Get your summer mind ready
We all spend a lot of time and effort getting our bodies ready for the summer holidays, but what about our minds?
Picture this, you’re on holiday, sitting on a beautiful beach. Waves are crashing on the soft, white sand and you’re with your family or close friends, the people that you love the most in the world. But you’re not happy. You’ve worked all year to pay for this holiday, which makes it even more frustrating that you can’t just relax and enjoy it.
You could be worrying about the meeting that you have next month or the meeting that you had last month. You could be comparing this holiday to your previous holiday. Even if it’s the best holiday that you’ve ever had, you could be worrying about how you’re going to afford to keep having holidays like this in the future, maybe you should get another job that pays more? Whatever you’re worrying about, it’s pulling you away from the present moment and preventing you from properly appreciating your holiday.
It sometimes feels like the more you try to get rid of these worries and unwanted thoughts, the more they plague you. But there is a way to train your brain to become more aware of the present moment and appreciate what is right in front of you.
Learning to meditate can make all the difference. During meditation you learn how to deal with your mind’s tendency to pull you into the future or into the past and practice paying attention to the present moment. This spills over to your everyday life and you’ll find yourself noticing the way the wind moves a branch or the scent of a particular flower.
Just like exercise changes the physical structure of your body, meditation can actually change the physical structure of your brain. Research teams from Harvard discovered that regular meditation strengthens connections in your brain that are associated with attention and compassion and weakens connections in the area of your brain associated with anxiety and stress.
Doing a meditation course before you go away can really help you make the most of your holiday. You’ll also have more time to meditate on holiday, so it will be easier to introduce it into your daily routine.
Meditation won’t magically upgrade you to flying first class or your hotel from three stars to five, but it can radically enrich your experience. Learning to pay attention and appreciate what’s around you will not only enhance your enjoyment of your holiday, it will also make you more pleasant to be around. In fact, these holidays, a relaxed happy mind will probably get you more positive attention than that new swimming costume.