Meditation Made Easy

Alison Nancye's latest blog on meditation is MEDITATION MADE EASY. For more blogs on meditation, mindfulness and feeding the positive, go to The Life Kitchen

After 20 years meditating and writing books and running workshops on how to find your inner calm, I still regularly get asked the same questions: “How can meditation be made easier?” and “How do I stop the head chatter?”

Quite honestly, it’s about committing to meditation and giving it a go. Like anything in life, we get better with practise – riding a bike, driving a car, swimming laps, cooking, etc. Think of meditation like a muscle you are developing; the more you do it, the more flexible, stronger and agile your mind and outlook on life will be.

Practising regular meditation can have a significant positive impact on how you respond to day-to-day stresses as well as dealing with the bigger life stuff. It doesn’t take much to shift your focus to healthy thoughts using meditation as a tool to support you feeling well in mind; all you have to do is stop, close your eyes and breathe.

Here’s 5 ways to enhance your meditation experience

  1. Regular Routine
    Choose a set time to meditate each day and try to stick to that routine. For example: before you go to work or school, after breakfast, before bed, or before an exam, meeting or crucial decision making point in the day.
  2. Same Spot
    If you can meditate in the same place each day it will help you to relax quicker being in the familiar setting.
  3. Quiet Space
    If you want to give your mind the opportunity to be quiet then ensure you are free from distractions and disturbances throughout your meditation practise.
  4. Set Timer
    Often people can find meditation overwhelming because they never know when to stop and and feel complete. You don’t have to meditate for a long time to feel the benefits. Setting a clock for an allocated time can help you to let go of the worry of everything else and know the alarm will remind you when your meditation time is up.
  5. Just Breathe
    If you find your mind wandering or you’re at a loss for what to ‘do’ while meditating, turn your attention away from your mind and to your body. Simply focus on the natural rise and fall of your belly; doing this allows your breath to organically find it’s flow.

Self Praise for Girls

Alison Nancye's latest self esteem blog for girls is SELF PRAISE. Go to The Umbrella Girls book series to read more blogs and more about the books.

From a very young age children seek praise. When they are little, a daughter's parents tend to be their first choice to hear those kind, loving, generous, thoughtful positive words they so want to hear. In the absence of a father or mother, your girls may look to a grandparent, carer, older sibling, cousin, teacher, aunt, uncle, family friend, or friend at school or in the neighbourhood. 

This typical development cycle teaches children to look for and seek praise from external sources other than themselves. While it is incredibly beneficial to a child's self esteem, wellbeing and self development to receive praise from parents and people of influence in their lives (please keep praising your children!) it is incredibly important to teach your children to praise themselves. 

When we learn to compliment ourselves, praise ourselves, and acknowledge ourselves for our achievements, milestones and simply for being the unique and special person we are, we naturally develop resilience skills to build resistant against bullying, hurtful remarks, and being put down by others no matter who it is. We also learn to value ourselves, value what we love, and value what is most important to us.

Here's 3 Ideas to support girls building their self esteem and self worth through self praise.

A child will often come to a parent or person of influence and ask you what you think of them. It might be an outfit they chose for themselves, a project they completed, a race they ran, a painting they did. Instead of first saying what you think of their work or performance and ultimately telling them what you think of them, turn the question back and ask your daughters what they think. Then, once your daughters have praised themselves, by all means join the praise congregation and praise your girls.

If your children see and hear you praising yourself then they will learn to do this too. It could be as simple as sharing an achievement from your work day. It could be saying how much you enjoy eating your own home cooking. It could be how much you love your body when you do yoga, swimming, hiking or walking after dinner each evening. Whatever it is, practise self praise and practise sharing this self praise with your daughters.

There can be many factors that start that inner critic dialogue in a young girl's psyche. But once it's there, it keeps perpetuating if we feed those negative and destructive comments. Encourage your daughters to really notice when they are putting themselves down and then replace that negative dialogue with something positive. Even better, if you can get your daughters to say out loud words of positive praise while looking at themselves in the mirror.