17/01/2011 10:35 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Signs You Need To Meditate

Do you want a break from yourself? Are you good at being busy but bad at just being? Do all the small things drive you crazy? Sounds like you could do with some mind-calming meditation. Read on for more telltale signs that your monkey mind is the boss of you.

barack-obama It's important to make time to relax, Barack. Photo: PA

1. Your New Year's resolutions aren't happening (despite your best intentions)
Regular meditation flexes your focus muscles and makes you better at dealing with things one at a time. It may also reveal to you why you're sabotaging your attempts to make a better life for yourself. With this new knowledge, you can make - and stick to - decisions with more clarity and confidence.

2. You got everything you wanted for Christmas, but the niggling feeling that something's missing still won't budge
Regular meditation miraculously chips away at the defense walls you've unconsciously built around yourself that keep you separate, cut off from a connection with something bigger than your personality, age, gender, likes and dislikes.

3. You avoid spending time alone
Think of your best friend or partner... Got them? Now imagine what kind of relationship you'd have if you barely spent any time together, never listened to anything they said, and constantly rejected their feelings. Tragic, isn't it?

This is what you're doing to yourself every day you don't spent at least five minutes turning your attention inwards and hanging out with your thoughts and feelings. Meditation is a powerful antidote to a sense of disconnection and emptiness way too many of us suffer from.

4. You think meditation is "not for me, thanks"
How do you know until you try? The way I see it, if you have a mind, it's going to benefit from a clearing out. It needs a rest.

OK. I want to meditate! Where do I sign up?
Start with a Google search for a class or teacher near you that appeals. Some will have a religious/spiritual background and set practices, others not. Experiment and see which suits you best. Don't give up just because you didn't like your first attempt. Can you imagine where your love life would be if you gave up boys after the first bad kisser? Shop around until you find the right fit.

I'm not sold yet, actually...
Read all about it first, then. One of the best mind-mastering books around is professor Jon Kabat-Zinn's Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life (£9, Piatkus Books).

The best-selling guide explains how anyone can use mindfulness - the Buddhist art of living each moment fully as it happens - to reduce anxiety, achieve inner peace and find fulfillment. "Excellent when your monkey mind is going crazy" says a reviewer on Amazon.

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