A lady Meditating the photograpy by Max

How Meditation Can Help You During Lockdown

January 31, 2021 0 Comments

After a year of restrictions, the post-Christmas blues and an extended period of lockdown, this winter is not an easy road for many of us.

We are having to work harder in our mindset and come up with strategies that alleviate stress and anxiety, promoting a relaxed and positive attitude. One of these strategies is meditation.

Studies have shown that meditation can be a powerful mental tool to achieve greater clarity, lower levels of stress and reduced anxiety.

When practised daily, meditation can also improve your ability to focus and enhance memory and attention.

But what exactly is meditation?

Meditation is a mental practice which uses a series of techniques to heighten your state of awareness. When applying these techniques, you train yourself to become more conscious about your thoughts, observing them without judgment, which allows you to understand yourself better and as a result, widen your perspective. This leads to a significant improvement of your psychological well-being.

There are many different types of meditation, depending on the practice and chosen techniques. Some of these include:

Spiritual meditation – it incorporates components of silence, prayers, and self-control, and aims to build a deeper connection to the Divine.

Mindfulness meditation – it fosters a state of consistent happiness by enhancing self-knowledge and understanding.

Loving-kindness meditation – it promotes generous and selfless love towards yourself and others, increasing your level of compassion and acceptance.

Movement meditation – it involves physical movements such as walking, yoga to create a stronger connection between the body and the mind.

Focused meditation – as its name indicates, it teaches how to calm the mind by focusing on an object or breathing with the aim of promoting concentration and self-awareness.

Visualisation meditation – it uses imagination to create a mind-soothing picture in your mind, for example, the open sky, or a serene river stream, and let pent-up emotions and negative thoughts wash away in the imagined scene, encouraging calmness and positivity.

Chanting meditation – it involves repeating ‘Mantras’ or words linked to happiness, gratitude, self-love, compassion, and inner peace. Regular chanting of these phrases is meant to allow positive energy into your life and help you experience wellness at the very core.

Broadening - perspective meditation – encourages you to look at issues or situations which lead to negative feelings from different perspectives, in order to widen your viewpoints and achieve acceptance. 

Meditation can, therefore, be a powerful tool to help you reach a well-balanced head space. As a result, it can:

  • improve the quality of your sleep, 
  • enable you to be calmer during stressful situations, 
  • boost your energy levels and,
  • cultivate a more positive mindset.

Regardless of your chosen method to meditate, you can enhance your practice with other tools to help you achieve a deeper meditative state and concentration. One of these tools is fragrances.

When you perceive a particular smell, not only you experience the sensation of the odour, but also the emotions associated with these sensations. Scientific studies reveal that many of our olfactory likes and dislikes are based purely on emotional associations.

Your olfactory receptors are directly connected to the limbic system, the most ancient and primitive part of your brain, which is thought to be the seat of emotion. Smell sensations are transmitted to the cortex, where ‘cognitive’ recognition occurs, only after the deepest parts of your brain have been stimulated. Therefore your emotions are awakened before you are able to identify the scent that has triggered them. 

Thus, using scent can be a great way to prepare and support your meditation practice, as they can influence your emotions and create an environment which aids balance and serenity.

What scents can you use to enhance your meditation practice?

  1. Chamomile, lavender, jasmine and basil are incredibly clean, bright, and calming scents, promoting relaxation, emotional stability and mental clarity. They can be used to heal anxiety, depression, restlessness, insomnia and general emotional imbalance. Incorporating them in your evening meditation can bring you into a deeper state of tranquility, improving the quality of your sleep.
  2. Rosemary, black pepper, melissa and geranium have a pick-me-up, uplifting fragrance. They are known for their properties to replenish waning energy, enlivening the mood and promoting emotional balance. They can, therefore, be applied to comfort and strengthen the senses and ease negative moods such as fatigue. They work well when used in movement, mindfulness or visualisation meditation by inspiring focus and enhancing enlightenment. 
  3. Rose and patchouli’s floral fragrance can be used to help ground the spirit. They inspire calmness and quietude of the mind to support concentration, hence they work well in focused mediation. Their warm and rich aroma is known to reduce anxiety, exhaustion, and feelings of aggression, depression, fear, and insecurity. They are a good choice for visualisation and broadening-perspective meditations to encourage the body and mind to wind down and achieve a sense of contentment and serenity.
  4. Vetiver and neroli’s scents are associated with grounding and positivity. Their refreshing, invigorating fragrances spur creative energy, reducing sadness, stress, pain, and even inflammation. When used in meditation they can help promote self-acceptance, self-love, courage, and personal responsibility, being an excellent choice when practicing loving-kindness and widen-perspective methods. 

Dr. Louise Taylor, a 5 Elements Yoga instructor (200YTT) who runs short courses on meditation explains why she loves this practice and the benefits of incorporating it into your daily routine: “The speed and demands of modern living can leave us exhausted and almost permanently fatigued. I have found through meditation a way of putting the world around me on pause for a while and thereby, gain clarity and mental strength to address situations in a calmer, in control manner and with sustained energy.”

You can experience a taster of Louise’s meditation practice with candle on her latest YouTube video: Candle Meditation

All scents mentioned above are the signature fragrance of Illumine’s candle and room sprays range. You can shop the full collection here.

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