At a time when Covid-19 has dominated our lives more than ever, we need to understand how our body works and how we can look after it.

A strong immune system can do just that as it is able to fight off infections as well as prevent us from contracting highly contagious diseases.

Yes, there are supplements out there that can help, but lifestyle changes can also contribute greatly towards boosting the immune system naturally and at times effortlessly too.

For instance, there are more and more researchers out there that suggest sleeping just 7 plus hours a night will help bolster the immune system.

A good night’s sleep is still overlooked by many. Personally, I value it more and more as it affects all that I do and anything that can do that must affect my immune system too and if it does mine, it will do yours too.

Of Course, as a Meditation Teacher, I am always going to include both Meditation and Yoga as they are not only relaxing but reduce stress levels and strengthen the nervous system both of which directly affect our immune system.

As too regular moderate exercise but do be aware intense exercise can actually weaken us albeit temporarily.

A healthy diet is probably one of the more obvious ones less processed, more whole foods, more vegetables, less alcohol, etc.

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/foods-that-boost-the-immune-system

I am not going to go into the whole meat or no meat debate as I am not qualified to add such an opinion but would always encourage you to speak to a nutritionist. It may cost money but it’s your body and certainly worth prioritising in one’s budget!

To finish, surround yourself with less stressful situations, News whilst informative can appear sensationalised, and largely focuses on the difficulties we face.

Social Media too has many benefits but with so many conspiracy theories out there about what’s going on in the world it can be incredibly stressing especially if you are not in a position to do anything about it.

Instead, why not connect with nature by going for a walk, pick up a fun book, do something that you love, call a friend you haven’t spoken to for an age and laugh more, much more.

For regardless of what’s going on in the world there is also much to be happy and grateful for and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise!

Resources

https://www.verywellfit.com/exercise-and-immunity-3120439
https://www.verywellfit.com/what-is-high-intensity-exercise-1230811

Apple, Google, Nike, Deutsche Bank, Mckinsey & Co, Procter and Gamble, Unilever and Microsoft are well documented to offer Meditation programmes to their staff.     

Oprah Winfrey’s team actually sit down together and meditate before starting their working day and only recently I taught an organisation in London that now has a Group Meditation slot between 4:00pm-4:30pm, Monday- Friday.     

A few years ago this would have been considered excessively hippyish and bordering on cultish.  Nowadays we recognise it as an essential part of any genuine (not just a tick in the box) wellbeing programme and rightfully so.

Mental health in the workplace has been brought to the forefront over the last few years where it is believed 1:4 of us are affected (though if you speak to many professionals they would say it’s much more) and whilst some cases are considered mild, 1:5 have called in sick rather than face work with 42% actually considered resigning.

When you think of the costs of sick days as well as recruiting and re-training staff you can certainly understand why wellbeing programmes have become such an important initiative for any organisation regardless of size (In the US alone it is believed a quarter of employers are now using “Stress Reduction Initiatives” with the goal to reduce stress and improve their reactions to it!)      

But this is not the only reason why Meditation will continue to grow in the workplace as not only does it help deal with stressful situations as well as boost confidence and reduce anxiety as well as a whole string of other Health Benefits, but it can also enhance performance too.  

Many Meditators I have taught are not only enjoying their roles more than ever, by feeling less stressed but are also noticing positive side effects including Increased Energy Levels and Drive, Improved Focus, Enhanced Creativity along with Greater Clarity of Thought.

They are not alone, for these are common traits associated with people who regularly Meditate and in the competitive world that we live where we are constantly pushed to be at our very best, any advantage, could indeed be a winning one.    

       

Resources

https://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/mental-health.htm

https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-at-work/taking-care-of-your-staff/

Continuing where we left off with Part 1 (https://andreberrymeditation.co.uk/maintaining-your-meditation-practice-part-1/),

It’s good to look and learn from others who have become masters in their respective fields.

It’s logical, especially if we think back to the previous post where we discussed the Footballer and Doctor who clearly have to live and breathe their chosen professions in order to excel.

Whilst we are not looking to become “professionals” as such, being at the very least, interested in how stress affects the Mind can only help motivate us to deal with it as efficiently and as effectively as possible!  

Plus, we should want to know more.  It’s crazy that we don’t, every challenge we face in life can be made easier through greater awareness of the Mind’s potential and Meditation does just that naturally, easily and effortlessly!

Now that you are more inspired, if you haven’t already, attend a Meditation Course.  I know there are plenty of books and more and more are online. But look for courses where you can work directly with a teacher, ideally in person!   

For when they are working directly with you, they are able to recognise subtle differences between a correct and incorrect practice that wouldn’t always be so obvious in a book or online.  

Once you have learned, attend any support sessions that are available.  They invariably serve as an excellent refresher, packed with knowledge and attract like-minded souls (who can also be wonderful in encouraging you through times you’d rather do something else, which happens to us all)!    

