One thing I firmly believe in is the power of meditation. Something about sitting in silence and letting your thoughts drift away is so strong. Although I am still relatively new to meditation, I can definitely feel the benefits on a day to day basis.
Meditation has been a struggle for me for a while. When I first started dabbling in it, I found great help in guided meditations. Specifically the ones on the app called Headspace. It's a very helpful app. If you haven't downloaded it yet, you definitely should.
I stopped meditating for a while, but now I've got a routine set that really works for me. Every morning I have been waking up 15 minutes earlier so that I have some time to meditate. I've got my own little corner set up specifically for meditating that I will talk about later in this post.
How to prepare for meditation.
Meditating is a practice. It takes time, effort and a lot of patience. It's not something that comes easy immediately, thus why I call it a practice.
Before you even think about meditating, find a place in your home or outside that you feel comfortable in. A place where nothing and no one can interrupt you. Turn your phone on silent or vibrate and make sure you are in an area with the smallest amount of background noise possible.
Like I said before, I started with a meditation app to guide me through the process. The first app I used was called Headspace. It was super helpful. Now I started using Insight Timer. This app has a lot more variability. They have a ton of different meditation audios to choose from. Make sure to download your app of choice and set it up before you want to meditate. This way you're not fidgeting with the app while you're trying to focus.
When you're ready.
Sit in your designated meditation area, put on your app (if you're using one) and close your eyes. Take deep, even breaths. I like to breath in through my nose and out through my mouth for the first 3. Then I switch to a more normal breathing style, in through my nose and out through my nose.
Let's take a second to talk about posture. I meditate in two different positions. My most frequent position is to sit with my legs in a criss-cross style. Straight back, crown of the head pointing to the sky and my hands resting lightly on my knees with my palms up. If I'm feeling like that is too much for my body, I will lay on the floor with my head on a pillow and my hands to either side with my palms facing up. If I'm laying down, I normally put crystals on my chakra points so that I'm getting a deeper meditation session even though I am laying down.
When you first start, thoughts will come flooding into your head since you're sitting there pretty much doing nothing. The hardest part about meditation is getting these thoughts to leave your mind. As humans, we have anywhere from 35 to 48 thoughts a minute. That fact paired with the unruly silence that you're facing can lead to a serious influx of thoughts to your mind.
One of the most helpful tips that I can mention is to focus on your breath. In through your nose, out through your nose. When I notice thoughts start to flood my mind, I take a deep breath. On my exhale I imagine the wind from my breath is blowing away the thoughts that were able to sneak through.
Don't be hard on yourself if you catch yourself thinking about other things. It's totally normal! Just refocus and gain control. Don't be mean to yourself. Just let it happen and be aware of it in that moment.
The benefits and some fun facts.
- Meditation helps reduce stress.
- Meditation reduces blood pressure.
- Meditation can help treat pain better than morphine.
- Meditation helps with focus and the ability of the brain to retain information.
- Meditation can increase your creativity.
Meditation doesn't have to be you just sitting in a spot doing nothing. It can be as simple or as overboard as you'd like. Some alternatives to the stereotypical plotting your butt down and sitting in silence include:
- Musical meditations: The app that I talked about earlier, Insight Timer, has a ton of different musical meditations you can choose from. Not into gentle music? Try listening to nature sounds like streams or rain. Insight Timer also has a lot of nature sounds to choose from.
- Guided meditations: Headspace is great for this. A soothing voice talks you through your meditation practice. Telling you what to do, how to feel and what to think (or not think rather).
- Crystal meditations: Using crystals in your practice can be a great way to get some extra healing. I personally have been placing crystals on my chakra points, but you can make it a lot more simple. Try placing crystals in the palms of your hands or on your third eye. There are so many resources out there to find crystals that have a vibration that you're looking for.
- Aromatherapy meditations: Smells have a huge impact on our mood! A good ole oil diffuser can work wonders in your practice. Try diffusing oils for happiness or energy in the morning while you meditate to start your day off with a boost. If you've got high grade oils that are safe to apply to your skin, you can apply them to your wrists before you practice. Cup your hands and place them about 6 inches from your face. Take deep, soothing breaths as you breath in the smell of the oils.
The whole purpose of meditation is to give your mind and your body a break. It's a way for you to escape the clutter and noise that life brings. Meditation allows your mind to slow down and be in that moment completely.
The benefits will show even if you aren't capable of completely clearing your mind at first. Your soul still likes a good "peace and quiet" session, so don't feel like you won't reap the benefits just because some thoughts squeak through. You totally will! Just be easy on yourself and understand that this isn't easy. But it definitely is helpful to your overall well-being!
What I'm listening to:
What I'm reading:
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