Do you feel on edge, tired, stressed, or frustrated? Meditation is an ancient mind-body practice that promotes relaxation and well-being. Research shows that meditating may have stress-relieving psychological and physical health benefits that include reduced blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia and depression. Additionally, meditation has been shown to reduce the number of times you get the flu or a cold as well as how long and how severe symptoms are. You may think that learning to meditate effectively is hard or too time consuming, but you really only need a few minutes in your day to practice these simple exercises and feel refreshed.
1. Locate a quiet place. The world is a distracting place and this may not be an easy request. However, a quiet spot where you can meditate without interruption is valuable when learning to meditate to reduce stress. As you become more proficient with meditation, outside distractions will bother you less and less. At first, many things will probably distract you. You will hear cars driving by, birds and people talking. It is best to turn off all electronic devices like cell phones and television to minimize things that could draw your attention away from your meditative task. A room with a door you can close usually works well but you can also get earplugs if needed. As you develop greater meditation skill, you will find that you can meditate anywhere—even in high-stress situations, such as traffic, work or crowded stores.
2. Decide on a comfortable position. Meditation can be done lying down, walking, sitting or really any position. The key is to be comfortable so that discomfort does not distract you. Some people may feel more connected in a traditional cross-legged position. This can be uncomfortable for beginners, though, so consider propping your bottom up on a pillow, sitting in a chair or using a wall to support your back.
3. Control your breathing. All meditation uses controlled breathing. Breathing deeply helps your body and mind relax. In fact, effective meditation can be practiced just by focusing on your breathing. Breathe in through your nose and then out through your nose. You will want your mouth closed but relaxed while you breathe. Listen to the sound your breath makes. Use the diaphragm muscle to expand your lungs. Put your hand on your stomach. It should rise as you inhale and lower as you exhale. Breathe in and breathe out at regular intervals. Controlling your breath allows you to slow the rate of your breathing and fill your lungs with more oxygen per breath. Taking deep breaths relaxes the muscles of your upper torso, such as those in the shoulder, neck and chest. Deep diaphragm breathing is more efficient than shallow breathing with your upper chest area.
4. Focus on something. Paying attention to something or even nothing at all is an important component of effective meditation. The goal is to free your mind from distractions that cause stress so your body and mind will get a break. Some people choose to focus on an object, image, mantra or each breath but you can also focus on a blank screen or something else. Your mind will probably wander during meditation. This is normal and to be expected—even for those who have been practicing meditation for a long time. When this happens, just bring your thoughts back to what you were focusing on when you started your meditation, whether it was an object, your breathing or a feeling.
5. Engage in prayer. Praying is a type of meditation practiced all over the world in many different religious and non-religious contexts. Adapt the prayer to meet your needs, personal beliefs and meditative goals. You can pray out loud, silently or write down your prayer. It can be in your own words or those of others. Prayers can be devout or casual. Decide what best fits who you are, your belief systems and what you want the prayer to do. You can pray to a god, the universe, yourself or to nothing in particular. It is up to you.
6. Know that there is no “right way” to meditate. If you stress out about how you’re breathing, what you’re thinking (or not thinking) about or whether you’re meditating correctly, then you’re only adding to the problem. Meditation is adaptable to suit your lifestyle and the situation. It’s about taking a few moments to relax your way in a busy, stressful world. It can be helpful to add meditation to your daily routine so you practice regularly. For example, you can choose to begin or end each day with a few minutes of meditation. There are many different types of meditation techniques you can try. Experiment by trying various methods. Soon, you will find one that works for you that you really enjoy. Meditation centers and classes are probably available in your area. If you find that you work better in a group setting with trained guides, then consider attending a meditation at one of these places. You can usually get more information by searching for meditation and your location on the internet, looking in the newspaper or visiting your local meditation center or temple.
7. Enjoy yourself. While meditation can provide short and long-term benefits for you, it also should be a pleasant experience. Some resistance to clearing your mind and relaxing is normal when we are so used to being under a lot of stress but don’t force yourself to meditate a certain way if you don’t enjoy it. The key is to find a sense of peace in the moment. Don’t ignore the opportunity to meditate while doing ordinary activities. Mundane tasks like washing dishes, folding laundry or fixing the truck are all opportunities to use relaxation methods, such as deep breathing, to meditate. Don’t forget that creative, relaxing activities also work well to meditate. Listen to music, paint, read, garden, write in a journal, or watch a flame in the fireplace. These activities can focus your mind, decrease stress and alter brain waves into a meditative state.
To strengthen the effect of your meditation try the special music that will help you to heal your minds and hearts. If you know anything about energy healing or healing with sound, then you realize the importance of tuning into a particular vibratory rate in order to elevate the mind and body from its lower, less ideal states, such as those of sickness and depression. You need not suffer from these states of mind. They are illusions of the first class, and many of us have had them for so long that we forget that our natural state is one of joy, vibrant health and, bliss, even.
The source of inspiration lacking in your life? Here you will find one. New emotions, ideas and feelings will brighten your life with new colours! Get ready to engage in a trip to your new life!