Have you ever considered Meditation as an investment?
Finding a couple of minutes during our busy days can be done.
If you were a dog you would do it like this!
But we humans are more complicated, yes?
Once you find how beneficial it can be, you may want to move onto something a bit more substantial, but is still not going to take huge chunks of time.
No matter how busy we are, finding 10 or 15 minutes for “time out” is so beneficial, that it can actually be an Investment of time. Just as buying an eco friendly washing machine as a way of saving electric, and maybe paying a bit more to do that, so taking time away from a task to meditate can put you in a much better frame of mind to concentrate and get the clarity you need.
If you are taking the time out of your day to meditate, then the returns on that time is well worth it.
You can do that with the following simple techniques.
A walk around the block. Getting fresh air and revving up those brain cells!
Relaxation. Sit or lie in a comfortable position, start with your feet and work up through the body, knees, thighs, buttocks, tummy, waist, chest, shoulders, neck, face and head, tightening and releasing. Then the whole body at once. Relax for ten minutes and gradually bring yourself around. Take a deep breath and carry on with your day.
Breathing. You can do this wherever you are, even standing in a queue somewhere. But it’s better if you can sit and relax. Take a deep breath in and let it out slowly. Repeat for about four or five breaths, then allow your breathing to go back to normal for a minute or so. Repeat a couple more times, according to how long you have got.
Guided imagery or visualisation. This is the one that taught me how valuable meditation is and how to do it. It can be used by people who find the thought of just sitting and doing nothing, daunting. It is also useful if you find that your thoughts are just getting in the way and you just cannot seem to switch off. There are many guided meditations on You-tube. Also of course you can google it. Or you can still buy CD’s.
Something that really helps is to have an intention. This means that you may have the intention of solving a dillemma, keeping your eating under control, nervous about an interview, a difficult task at work or simply getting through the day in a positive and happy way. So when you decide to meditate concentrate on that intention.
Can you see then what I mean about meditation being an investment?
Meditation can be vital to the body, brain and the soul.
Somehow, meditation, time and ageing are linked aren’t they?
Time passes quickly and with the passing, ageing comes without us even being aware of it.
Meanwhile research is finding that meditation is good for mind, body and soul and slows down the ageing process. Particularly in the brain.
However, life itself is speeding up. Another vicious circle because we find it difficult to fit in the very thing that will enhance our lives.
Time to yourself, meditation and nurturing yourself is often the very thing that we don’t do.
So let’s look at ways that we can fit meditation into our everyday life, when it is difficult. For example if you have children and cannot leave them alone while you take off somewhere. God knows it’s difficult to find time to visit the loo, let alone spend time meditating.
Showering. While you are in the shower, concentrate on the sound of the water. Everytime your mind wanders, just bring it back to the sound of the water.
Walking. You can do this with or without headphones. If you are with the kids, talk to them, stay off the phone, in fact leave your phone behind. Concentrate on what they are saying and teach them in turn to listen to what is around them. Traffic, dogs barking, birds singing or airoplanes flying over. Yes, believe it or not this is a form of mindful meditation.
Sit and do nothing for 2 minutes. Concentrate on your breathing. Come on, the kids or whatever distractions you have do stop at times, it’s just that you may not be aware of it. You could do this with a bathroom visit.
Boring chores. Washing the dishes or loading the dishwasher. Instead of thinking about your next chore. Just concentrate on the colour and texture of the pots and pans. Our minds are working all the time, and it is this that we need to become aware of. Keep bringing your mind back to whatever you chose to concentrate on.
Traffic jams. Instead of sitting and fuming or phoning someone, sit and concentrate on your breathing. Every time you find yourself thinking about something, just tell your mind that you will come back to that. Don’t resist it, what you resist, persists. Just let it flow in and back out again. If it is something important, carry a note book around with you and jot it down, then return to the switch off. Your own form of shorthand will help with this one. Better still look at the sky, or listen to the sounds going on around you.
Eating and drinking. Practice mindfulness and meditate with this one. Concentrate on the texture of the food and drink. Chocolate lovers will like this one! Don’t gulp the chocolate back as quickly as you can, but put it on your tongue and savour it, letting it slowly dissolve and slide down. Then let the feel of the residue in your mouth fill your senses. We tend to gulp our foods down, but being mindful will in turn become a meditation tool.
Cleaning your teeth. Dentists tell us that we should brush our teeth for at least two minutes. Turn it into a two minute meditation. Think about the taste of the paste, the feel of the brush the wonderful sensation of sipping the water afterwards.
