist Emmy Brunner about the best ways to approach this valuable practise and how anyone (regardless of time/anxiety level) can make this work!

Here are Emmy’s top tips for meditation: 

It turns out that when many people set out to start meditation, they may be inadvertently setting themselves up to fail. How? By starting with unrealistic ambitions.

You know the drill, you set out 30 minutes of ‘zen’ lying down in a dark room. If you can manage to carve out that time (yeah right!) you last a minute, start thinking about your massive to-do list and then feel rubbish that you can’t do it! (Sound familiar? Maybe just me!)

So, instead here is how Emmy suggests is the best way to approach for a lasting, meaningful and beneficial practise:

ONE: Start small: 

Emmy’s view is that when it comes to most things mind-health related, its about starting in a manageable and bite-size way. Do not set yourself up for something huge. Especially if you’re not someone who has ever meditated before as its actually really hard to do at first! Especially if you are very stressed. Research shows that just a few minutes can have a positive impact. Click here for more. 

TWO: There is a reason we call it ‘meditation practise’: 

It isn’t easy at first. So, the key is to keep going: persistence and building up. This is why we call it meditation ‘practise’. It takes practise and you have to keep doing it. The more you do it, often the easier it gets…. 

Don’t give up!

THREE: Find what works for you: 

On our recent podcast with Emmy talking about anxiety and ways to manage it (click here to listen) one of the things she talks about is her own practise. Emmy meditates when she’s coming into work on the train in the morning. By listening to a ten minute meditation. Guided or just music. The key however, is to find what works for you as an individual. Remember that what works for one person might not work for you. Find your own groove. 

FOUR: Give yourself permission to explore: 

Some people like guided meditation, some people like to listen to music. Other people just like to take a walk in nature. The key is to play around and experiment. It is individual. Just because someone else finds something useful doesn’t mean you will. Give yourself permission to explore and be creative about it. Try out a few things and listen to what resonates with you. Don’t worry if it takes a bit of time. 

FIVE: Am I doing it right?! 

Many of us are immediately conscious of ‘doing it right’ and quickly feel we are not achieving the state that we ‘should be’. Emmy’s view is that this isn’t wrong. It is just something to notice! That is the whole point of mindfulness and meditation. It is about observing your thoughts and feelings in a non-judgemental way. Simply notice if you think a lot about doing it ‘correctly’. That is something to notice about yourself and is part of your meditation practise. 

SIX: Be compassionate:

Mindful meditation is all about being compassionate with yourself. Noticing your thoughts and feelings without judgement. This also applies to starting out. Observe and understand what is working/not working for you. Be open to try different things. Not everything will work for you and that’s ok. 

SEVEN: It shouldn’t be a chore: 

It’s a bit like exercise or anything really. If what you’re doing feels like a real chore you’re not likely to keep going. So change it. Meditation works best when it’s something you enjoy and it is done consistently. So you need to find a way that works for you to be able to stick to. What is realistic for you?

Emmy herself talked about giving herself permission to meditate wherever she is. So for her, it’s not just about sitting in a dark room alone for twenty minutes. Even with a very busy schedule she will make time to do 10-20 minutes wherever she is and whenever she can. One way (as above) that works for Emmy is ten/twenty minute meditation on the train every day. She says that has become her sanctuary. Find your sanctuary! 

EIGHT: Meditation shouldn’t be about rules: 

Emmy says its actually about giving herself permission to give herself what she needs. There are no rules as long as she is nurturing her own practise. Once again this means not putting lots of pressure on yourself. Not creating rules about what you ‘have’ to do. Make sure you’re comfortable. Make sure you’re actually enjoying doing it. Otherwise you just set yourself up for failure and not feeling good. Not what this is about.

Bottom line: is meditation worth giving a real go to?

Emmy: ‘I know it is helpful and statistically it reduces anxiety by something like 90%. So that would be my first port of call if you’re experiencing a lot of anxiety, particularly during pregnancy. Surround yourself with what you do want, not what you don’t want’. 

Click here for more ways to combat anxiety during every stage of your pregnancy. Plus here for the science behind how this can have a positive effect and here to listen to Emmy’s podcast.

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This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The information on this website has been developed following years of personal research and from referenced and sourced medical research. Before making any changes we strongly recommend you consult a healthcare professional before you begin.

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