The science is irrefutable and the appeal is HUGE – all the cool kids are meditating. Including monks, Oprah, and me 🙂 Even in a fast-moving world, slowing down – even for ONE MINUTE – is not only possible, but a really good idea for a zillion reasons. Haven’t heard ’em? Go back to that science part.
Meditation for me is one of those awesome things that is not only healthy, but actually feels wonderful. I happen to love salad, and that’s excellent because salad is super healthy! I also happen to love planning ahead though – I’m a Type A Virgo with a personal strength of being forward-thinking – which can be a good thing, until I’m thinking and planning so fast I stress myself out. So for balance, I love meditation (and lots of yoga). It can be one minute or twenty, but just jumping into it was hard for me. Again – I like to plan even relaxing things like meditating 🙂
After some research and meditation practice, I’ve compiled these 4 steps that help me consistently and effectively meditate.
How to Meditate Easily and Effectively in 4 Steps:
- Choose a method: silent, guided, or with music. I prefer Calm Meditation Pandora Radio, and I gave in and bought the upgraded Pandora One. For $5 a month, I now avoid political ads turning my peace into frustration! As an alternative, the free app Happify offers 2, 5 or 10 minute silent or guided meditation using images of nature as prompts. YouTube and Pinterest also have some great guided meditation options. If you do not use a guided meditation, I highly recommend setting an alarm so you don’t check the clock 🙂
- Choose a mantra: this step is optional, but highly recommended. Sometimes I have trouble embracing the peaceful silence within me that makes the most effective meditation, and mantras really help me calm my mind. Frequent yogis might choose om shanti – breathe in on om, out on shanti (which means peace). A favorite empowering mantra of mine is I have enough, I do enough, I am enough. I also enjoy positive affirmation with breathing mantras, for example; breathe in peace, love, light, breathe out (and visualize releasing) fear, anger, resentment.
- Create me-time: this is a big one! Meditation will be much more difficult if it’s continually interrupted. Tell anyone who might interrupt you that you will be taking a few minutes to yourself, and you’ll join them/let them know when you’ve concluded your meditation. Put your phone on Do Not Disturb – this is key for me, as my mind wanders quickly if I get a text message or alert! I meditate most often during my quiet morning time, when the light streams in through the windows and even Charlie-pup knows the routine by now – he lays down and prepares to relax with me most days!
- Choose a meditation space wisely. If you decide to lay down in the middle of a highly-populated living room, that may not provide you the most peaceful practice. Another thing to consider is the mood in your meditation space. It may sound funny, but if your meditation space is cluttered, or usually noisy, that may evoke thoughts or desires to focus on something other than peace. If a calm space doesn’t readily come to mind, you may choose to create one within your home! You just need to be able to lie down or sit quietly, and your bedroom will work just fine. I meditate in our living room, which is painted a calming light blue, surrounded by plants, sunlight (usually!) and nature photographs with inspirational quotes printed on them.
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One thing to keep in mind here (and this is coming from an overachiever!) is that it’s called a practice for a reason 🙂 Just like with yoga, the first and most important step is to be intentional, giving yourself the gift of the practice.
I’ve found that even/especially if I have a completely packed schedule, taking 1 minute to close my eyes – in the car between appointments, if need be – and focus on my breathing makes a HUGE difference in my mood, mental clarity, and reactions to the world around me.
It’s been helpful for me to identify triggers that indicate I might benefit from a quick meditation. Beyond establishing a routine of self-care – which for me includes yoga, meditation, weekly bubble baths, ahh – sometimes a girl just needs to chill out for a second! Some of the wise people I know, when irritated, may take a moment to close their eyes (and potentially pinch the bridge of their nose, if really annoyed) and breathe. This can be a form of super-quick meditation – but it depends on how the mind focuses. If that moment is used to relive the frustrating stuff that just caused the need to pause and breathe, that probably won’t help much.
Focus on the positive. I know it sounds a little Pollyanna, but we all know I can be overly perky! The important thing is that positive breeds positive, and frankly, there’s a lot of crap in the world today – people acting ugly towards one another and the planet, yadda yadda – and it’s too easy to get bogged down if you focus on the negative. If someone or something really irritates or upsets you, it’s perfectly fine – and maybe even a good idea depending on the situation, to excuse yourself for a moment – using the restroom is a great excuse if you need one. Close your eyes, take 3-5 deep breaths, and mentally remind yourself of your worth and peace; I have enough, I do enough, I am enough.
Update: The remarkable Rebekah D – a survivor, therapist, prolific gardener, gifted acupuncturist (how I met her), and sweet soul – shared her perspective. “Taking quiet time every day helps us shed all that’s in the way of just knowing we are all divine. Here’s something I wrote a while back in crosscut news. xoxo”
Another beautiful benefit to meditation that wasn’t mentioned in the scientific explanation is that when you are peaceful, you share that peace with those around you. “Be the change you wish to see in the world” as Ghandi famously said – but it’s a lot easier to effect change when you feel empowered and at peace.
I’m not sure if I love the spiritual or physical part of yoga more; all I know is that when I start my day with yoga practice I am calm and centered 🙏🏼❤️✌🏼️ ✨ 🌎 😊 #peace #love #selflove #yoga #yogaeverydamnday #breathe #calm #dailypractice #strong #power #fitness #ahh #relax #inspiration #motivation #inspire #morning #fabulous #feelgood #namaste #yogatherapy #dailyyoga #🙏🏼 #strong #positivity
What other tips didn’t I mention? I’m always looking for ways to improve my practice 🙂 See my Type A sticking out?! Until next time, thanks for joining the fun!
A Happy Wife