These everyday tasks will get you so much into the habit of switching off and meditating that you will get hooked. It will calm your mind, and instead of thinking about the next task in hand, it will ground you in the now of your life and help you to learn to do just that, Live in theNOW.
It will start to reduce stress and you will want more and more. When you want something, you will in turn try harder to get it.
It’s a bit like driving somewhere without even thinking about it. When you arrive, you can’t really remember much about the drive.
Before you know it, you will be meditating so naturally that you will wonder how you ever lived without it.
You have found the time, your ageing will have slowed down and you will have conquered the art of meditation.
What we actually observed was a widespread effect of meditation that encompassed regions throughout the entire brain.”
Although people are living longer, ageing comes with an increased risk of neuro-degenerative disease.
Dr Kurth, whose research is published in the journal Frontiers In Psychology, believes meditation could minimise this.
Let’s not get carried away. Meditation is not necessarily sitting and chanting in a certain position. If you can do that, fine, but not everyone can, and that makes it a barrier for them.
Also many people say that they find it impossible because;
They haven’t got time
They cannot stop their thoughts or empty their minds
They have kids
The environment is too noisy.
They are too embarassed
If you have something else that stops you, then please comment below and we can look at this together.
We will look how these obstacles need not stand in the way. But today, let’s look at some ways that you can make a start, right from where you are now.
Sitting quietly, listening to your favourite music. Music is something that reaches the heart and source within you. Don’t think that it has to be a certain type of music, but whatever rocks your boat! I have often been on another planet listening to “Queen!”
If you can walk somewhere in natural surroundings, that can help. Look at the colour of the plants and stand against a tree. Listen to the birds. (If you are alone you can even dance! Or even with the kids!)
If you live in a busy city and can’t get away from the noise of traffic, tune into the noise and “listen” to it rather than try and resist it! The steady hum can help you to “switch off”
If you already meditate it would lovely to hear your comments below on how you do it.
Remember, that we are all ageing, just some of us are further along the line. So don’t think that it does not apply to you. The younger you start, the more benefits you will have.
Think about how meditation could increase your vitality as you age.
Marc David of the Institute for Eating Psychology says “We are born, we eat, and then we die!”
A baby turns its head toward the nipple the moment it is born. Eating is the dynamic in life that drives us to work, hunt, gather, shop, farm and scavage. along with shelter it is the one thing that we have to do to stay alive.
But in the Western world, we have lost its true meaning. It is meant to nurture us, keep us healthy, vibrant, strong and well.
But now it has become something to fill us up, it is full of empty calories, is making us ill and for many Obese. Much of it is addictive, thanks to additives, sugar and Food technicians!
Eating problems are brought about by starving because many people have become afraid of food, instead of seeing it as the staff of life.
Ageing brings about a natural reduction in appetite, so it is all the more important to make sure that you are getting enough nutritional food.
When visiting a local Residential Home for the Elderly I was amused to see that in the reception, there was a candy tree filled with toffees. The care assistant explained that people with dememtia often don’t eat. So the management have set up this tree so that at least they are getting some calories, even if it’s in the form of sugar. Brilliant! Because of course even if it is only sugar, at least they are getting some calories.
But she went on to tell me that the staff are amused when they watch the residents come to the tree, and their attitude is furtive. They glance around to see whether anyone is watching, then they take the sweet and put it in their mouths. While chewing they are looking to see where they can hide the paper!
So where did that come from I wonder?
The point is though, that we need to start making food our friend. Being afraid of it is the result of controversy over what we are eating, strict dieting and a bad body image.
Just enjoy your food. Make it your friend.
Eat as near to natural as your circumstances allow you to, according to your purse, your locality, and your ability to cook.
Younger people, start now to prepare for your older years, by doing the same. Lay up the foundation in your body for a healthy, vibrant ageing process.
The Baby Boomers are the ones that have seen the biggest changes in history where food and diet are concerned. And the 50’s were the beginning of this change.
Foods that we take for granted now in 2015, were not around then in the UK in the 1950’s.
Among them is curry, pasta, many spices and herbs, pizza, and Chinese food. The word “takeaway” was unheard of and the only ready-made food you bought in the shops were fish and chips, which were wrapped in newspaper lined with a grease-proof bag to stop the ink from getting into the food, or pies and pasties. Ready-made cakes were now becoming more popular.
Rice was a milk pudding, bread and butter was an everyday food. We used to love rice pudding, which was made by putting about 2 oz of rice into 1 pint of milk, two tablespoons of sugar and a knob of butter. Place in the oven and cook for 90 minutes in a moderately hot oven. So it tended to be put into the oven at the same time as the meat for the Sunday roast.
