Meditation isn’t just about sitting still and trying to clear away thoughts. It’s the practice of working with and transforming our minds. All of us can use meditation to help disconnect from the noise and pressures of daily life and find a deeper connection with our true selves. There are many ways to achieve the benefits of meditation and, when practiced consistently, it’s a powerful way for us to find balance and calm in our everyday lives.
Quick Tips On Meditation
If you’re new to meditation, start simple. Sit in a comfortable position and focus on inhaling through your nose and exhaling at a comfortable pace. Don’t stress when thoughts come flooding in (They will, because that’s our brain’s job.). Just gently acknowledge the thoughts and return your focus to the breath. Start with a few minutes at a time and build up from there. Over time, you will find it easier to realize when you are getting pulled into unhelpful thought patterns and get better at returning to the present moment. With enough practice, you’ll start doing that throughout your day.
There’s An App for That
Guided meditations can be helpful when we’re building our practice. You can use videos like the ones on this page and search for other free ones on YouTube. Apps like Headspace and Calm are also great tools and offer meditations for all levels.
Mantra meditation uses the repetition of phrases to promote focus and intention.
Simply pick a mantra or affirmation that resonates with you and repeat that phrase in your mind as you breathe in and out. Here are some ideas to get you started: I am guided by love and kindness, I love myself fully, or I am open to all the possibilities ahead of me.
You can do this meditation sitting or standing. Simply close your eyes and focus on your breath. Start by bringing your attention to your feet and noticing any sensations that you feel in that area at that moment. You can also visualize that you are breathing into that area of your body. Slowly move up the body from your ankles to the top of your head becoming aware of any sensations you feel as the breath moves throughout your body. Apps like Insight Timer offer guided body scans, which might be helpful in the beginning.
Walk in Nature
Being outdoors and surrounded by natural beauty can be a calming and inspiring force in our lives, especially if we put away our phones and let ourselves be present to enjoy it. The next time you’re walking outside, bring your attention to what you see, hear and smell all around you. Maybe even stop to observe an animal going about its business. If something on your to-do list or a stressful thought pops into your head, simply acknowledge it and bring your awareness back to your surroundings.
a Good Practice
There is no right or wrong way to meditate and how we feel during meditation can change from day to day depending on what’s on our mind and what we’ve got going on in our lives. The proven benefits of meditation increase when we are consistent. Meditation and self-care often get lost in the shuffle of busy days, but those are the days when we need it the most. Incorporating meditation in your morning and/or evening routines is a great way to ensure your practice doesn’t get overlooked on hectic days.
Meditate While You Wait
We usually think of meditation as sitting in a quiet place. But the great thing is we can spend time working with our minds anywhere. Instead of stressing about your busy day while waiting in line, put on your headphones, play some calming music and focus on your breath. You can focus on a place – real or imagined – that makes you feel relaxed and present.
Need Help Now?
If you or a friend are struggling and need to talk to someone, you are not alone. There are many free, confidential resources available 24/7.