Peace. It’s something most of us yearn for but only experience in spits and spurts. Well we might be able to experience it more if we take up a regular meditation routine! Check out today’s guest post by Chloe, who gives us a mini-guide to meditation.
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years around the world. When you meditate, you are learning to clear your mind and give yourself a sense of calm and balance. Originally used as a way to understand the sacred forces of life, nowadays meditation tends to be used as a treatment for anxiety and stress. Research also indicates that meditation may help with physical disorders such as cancer, pain and asthma.
The biggest benefit of meditation is that anyone can do it, and it doesn’t require any equipment. Meditation can be practiced as part of your daily routine, and it is a great way to deal with the stressful situations that life has a tendency to throw at you. Here is a simple guide to start including meditation in your life:
There are 4 times of the day that experts recommend meditating:
- Meditating first thing in the morning can be an excellent way to set the tone for the entire day.
- Meditating when stressed for a few minutes will help settle your mind and feel less overwhelmed.
- Meditating on your lunch hour is a great way to de-stress and break your normal cycle of thinking, thus boosting productivity.
- Meditating at the end of the workday is a useful method for creating a boundary between work and home life.
Sit up straight
Posture is an important part of meditating correctly. Ensure that your spine is upright and your head is up by imagining that your head is touching the sky. (Editor’s Note: I’ve heard some suggest to imagine a string attached to your spine, extending up past your head. In doing this, your shoulder blades fall back and down, and your chin drops slightly towards your chest.) If you are slumped or lying down, your mind will drift and it will be harder to get your mind and body in balance.
Focus on your breathing
Focusing on your breathing is a good way of anchoring yourself in the present moment. You could do this by counting your breaths or by simply concentrating on feeling and listening as you inhale and exhale. When your attention wanders away from your breath, simply return your focus back to it again.
Let your thoughts go
It is inevitable that your thoughts will wander, but when you notice them simply acknowledge their presence and then return your thoughts to your breathing. If you try and block your thoughts you will feel agitated, so simply acknowledge them and then let go.
Scan your body
Scanning your body is a useful meditation technique. It involves focusing your attention on different parts of your body, and allowing yourself to become aware of any sensation like pain or warmth. You can extend this by using your breath to imagine breathing relaxation into your body parts.
Repeat a mantra
A mantra is a word or a phrase repeated during meditation. Mantras can be religious or secular, and examples include the ‘om’ mantra of Buddhism and the holy name of God in Judaism. Mantras are usually sacred in nature and are designed to uplift you and keep your focus.
As well as setting aside a time of day to sit and meditate, you can also use the techniques whenever you are walking. Walking meditation involves bringing your focus to each movement of your legs or feet, repeating action words in your mind like lifting, moving and placing. Slow down your walking pace so that you can fully concentrate on the steps you take.
These are some simple tips you can take to start meditating, but there are thousands of books and websites dedicated to this ancient art to investigate if you feel you want to learn more.
About the Author
Chloe writes on health and fitness for medical insurance comparison website ActiveQuote.com.
I have a friend who joined a meditation group and she loves it! She’s made friends, developed a routine, and has been learning more about meditation from someone who’s been doing it for decades. Do you meditate regularly? Got any tips for us to add to Chloe’s guide?