Vegetables were carrots, turnip, parsnips, different types of greens and potatoes. Olive oil was kept in the medicine cabinet, and you used lard or dripping for frying. Eating raw fish would not have been considered healthy. Sushi would only have been known in Japan.
Figs and dates were something that you only ate at Christmas. Ice cream came in either vanilla or as a luxury, there would be strawberry flavour. Jelly and ice cream was a party food. Crisps were one flavour with a small blue packet of salt in the bag and was something you bought with pocket money and considered a treat. There was one type of cheese, and that was a cheddar.
Hot cross buns were eaten only on Good Friday, and you had one hollow Easter egg, on Easter Sunday morning. Milk was not pasteurised and families fought over who was going to have the cream from the top of the bottle delivered to the doorstep. My Mother used to scald the creamy milk to make clotted cream.
Food was purchased from the local shops, supermarkets were unheard of. I remember shopping with my mother, going from one type of shop to another because food was not all under the same roof.
We went to the Baker for bread, Grocer for cheese and eggs, (I can still smell it!) and the Green Grocer for fruit and vegetables. The Butcher was where you bought the meat. Shopping was a daily occurrence as we did not have a refrigerator. Milk was delivered by a milkman, which was a tradition carried on for many years and still is in some rural parts of the UK.
Sainsbury’s were the first to try out a Supermarket in the UK in 1957.
Another noticeable thing was that fruit and vegetables and some other foods, were seasonable. You would have been very surprised to find a lettuce in the middle of winter, or a turnip in the middle of summer. Strawberries were only available in May, June and July.
Apples tasted delicious. The Granny Smiths in September every year were something to look forward to, as were the cox’s apples and the russets. Crisp, fresh and tasty.
There would have been no such thing as grazing in front of the television, simply because television was rare in those days. Snacking was something that you took to work or school for midmorning.
Breakfast would have been porridge or cornflakes or toast and marmalade and sometimes an egg.
Lunch might have been sandwiches filled with meat-paste, or corned beef, or cheese or egg. Soup was popular for lunch times too. Salad would have consisted of lettuce, tomato, cucumber and maybe a little watercress. This was the time when salad cream, came into its own.
However, many working class people had the main meal of the day at lunch time (known as dinner) and such meals as cottage pie, pasties, pies, steak and kidney pudding, sausage and mash and on Sunday the proverbial roast. Chicken was a luxury and many people had this for their Christmas dinner and turkey was a rarity.
Mary, who was a child in that decade, told me of the chicken that her family had as a pet, and they had the benefit of her eggs for eating. This chicken who the family fondly called Cynthia, used to sit on her aunt’s head while she did the ironing, to the amusement of the kids in the family. One day Cynthia was missing and they never saw her again, no explanation and no sign of her anywhere. Was it coincidence that a couple of days later there was chicken for dinner? They never found out, it was the Aunt’s secret.
No home was complete without the jam, syrup, tomato sauce, brown sauce and mustard in the cupboard. There would be no other condiments, except if there was some pickle, piccalilli or home-made pickled onions.
The difference between eating then and now, is not so much the absence of sugar or processed foods, but the amount that people ate. There were no stimulating additives to make you want more!
This is a paraphrased extract from my forthcoming book, the cover you can see above.
Fat has been demonised for over thirty years now. During the 1980’s this demonisation was taken up by the Food and Diet Industry, and big bucks were made.
Yet it has never been proved that fat was bad, with the exception of transfats, which are toxic.
Baby Boomers, those born between 1945 and 1965 were the ones who became convinced that the only way to keep weight off and be healthy was to eat low fat foods. Later generations then inherited the myth and our stores are still full of low fat or fat free products.
People are often shocked when they hear that fat is not so bad after all, and somehow they cannot bring themselves to enjoy higher fat products.
I probably need to add that its the combination of fat, sugar and additives that are damaging peoples health, so don’t go lathering butter on your bread or malt loaf!
It is worth knowing that because many of us who were sucked into this myth, are suffering the results with early skin problems.
Did you know that fats and oils are ESSENTIAL to the body. Fatty acids are building blocks just like protein is.
They are beneficial to our skin, vision, brain function, bone density and hormone production.
Make sure they are healthy fats, and that includes butter! Contrary to popular belief saturated fat does not go straight to our arteries.
There is so much information now, much of it is contradictory, the media confuse people too. Do the research yourself and find out.
You will find out more by reading my book about the politics of dieting and food.
Today I thought you may be interested in looking at the positive side of calorie restriction.
