Whenever I have a spare moment after work, I’ve developed a new ritual.
I find somewhere secluded and spend a few minutes clearing my mind.
Sometimes I listen to calming music. Other times I try to focus on just one word or image.
I breathe slowly and deeply…
As my mind stills, it’s hard to explain exactly what comes over me. I’d say I become hyper-aware of everything around me – it’s almost like being in a different state. Either way, it’s a joyful feeling.
Meditation has been critical to getting me through these difficult last months.
Working in the ER several times a week, I’ve witnessed some devastating life-and-death situations. And it’s constantly chaotic.
When I emerge from those shifts, my mind is usually whirring with activity…
…Just like yours may be at the end of your day.
We all live relatively hectic lives and in this COVID environment, balancing all the demands of work and family life has never been harder. If you’re feeling frazzled or low, you’re not alone.
Meditation can give us momentary respite and a more positive mindset.
I get new perspective. Some people wake up after a good night’s sleep with a new way of looking at things. I find that happens to me after meditation – useful new ideas just pop into my head.
But most importantly, studies show that it opens up new neuro-pathways in our minds and changes the way we feel and function long-term.
Separately to this, years ago, a Japanese researcher called Masaru Emoto did an experiment where he exposed glasses of water to different types of music and words.
He then froze the water and analyzed the crystals.
He claimed that calming music, positive words and prayer resulted in crystals that were considered more classically “beautiful”.
Now, Emoto was not a scientist and his work has not been peer-reviewed.
Nevertheless, I strongly relate to the idea he was trying to convey. When we’re exposed to positivity and peace, it affects our very essence.
And when I meditate, I feel that same impact on my mind.
So why am I sharing all this?
Firstly, because as an ER and aesthetic doctor I spend most of my day taking care of people physically – improving their health and helping them look their very best.
But I increasingly appreciate how closely intertwined our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing are.
Eating a healthy diet, doing enough exercise and taking care of your appearance are key to self-care. But they’re only part of the story.
As human beings we need internal peace and a healthy mind to thrive.
And I want to help my patients with this, too.
It’s now exactly a year since the COVID crisis erupted.
Many people I know are coping remarkably well. But like I said, others are still feeling very unsettled. For some people, this is a more difficult period than the first months of the crisis because all it’s so unrelentless.
If that’s the case for you, I encourage you to find even just 10 minutes a day to get away from it all, and focus on your own emotional and mental wellbeing.
Meditation has worked for me, and I’d be thrilled if it worked for you too.
Here are two resources which helped me get started:
>>> Sam Harris – Waking Up app which explores both the theory and the practice of meditation
>>> Alan Watts’ guided meditation on YouTube
Give them a try!
But if meditation’s not for you, find an alternative – perhaps a simple daily stroll, taking up yoga, starting an art project or journaling… There are many choices.
Secondly, I know that many of my patients at Parfaire already meditate.
We talk about it occasionally in clinic… Many of us are on the same page here!
If that’s you, is there an app, author or resource that you’ve found particularly helpful?
I’d love to hear your own meditation tips.