We’re all running on that hamster wheel, keeping up with work, with kids, running around in circles, day in, day out, some racing a little faster than others. Some getting so wound up or burnt-out they fall off the wheel, incapable of keeping up the pace they set for themselves.

What if there was a “magic pill” of sorts to help us gain better control over our minds, our reactions, our moods and our thoughts?

In a way, there is. It’s called meditation, which is the process of calming your mind, focusing on the present moment and finding that peace.

We hear what you’re saying: meditation isn’t for everyone. Candles and crystals aren’t really your thing, and you haven’t sat cross-legged on the floor since primary school. The thing is, that’s not really what meditation is. It’s much more, says meditation teacher Maree Hollebone.

Increasingly, everyday people are using meditation to reduce stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed.

“A lot of people think meditation is just sitting around chanting ‘om’, or clanging gongs or things like that,” says Maree. “There’s so much more to it though, and it’s so basic and fundamental that it doesn’t need those spiritual or etheric umbrellas hanging over it.”

For Maree, her life before meditation was one that could be familiar to many of us. She spent 30 years working in the corporate sector, across finance, health administration and training, and eventually, as so many do, she “crashed and burned”.

“I realised, ‘hang on, there’s a bit more to life than this. I’m not managing – what do I need to do to manage?’”

Meditation was Maree’s medicine. After much in-depth research, living her own results and then pursuing formal qualification, Maree now shares her appreciation for meditation through her business Mind Massage – Creating Positive Minds.

“We massage knots out of our muscles, and we can massage the ‘nots’ out of our minds. All those ‘nots’ like, I’m not good enough, I’m not allowed to do this, this should not happen to me. All of those negative thoughts.

“If we massage our minds, we won’t build-up those physical manifestations of stress and anxiety, or tension in the first place. That’s where my theory behind meditation and Mind Massage comes from,” says Maree.

There are many proven benefits to meditation – better control over actions, reactions and internal dialogue, greater self-awareness, improved concentration, better sleep less stress and anxiety. (Read more about the benefits of meditation here.) And the techniques are so simple too; anyone can give it a go. Start with breathing, and move to progressive muscle relaxation. No fancy candles or cushions required.

“What I’m about is stepping away from overthinking or what I like to call the ‘stinkin’ thinkin’ , which is like getting on a hamster wheel and your mind can’t stop,” says Maree.

“We all talk about maintaining our cars, homes and gardens, and physical bodies – and women spend so much money on hair and skin and clothing – but what do we do to maintain our minds?

“If you haven’t got the inside right, there’s no point working on the outside.”

 This article is one in a four-part series. Read the rest.