02/11/2010 16:05 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

The Trouble With Cheryl Cole's Meditation

Cheryl Cole has turned to meditation to try to deal with the major troubles she's faced in her personal life over the last year.

The 27-year-old X-Factor judge and fashion icon has had a lot to deal with of late - a highly publicised divorce and a battle with malaria.


No wonder her mind's as busy as a Topshop flagship store when Kate Moss launches a new fashion collection. Fair play to her for trying new ways to de-stress and gain more control of her life.

Yet even this isn't going to plan, by the looks of things.

She's admitted she's struggling to get the hang of meditation. Speaking to Vogue in its October issue, the Girls Aloud star said: "I've been trying to meditate but I can't seem to get it.

"My mother does it, and I really think that actually may be the way forward for me, but the thoughts keep coming in. Always. How do you stop them?"

Tip 1 - move it!

Cheryl, if you were my meditation client, the first I'd recommend is 5Rhythms.

Sitting still and 'trying' to relax your mind using just your mind (as opposed to including the body) is likely to be the long and hard path to meditation for anyone as busy as you.

Ease your way by combining it with things you love - great music, socialising and dancing like there's no tomorrow.

5Rhythms is a social meditative dance practice in which you move mindfully and freely (there are no rules) to cool tunes for 1.5 hours with up to a hundred like-minded people.

It's a structured chance to literally shake out your stress and find a space of problem-free peace inside you.

Depending on which accredited teacher's leading and playing DJ, you dance each of the 5Rhythms - flowing, staccato, lyrical, stillness - in turn to all sorts of soul-stirring music. From raise-your-hands-in-the-air club anthems and old school New York disco to smiley reggae and tear-jerking soul ballads.

If you're in London, check out Christian de Sousa who runs a weekly mixed class, and Chloe de Sousa who leads women-only classes and workshops. Their playlists, guidance and love for what they do make a difference to many.

For a list of UK classes, click on Teachers at, the website of 5Rhythm's creator.

Tip 2 - invite it; don't fight it
While 'how do I stop my thoughts?' is a natural question for a novice meditator, it's not going to help.

Here's the thing: your mind has thoughts. All the time it's busy, busy, busy distracting you from the here and now - the place it does everything to take you away from because it's where it has much less control over you. To try and stop it directly is just making things extra difficult for yourself.

You gotta be clever. Be smarter than your mind.

One way is to adopt a consciously helpful attitude like - how do I make friends with my thoughts?

Start by keeping things simple; by sitting still somewhere where you won't be disturbed for at least 15 minutes and watching your thoughts as they come and go. Watch. That's all you need do.

Rather than rejecting your thoughts – this just gives them more power to stress you – choose an internal attitude of 'Hello, welcome', as if each was a good friend of yours who's just turned up on your doorstep. Perhaps feeling a bit crappy about themselves.

With practice, this accepting approach - which is also part of 5Rhythms - naturally leads to a slowing down of your thoughts, leaving you feeling calmer, softer and more present.

Cheryl was granted a divorce from Chelsea footballer Ashley Cole on 3 September.

Has meditation helped you through hard times? We're interested in your experiences; they might inspire others.