Who’s ready for a calmer mind and less anxiety?
Yes, me too…sign me up! I have to admit that I tried meditation over the years, but nothing worked long term except this one technique. I always felt like I should feel differently afterwards, calmer, more at peace. And then it felt like a chore, another thing to add to the perpetual “must do” list. Apps did not work, neither did programs, nor asking a therapist.
According to lexico.com, meditation is when a person can “think deeply or focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.” Many people use meditation to relieve tension, and, although there are many popular variations (guided, Vipassana, Transcendental, Yoga, Mindfulness, and more), they all have one purpose: to help you reduce stress and be more present in your everyday life.
That all sounds great, but how do I get started?
You can try an app like Headspace or Calm. You can join a program like Kris Carr and Ziva Meditation. You can even try YouTube, but I challenge you to just get started.
After toying with meditation for a decade (No judgement!), here’s what finally worked for me.
I was having a lot of anxiety around an inability to focus, so I did some research and kept coming across meditation. I found a pop-up yoga studio that taught meditation for beginners once a week. The instructor promised that I could learn an effective technique in one $20 introductory session and I thought, “Why not give it a try?”
It was years later before I realized that this lesson was the most useful and beneficial for my life. Out of all the apps, programs, and videos available for teaching meditation techniques, I feel the calmest with the one I’m about to share. It’s now the one that I rely on the most.
Close your eyes. Take a deep breath, and exhale. Say the number “1.” Take a deep breath, and exhale. Say the number “2.” Take a deep breath, and exhale. Say the number “3.” Repeat this until you get to number 10, then repeat from the beginning. Do this at least 5 times.
Before you open your eyes, notice if any feelings arise in your body. Next, turn your attention to one hope you have for the day (or the next day if you are doing it at night). Take one last deep breath and open your eyes.
Lastly, say “Thank you.” to your body and the universe. (And to whatever/whoever else you feel grateful for.)
These days, I continue my journey of experimenting with a focus on simplicity. Often times, I still feel like my brain is jumping from one thing to the next. Add my child’s distance learning program and social distance to it, and there’s nowhere for my brain to escape except going within. Meditation has provided me with the skills to ground myself, improve my focus, and bring tranquility into my daily life.
Schedule it in—open up your phone right now and set a daily reminder. Remember, you can do this practice anywhere: car, bedroom, toilet (we won’t judge!). If you keep trying and make this a habit, you will see results. You will find yourself reacting much less to external noises with each passing day. It does not have to be 30 minutes every day—as a mom I know that 30 minutes is meal prep or laundry minutes! Don’t judge yourself, just do it for a few minutes (think 5 minutes) and be proud you accomplished something for yourself!
Find one technique that works for you and keep it in your personal toolbox because, in this season of life, we need all the help we can get!
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