The huge range of responsibilities that come with running a Veterinary Practice can be overwhelming to say the least. The mental strain of staying on top of everything can be immense. All this extra pressure means it is even more important to take care of your mental wellbeing.

Meditation can be a very effective way to boost our mental wellbeing. It can help you deal with the stresses and strains of day to day life without letting things get on top of you.

What is Meditation?

There are many different forms of meditation but one of the most common is referred to as mindfulness. Mindfulness involves taking time to pay more attention to the present moment. It can be all too easy to get lost in the web of our own thoughts, without recognising the impact those thoughts have on our stress levels. Focusing on the present moment can help filter out unhelpful noise and keep our stress levels under control.

How does Mindfulness Meditation help?

There are many misconceptions about meditation. Meditation is not a mystical art that will unlock powerful parts of your mind that have so far been unavailable to you. However, meditation can increase your awareness of what your mind is doing. Many people find that observing their thoughts can help them identify patterns that negatively impact on their lives.

What is it like to meditate?

When practicing mindfulness meditation, the aim is to simply observe our thoughts and feelings. Many people find a quiet place to sit and relax and notice the sensations around them, such as sounds and smells. It is very common to get distracted by thoughts that enter your mind, but when this happens just bring your focus back to the sensations.

The more you practice, the more you notice how many thoughts and feelings you have. You will also start to see how fleeting they can be, and how they don’t need to distract you as much as they might.

How long should you meditate?

The key to meditation is to do it regularly. I would recommend making it part of your daily routine somewhere. Some people prefer to set aside some dedicated time, while others incorporate it into other activities such as walking the dog or going for a run.

The amount of time you spend will depend on you. Any time you spend will help, but for some people a few minutes is all they have to spare, while others can spend over an hour every day.

How can I learn Mindfulness Meditation?

There are many great places you can find recorded guided meditations to use. An app that I highly recommend is www.headspace.com. It contains a series of guided meditations as well as other supporting material such as explainer videos. In both cases you will need to give it time. Like anything that involves practice, it can take time before you notice the results.