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Why Sami Muirhead is investing in brain gymnastics

Sami Muirhead has taken up the art of meditation


Why Sami Muirhead is investing in brain gymnastics

Sami Muirhead likes the idea of meditation in theory, but in practice, it’s proving a lot harder than she thought.

I am learning to meditate. Yes. It is a skill you actually need to learn, which has surprised me as I always naively thought it was a matter of sitting cross-legged and being all Zen with yourself, which would be quite easy. I love sitting. I love daydreaming. And I love doing nothing. I would be totally brilliant at something at long last.

However, I am really bad at sitting and trying to shut my brain off, even just for five minutes. As soon as I hit the ground, I find myself in a frenzy of frenetic thoughts, including wondering what is in the fridge for dinner tonight.

Have I done any of the 34 things on my to-do list? How are the wedding plans coming along for Prince Harry and Megs? Do Samantha and Miranda and the other girls still catch up for a cheeky Cosmo during their New York weekends?

And then I sharply reprimand myself and say, “Come on, Samille! You can sit here and clear your mind of all thoughts.  Just focus on your breath. One. Two.” And then, pop, into my brain springs other crazy thoughts. Is sour cream or guacamole the ultimate ingredient on nachos? Will I ever fit a bikini again? What will the next steamy love scene entail between Jamie and Claire on Outlander? If I print my photos of my kids at work will the printer jam again and land me in trouble? Do penguins have knees?

Damn it! I have yet again failed to think of literally nothing and instead my brain is more like a superhighway of jumbled thoughts. I have only succeeded in being angry with myself for failing miserably in my goal to meditate.

The experts say meditation is great for stress, helps to stimulate creativity, and decrease anxiety. It was once explained to me as having the same benefits as shutting down your phone and allowing it to reboot.  I never do this and my phone is a hot mess with 8000 photos on it. I know. It’s a disaster waiting to happen.

I love the concept of meditation and I love the fact it is free and you can do it anywhere. There is no travel time involved and you do not need the latest Lorna Jane activewear to participate. But you do need discipline.

Perhaps I just need to use that part of my brain that refuses to think of anything else at night when I am craving a Turkish delight. In that moment of sugar craving I have zero problems honing in on one thought and maintaining a focus steelier than Maverick in Top Gun when he puts his missile lock on the enemy and says “I’ve got him locked. Bingo!”

So I will keep on trying to meditate.  Day by day I will chip away until I finally convince my brain and body it’s a good thing to sit still and feel the serenity. I am taking inspiration from possibly the most famous meditator of all time: Yoda. “Do or do not. There is no try”. And after I conquer my wayward brain gymnastics, then I will tackle deleting some of those 8000 photos.


Sami Muirhead is a radio announcer, blogger and commentator. For more from Sami tune into Mix FM.

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