Candy Pop Blog Self-Care

Six Things I Gained from a Year of Mindfulness and Meditation

18th December 2015

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6 Things I Gained from a Year of Mindfulness and Meditation |

The information on this post is taken from my own first-hand experience. If you have any concerns about practicing meditation and mindfulness, please consult your GP or a mental health care professional.

Mindfulness and meditation

I’ve been practicing mindfulness and meditation for a year and I wanted to share some of the benefits I’ve experienced should anyone wish to give it a go in 2016.

I’ve always wanted to calm my mind. A few years ago, I attended yoga classes followed by the University of Oxford meditation society. On both occasions, I struggled to relax in a room of people and I found sitting on the floor gave me cramp. Not very zen!

I’d completely given up when two things happened, firstly I sat next to Mark Williams – the founder of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and author of Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world – at a dinner who gave me an amazing insight into the practice. Then I discovered Andy Puddicombe and his easy to use Headspace app. After downloading the app and working through the 30-day trial, I began to believe it was possible to calm my overthinking mind.

‘Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be’ – Eckhart Tolle

One year on and I feel I have a greater understanding of my mind and by taking time out, I’m certainly doing some good. The changes have been subtle, but they’ve had quite an impact on my outlook. So here are a few of the benefits I’ve experienced from practising mindfulness and meditation.

6 Things I Gained from a Year of Mindfulness and Meditation |

A year of mindfulness and meditation..

An increased awareness of how I feel

Taking the time to stop and observe my thoughts is an insightful thing. Sometimes I feel stressed and busy but when I meditate I find my mind is peaceful. I’m beginning to understand there’s a difference between how I’m feeling and how I think I’m feeling. There’s space between me and my thoughts and this is something I wasn’t aware of before meditation.

A calmer and more spacious mind

Space in my home, my diary and my mind make me feel happy and at ease. And through meditation, I’m able to find space even on days when there’s too much to do. It helps me to pause and stops me feeling overwhelmed.

Easing unnecessary worry

Before meditating, I would occasionally wake up in the middle of the night worrying about things. Through mindfulness, I’m able to gently acknowledge the worry and focus on my breath. And in doing this, I feel an immediate ease in my body as I let go. I wish this technique had been taught in school because it would have removed many sleepless nights!

Learning to be present

I don’t think we’ve ever had as many distractions and so being present can feel like a continuous battle. Through mindfulness, I have learnt to gently note my thoughts and return to the breath and the present moment. And by practising almost daily meditation, I find it’s something I’m beginning to do naturally. If we’re no longer reliving the past or worrying about the future then life is a whole lot simpler.

Enjoying having nothing to do

With a life full of activity, technology and an ever-growing to-do list, we rarely have nothing to do. And so, one of the best things about meditation is just being present. It’s like pressing pause so I can fully appreciate the here and now. I love the stillness and sense of peace and for fifteen minutes it’s a joy to have nothing to do.

Knowing there’s always a blue sky

There’s always calm and blue sky and the more you meditate the easier it is to find these places when things get tough. I’ll admit to occasionally getting wrapped up in emotion however when my feelings are light I’m able to return to the tranquil place in my mind and observe the emotion rather than become it. It’s good to imagine the blue sky because it makes the grey days a whole lot sunnier!

• • •

These photographs were taken using the 4k photo setting on the Lumix GH4. It was invigorating filming a weir from above and capturing the extreme speed of the water. The cold air and noise certainly made me feel present! It took just 30 seconds to capture and then I could put my camera away and enjoy the day. You can read more about 4k photography here.

I hope you have a wonderful day!

6 Things I Gained from a Year of Mindfulness and Meditation |
6 Things I Gained from a Year of Mindfulness and Meditation |
6 Things I Gained from a Year of Mindfulness and Meditation |

This post is a sponsored collaboration with Panasonic. All views are my own.

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  • Reply Eva 18th December 2015 at 3:24 pm

    your post is all I needed! I don’t practise meditation but I would like it’s sound so interesting and peaceful! Like the pictures, we could go into! Have a lovely weekend! xo

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 19th December 2015 at 8:28 am

      Thank you Eva, have a lovely Saturday! x

  • Reply Jess @ Along Came Cherry 19th December 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Wow I really need to do this, my mind is always hectic and I worry about things ALL the time. Those photos really are so relaxing too x

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 21st December 2015 at 11:35 am

      Thank you Jess. It certainly helped my worrying! x

  • Reply Lottie :: Oyster & Pearl 22nd December 2015 at 11:20 am

    I think I need to start taking time out to do this. I’ve dabbled in the past but definitely need to try again. I totally agree – it should be taught in schools!

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 22nd December 2015 at 9:14 pm

      Thanks Lottie, it really is worth it! x

  • Reply Kerry 26th December 2015 at 7:26 pm

    I’ve been trying to get to grips with mindfulness so thanks for pointing me in the direction of Headspace! I’m going to try the app, but the blog is great too.

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 26th December 2015 at 9:29 pm

      Thanks Kerry for stopping by, I can highly recommend Headspace! x

  • Reply Suzen 30th April 2016 at 4:47 am

    Thanks Natasha for the practice down to earth post. I too feel meditation, allowing Silence to be my daily companion created a space, a spaciousness that allows creativity, inspiration and the intuition to expand and blossom. As you stated, it allows us to understand stillness, centering, and a entry into our core; an important place to know and go when the world distracts and overwhelms us. We understand more and more how strange it is to leave our center, the space of balance and harmony. Taking the time to still ourselves on a daily basis brings wisdom in surrendering and letting go of that which no longer works for us, and opening to knowledge which empowers, lifts energy and liberates consciousness.

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 30th April 2016 at 7:51 am

      Thank you Suzen for your lovely comment. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. x

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