Meditation: five tips for integrating “mind hygiene” into everyday life

When initiating the practice of meditation, the interested one will find challenges, but the reward is an improvement of the quality of life, guarantee the specialists.

by Teresa David
February 19, 2019,

Meditation is “like the hygiene of the mind,” says Rute Caldeira, author of The Power of Meditation. Their practice can help in case of stress or anxiety, for example, says Vera Simões, a yoga teacher and author of the book Stop. Feel. Breathe. Meditation instructor Hannah Thantrey acknowledges that it is not easy to introduce it into a full day-to-day life, so there are several types of meditation.

According to the Health at a Glance 2018 report, Portugal is the fifth country in the European Union with the highest prevalence of mental health problems. According to Ashtanga Yoga teacher Vera Simões, meditation “teaches us to be present at the moment” and to “face fears, insecurities and above all to live freer, free within ourselves.”

From the conversations with Hannah Thantrey, Rute Caldeira and Vera Simões, the PUBLIC outlines five proposals to help the practice of meditation.

Create a routine
Just like brushing your teeth or practicing physical exercise, it is important to create a routine so that meditation really has an effect. According to Vera Simões, the ideal will be to meditate daily, but if it is not possible, it is necessary to define in which days and at what time to practice it. For example, “instead of getting up at 7:30 am and running to prepare the children’s breakfast, or whatever, I get up a half hour early, go to my corner and do my meditation” , suggests.

Do not give up on the first
Stopping and starting over is part of the process of learning to meditate. This is because reaching the level of concentration required and controlling breathing requires more than one attempt. According to the experts, meditation is easy but it is probable that in the first attempts the person will find “obstacles and challenges, but from there, day after day, will acquire greater calm, greater presence,” says Vera Simões. For Hannah Thantrey, meditation instructor “as long as there is the possibility of noticing distractions not only as part of the practice, but with a slight smile, getting back to focus, that’s okay.” That is, it is not enough to sit and close your eyes to enter a meditative state, you must learn to “calm the mental activity and then start meditating,” recommends Rute Caldeira.

Lack of time is no excuse
Meditation instructor Hannah Thantrey says that one of her teachers said, “We all say, ‘Give me only ten minutes to get ready,’ but no one says, ‘Give me only ten minutes to meditate.'” In fact, integrating a non-priority activity into the day-to-day running can be tricky, but in reality we can meditate “when we rest the body to sleep or even in those five or ten minutes when we do not get up straight away. Even if it’s only five minutes, we notice a difference “, affirms Rute Caldeira. Although not ideal, it is better to meditate for a short time than to continue to “experience more fatigue, exhaustion, energy breakdown, irritability, mental confusion and a host of other problems that are becoming more frequent” says the teacher of Ashtanga Yoga, Vera Simões.

Discover the ideal type of meditation
There are various types of meditation and various ways of doing it. “Some meditations will not work with person A, but they can work wonderfully with person B,” says Vera Simões. The practice that sheteaches, Ashtanga Yoga, is dynamic and aims to achieve meditation on the move. “With movement, it’s easier for people to start connecting with themselves, with their breathing, with their bodies, then calm down and become more focused. When it is time to sit down, they have already acquired instruments to make it happen, “she explains. The type of meditation that Hannah Thantrey practices and shares is based on the Theravada Buddhist tradition – mindfulness. This is also a dynamic practice and uses “breathing and the body as anchors,” explains the instructor. The trick is to try out several and find out which one is right for you.

Apps and books for those who do not have time for classes
Applications for smartphones have proved to be a useful and accessible resource for beginners in the practice of meditation. Apps like Headspace and Calm are two of the best known deals. Vera Simões believes that contact with a teacher is always more special, but recognizes the advantages of this resource to “inspire to start doing something, to begin to sit, to begin to learn to be in silence, to cultivate focus and concentration “, all added to the quality of life, she says.

The advice of Rute Caldeira for those who have never meditated is to start by “researching some book or watching some videos on YouTube, so that people realize that there are techniques that lead us to this state of breathing, of concentration, and this is fundamental,” ensures.
In Hannah Thantrey’s opinion, “recordings with guided meditations are also very useful, however, the possibility of meeting with the Sangha [the practicing community] allows for a deeper delivery.”


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