I’ve been meditating off and on for several years. The benefits are vast, as you’ve probably read in books, articles, and the news. I think it was Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth, that first piqued my interest in meditation. And his book The Power of Now is a must read for anyone looking to find inner peace and develop a meditation routine.
I know some people who swear by meditation, and others who swear against it. The truth is, while meditation is important for everyone, you have to be in the right mindset to start or there’s really no point. If you going to sit there during your meditation time and think “This is stupid. Waste of time. Why do I even bother?” You may just want to hold off.
You need to be open to the concept and the opportunity meditation provides in order to reap the benefits. Does that make sense? It would be like going to soccer practice when you have zero interest in kicking the ball. Probably no point in putting you out in the field, right?
There are many ways to meditate, and different ways work better for people just like anything in life. Some people recite affirmations, others listen to a guide, and focusing on breathing is probably the most popular choice. Think about which one is best for you, and start there.
The critical steps no matter which way you choose to meditate:
- Find a quiet place. If you’re a mom, you’re probably shaking your head right now and ready to stop reading. WAIT! I talk to how to work around this in some of the below techniques. But if you do have a good time and place where you can be still for a few minutes, find that place. Make yourself comfortable with pillows, and prop yourself up so you don’t fall asleep.
- Set a timer. There is nothing worse than sitting there for your meditation completely distracted because you can’t get in the zone and what’s only been three minutes feels like thirty. Set the timer on your phone so you can put this concern at ease.
- Incorporate aromatherapy. Most people know that aromatherapy can positively alter our mood, plus smells have been proven to help set the foundation for beneficial habits. There are several different essential oils that work specifically increase our concentration, relax us, and find balance. Frankincense, Lavender, and several proprietary blends do just that. Consider using essential oils in a diffuser to benefit your meditations.
- Just relax. When it’s all said and done, mediation is about calming your mind and body so don’t fight it. If you feel tired, stressed, frustrated, consider this time a “timeout” for your body and mind.
There’s several ways to do this. You can make a list of affirmations that you want to work on and recite them over and over. Or you can use the ones yogis have been using for hundreds of years. Totally up to you. This is helpful if you’re trying to meditate with a specific goal in mind (athletics, weight loss, fear of public speaking, etc), and it keeps your thoughts from wandering.
This is another good one for people who struggle with wandering thoughts. There are so many guided meditations you can download now. I have had amazing success with the app Headspace. I highly recommend it. However, it does cost money. If you’re looking for free options, there’s a plethora out there, you just need to do a little research.
Focusing on breathing
This is the easiest and hardest way to meditate. It’s easy, in that it requires no preparation. You don’t have to download anything, you don’t need to prepare your affirmations in advance. All you’re doing is concentrating on your breath. Deep breath in, deep breath out. Feel your abdomen swell and contract, and inhale through your nose… exhale through the mouth.
It’s the hardest because it requires all your focus and concentration. Whereby the other two options for mediation hold your hand on the journey, leading you back to the practice when you get distracted, this form of mediation is the easiest to fall off track.
And that’s all there is to it. Easy peasy right? Unless you’re a mom, and then it gets tricky. Because, come on, when do we have five minutes of uninterrupted silence? Naptime? That’s when we’re running around the house like mad women trying to get chores done. Before they wake up? My kids wake up at 6 a.m. And my baby wakes me up 3-4 times every night to feed. If you think I’m going to give up even a minute of precious sleep, you are dead wrong. So when do I meditate? I use the five minutes before I go to bed. The kids are asleep, I’m finally in a relaxed state of mind, and it helps further wind me down for a good rest. Most of the books you’ll read recommend meditating in the morning, but if nighttime is the only realistic time you’ll actually try this, forget the books. Just try it for a month, and don’t give up if you get frustrated. Do it at the same time every day so you start to form a habit, and as you get the hang of things you can increase your time.
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