In our modern, busy lives, people often suggest meditation as a cure for our stress. When someone suggests we add something to an already overfilled schedule, that can feel extra stressful. We need to remember, though, that meditation doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing activity. Because people have been meditating for thousands of years, not only do we know that it can have real benefits for our lives, but we also know that there are many paths to meditation. Here are 7 ways you can add meditation to your life today.
At the core of meditation practice is the breath, so if you do not feel like you have the time or the energy to devote to longer meditation practice right now, you can start with breathing. Set a timer for one minute, sit in an upright but comfortable position, and breathe. Focus on the feeling of the breath entering through your nose, filling your lungs, and releasing. It can help to breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and release your breath slowly for 8 seconds. Repeat as many times as you can throughout the day, especially when you are feeling tension or anxiety.
2. Begin a Gratitude Journal
Though it might not fit the traditional image of meditation, creating a journal in which you focus on the positive throughout your day is a form of meditation, because you have chosen a subject that benefits your mind and you are addressing your energy to it. One of the benefits of meditation is that it can alter your mindset, and focusing on gratitude each day has been proven to make us look at the world with a more positive lens.
3. Move with Intention
One benefit of meditation is that it focuses us to be present in the moment and to lower our focus on the past or the future. Doing active meditation such as mindful walking, gardening, tai chi, or qi gong helps us be aware of our bodies and focus on how we are feeling.
4. Practice Progressive Relaxation
This is often called a body scan or body scanning meditation. You can do this by sitting or laying in a comfortable position, and slowly tensing and relaxing different sections of your body systematically to reduce tension. If you’re interested, try this more detailed description or look for body scan meditations on an app.
5. Use an App
Many meditation apps are free or have free versions available for download. Apps such as Insight Timer and Headspace offer guided meditations, short and long, that can help you learn about the practice of meditation by following along with the teacher. Whether you devote 5 minutes or an hour per day to meditation, if you practice regularly, you may see not only a reduction in your stress but also an improvement in the way you handle stressful situations throughout the day. Meditation and focused breathing can also improve your sleep quality.
6. Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Though sitting on a cushion in a quiet room can be an ideal way to meditate, you can actually practice mindfulness meditation anywhere you feel safe. Meditation teachers recommend that you sit in an upright position so that you’re less likely to fall asleep as you relax, close your eyes or have a soft gaze, focusing on a middle distance rather than looking at any one thing, and begin to breathe in and out with the natural rhythm of your breath. Notice the sensation of breathing. Also, notice that your mind will attempt to think. That’s what minds do. Rather than following the thread of your thoughts, let them go. If you catch yourself thinking, just return to your breath without judgment. Mindfulness meditation is a kind practice, and it helps us learn to let go of our stress and focus on the present moment.
7. Join a Meditation Community or a Sangha
Many communities have a variety of meditation groups that meet regularly. If your community doesn’t have a meditation center or group that meets at a time that works for you, look for online meditation communities where you can practice meditation with a group of people over Zoom. Engaging with other people in a common purpose might help you maintain a regular practice.Remember, you can practice meditation in a way that fits your lifestyle. Starting with short sessions and increasing the time you meditate will help you feel more successful with your practice. Coupling the stress-reduction of meditation with antioxidant-rich foods such as Superberries Aronia berry Products in your daily meals has the potential to make you healthier and happier. You deserve to make the time for you.