Any decent teacher out there, of which there are many.  Will offer continued support. Some will offer it online and on the phone, others will offer group meetings, retreats and a few will offer 1:1 meetings too.  Just so you know we offer it all 😉   

Now, look to create a lifestyle that supports your practice.  

Nothing too excessive, but do explore the idea getting a good night’s sleep, as sleep affects everything we do including Meditation and Yoga (If you are struggling with sleep I do recommend “Sleep” by Nick Littlehales who has some excellent tips on how to get a great night’s sleep also “Why we Sleep” by Matthew Walker is very good.  Meditation itself will also help).        

To add, in “Atomic Habits” by James Clear (a very good book on the art of maintaining good habits) he believes initially in small changes/shifts integrated into your day, rather than big ones are the way forward when looking to grow your Meditation.      

So whether your practice requires you to “Close Your Eyes” once a day, twice a day, or numerous times throughout the day.  Some time is better than no time!  

In time, 5 minutes will become 10 minutes, 10 minutes will become 15 and so on.  

Next thing you know the regularity will become your new norm, by attending support sessions you are now interpreting experiences correctly, you are also more motivated than ever to maintain your practice because you understand the benefits of meditation and you not only have support as and when you want it but you now have access to like-minded friends who also think the same way as you do and that is Meditation not only works but is AMAZING!!   

So, back at the tail end of last year or the beginning of this, you made your New Years Resolutions and one of them was to Meditate regularly. 

After all, your friends do it and they love it and every time you go on to YouTube or you read your favorite celebrities’ biography, they talk or write about how their practice quite literally changed their life!  

Plus now, there is more and more research out there to indicate that indicate a regular meditation practice is more than just a hippy thing from the 1960s but a tool to help deal with pretty much everything life throws at you. 

A powerful tool indeed!

Yet, none the less you just can’t get that regular practice happening.  You read a book or 2 or you go on youtube and watch a couple of clips. You feel inspired briefly but it rarely lasts and even when you do manage a few moments to close your eyes…

All you find yourself doing is fidgeting around, whilst thinking about your next meeting, what time you are catching up with your mates and more importantly what’s for dinner! (Depending on what you practice this is not necessarily a bad thing you maybe just interpreting the experience incorrectly).

This, of course, can be very frustrating and quite often rather than persisting, you give up saying you gave it your best but it wasn’t really for you or you try something else only for that to follow a similar pattern!

However, the key to a regular practice isn’t in the books, a youtube clip or even a course you undertake… 

It’s about creating a new mindset from the one you currently have that will allow you to benefit from that “improved self-awareness” “increased energy levels” or “greater clarity of thought” often associated with a regular meditation practice and it is one based around dedication!

I suppose it’s kinda obvious, after all, if you take any profession in the world.  Whether it be a footballer or a doctor, in order for them to be at their very best in their field they have to be totally dedicated to their practice whether it be healing patients or entertaining the crowds.

In Part 2 of Maintaining a Regular Meditation Practise, we will explore the art of creating a dedicated practise and not only is it not as hard as you think it would be but also you will be delighted to read, you won’t have to put in anywhere near as many hours as a wannabe doctor or footballer would do to perfect theirs.   

Being Dyslexic and never passing a single written exam, I have always found communication through the written word a challenge.

But as I continue this year in attempting to push beyond in all that I do and not just everything I enjoy.  I felt I should start writing my very own Blog.

Not going to lie, partly because of my website guy (the hugely impressive Andrea Meneghini) said it would add further personality to www.andreberrymeditation.co.uk whilst also becoming more Google friendly.  A good thing…I guess!

Pushing ones Comfort Zones is of course important.  It gives us confidence, reduces anxiety and creates a greater awareness of our true potential, all of which can lead to a real sense of satisfaction, growth and all-round happiness.  Characteristics, we can all benefit from I am sure you will agree!

It’s not always easy, it’s not meant to be, after all, we are going into unchartered territories.

This piece may seem to be a pretty smooth first post but the reality is that I starred at the screen blankly for a while before disappearing to do some Yoga, Meditation and then have lunch before eventually setting down to just do it…..frustratingly slowly!

As you can see it is now completed, largely down to a stubborn streak that lies within me.  That once I set my mind to do something I rarely, if ever back down.  Plus additional support in the form of my regular twice daily Meditation practice!

Being an Independent Teacher of Transcendental Meditation (TM), I am fortunate to witness and understand not only my own growth since learning this wonderful Meditation from the Vedic Tradition

Also, others who I have taught this simple yet highly effective technique to, as they have gone on to tackle the challenges of everyday life with newfound levels of confidence.

This is simply down to greater self-awareness and naturally finding yourself not to taking it all quite so seriously (all of which we will explore in future posts).

Thinking about how this post has come together today, in the past, I would have pushed through with grit and determination to make this happen.  I would have grimaced a few times and no doubt swore a lot.

Whereas now its actually been a pleasant process.  A long one, but an enjoyable one none the less.  Cool!  Next up, Stand Up Comedy!