Q&A from the NorthPsych blog
Join Janelle to discover how meditation and mindfulness can positively affect your overall wellbeing by helping you to relax, improve resilience, creativity, mental clarity, and more.
Meet Janelle - Q&A from the NorthPsych blog.
How were you introduced to meditation?
Many years ago when I was working in a corporate job I met someone who was doing meditation classes, and I signed up with the same teacher. I had been curious about learning to meditate but it wasn't as popular back then, actually it was probably thought of as a bit hippy. 12+ years later I'm still going!
How do you feel that it has benefited you over the years?
Meditation has been one of the best skills I've learnt. It has helped me to be more calm and relaxed, and also to be more energised; I'd say that I probably didn't realise how calm I was not!
It has benefited me across many aspects of life, from work to friends, family, especially helping my children to grow in a calmer and happier environment. I'm more focussed, less distracted, more positive about myself, about the life I have led and want to live. It's allowed me to hear my intuition clearer, to learn more about myself, about others and how we impact the world around us.
I'd say it's helped me to generally feel better, to view life with more joy, and continually work at being a better version of myself.
What is the most challenging part of meditation for you?
Forcing myself to be still and not 'do' anything. To let go of my over-busy mind, unhelpful feelings and internal monologue.
Favourite thing about teaching meditating?
My favourite things about providing meditations for others is working out which visualisation will suit the individual, because we are all so different and one meditation may not work for the next person. It also teaches me to be calmer and closer to my spiritual self for my own benefit as well as facilitating an effective session for the client.
Is meditation for anyone, or is it best left to monks?
It's true that meditation has been practiced in many forms for centuries by people of religious or spiritual persuasion but in the 1970s it was adapted and brought to the West, particularly for stress management, pain management and general therapeutic benefits.
Now, it's no longer just used by hippies or monks. It is used by people in high achieving sports and corporate environments, as well as people wanting to find a way to relax and also develop themselves inwardly and find a more satisfying life. One can also think of it as another element to include in your wellbeing routine – along with eating well, exercising – to clean and maintain a healthy mind and emotions. Our minds and emotions are, after all, a very important asset for living our lives well.
It is also possible to develop yourself spiritually, whereby you not only focus on self awareness but also align yourself with an inner place of greater balance and harmony, go deeper and relate to a higher truth.
Note: Some people find that the stillness within meditation can bring up traumatic emotions, and for those individuals it is best to carry out private meditation sessions in consultation with an experienced teacher, medical professional &/or psychologist. And the same goes for those people who have been diagnosed (or have suspected) mental illnesses, such as post traumatic stress disorder etc.
If someone is super busy or thinks they cannot meditate, what would you advise they do to get the benefits in the smallest amount of time?
I'd recommend starting small. By committing to mindful moments 5-10mins daily, you would work up to twice a day. From simply listening to your breath, walking on the grass with bare feet, or sipping a cup of tea – whatever you choose, make that be all that you do. A Harvard study has shown that almost half of the time we are thinking of something other than what we're doing.
By starting with the foundations, you are simply aiming to be aware of your breath and notice how you are feeling physically, mentally and emotionally in a moment. Over time and with practice many people find it less difficult, and start to notice that they are getting used to feeling calmer, and feel better for it.
The aim of mindfulness is to be non-judgemental, which in itself is very challenging, so although this is the aim I would recommend to let it be as it is. And it is even better to include a smile; learning to calmly enjoy the moment whatever occurs.
Registered Meditation Teacher
Mike is a Clinical Psychologist and the founder and director of NorthPsych. He has... Janelle is a teacher and facilitator of meditation. She has been practising and studying meditation for over a decade and brings her passion for living a joyful, calm and fulfilled life to her sessions.