If you follow my writings and books, you will know that I advise people not to count calories.
However what I do say is that we need to be aware of them.
There are some regimes around that encourage people to just eat as much as they like as long as they eat natural foods, without any additives, or processing and have been adulterated out of all recognition of how food was meant to be consumed by humans.
This is so true!
Many people find that once they do eat naturally they do not crave more food than their body needs, so the amount of calories that they consume is reduced automatically.
This will work if you have never had problems with bingeing, sugar addiction, or eating disorders.
(For more on bingeing problems and the results that they can leave you with, you can obtain a FREE report from me without subscribing, by sending me a private email requesting one, I will return it to you with a promise to not keep sending you more emails. firstname.lastname@example.org)
As we grow older, the body naturally reduces the appetite. So therefore we need to trust what our body is telling us, and eat less.
We all have a source within us that is not being heard or listened to.
As history has progressed and we have moved further away from nature and that source, we are losing the ability to be aware of what our body actually needs.
Have a look at how aware you are as you grow older.
One way of telling if you eat too much is whether you suffer from indigestion!
If you eat a moderate amount of natural foods then this will not happen.
(However the body may be suffering from digestive disorders because of the abuse we gave them with the onslaught earlier in life, even if we did not binge, but simply ate the wrong foods. It is never too late to change that.)
So when you hear about restrictive intake of calories, just remember that the essential thing is to;
Be aware of what your body is telling you.
Only eat natural wholesome foods.
Stay away from sugary, starchy, processed junk.
Watch your portions.
Stop eating when you are full.
Then the calories will take care of themselves without going to the extreme measures of plates full of nothing but leaves!
Most of you will be surprised at the fact that there is no such thing as a senior moment!
When a child leaves his coat behind at school, or her lunch box is sitting in the kitchen because she forgot to take it, do we say that they are having a senior moment?
But somehow we blame this memory incident on ageing. Starting from around the age of forty and in some cases even younger, we start to worry about whether it’s to do with our age. Don’t!
Brain cells do not die off with age. There may be other reasons such as disease. Or (I love this one) “Lack of Use!” Use it or lose it.
We all forget what we went upstairs for, or what we were going to say, no matter what our age.
But this is more often out of not registering the data in the first place, or being distracted by other thoughts before we get to the bedroom or saying what we were going to say.
For more information on this, read The Age Heresy by Tony Buzan. (You Can Acheive More Not Less as You Get Older.)
By perpetuating the myth, and believing that it is true, you are activating the Law of Attraction!
What you think is what you get!
So, to help you to remember, first of all FORGET!
Forget the myth and register the data in the first place.
One way of doing this is to say it out loud to yourself before going upstairs, what you are going up there for. What I do is to imagine that I am still downstairs and what I was doing when I first thought of it.
I also keep notebooks. One in my handbag, (you can get small ones for wallets and handbags) Or of course those who are savvy with technology can use their mobile phones. Particularly the voice recorder.
Forget the myth and do not perpetuate it. Think about the six year old!
When we are kids, we pick up beliefs, habits and customs from who ever we live with.
This can be parents, guardians and families.
We can also adopt the ways of the school teachers, church, religion, friends, peers and the country or culture.
We can also take on “labels” about ourselves.
It can happen at any age.
You may find people around you are saying that you are absent minded, clever, forgetful, sporty, intelligent or stupid.
I heard a story some time ago about some twins. One grew up to be academic and the other one was sporty. The academic one claimed that she was hopeless at sport. The sporty one claimed that she was not clever.
Many years later they were asked if they could remember when they first had these thoughts. It turned out that one day their Mother had introduced them to somebody when they were children, and said that “This one is the sporty one, and this one is the academic one!”
They had lived their whole lives after that believing that this was true. So it became their reality.
Many people grow up following a career that they hate. They have taken it on because “It was expected of me, my father was a teacher, so that is what I do.”
Or the children are brought up in the family business and it is expected that they will follow on.
As you age, how often will you find yourself falling into a way of being that is actually other peoples expectations.
“Fancy doing that at your age!” or “You are too old to do that!”
Take Margie, (Name changed to protect her indentity) who lost her husband at the age of 77. A few years later she met a man who was 17 years younger than her. For the next fifteen years she had a wonderful life. Although they didn’t live together, they had weekends together, holidays, cruises and a camper van. But her relatives were telling her that she should be at home with a shawl around her shoulders! In the end her “toyboy” actually died before she did. She lived to be 100.
Did she live her own life or someone elses?
Are your older days going to be lived as YOU choose, or what is expected of you?