Stress stemming from work, family and relationships can definitely take its toll, even on people that are the coolest of cucumbers. The fact of the matter is that our hectic lifestyles make it nearly impossible to stay cool, calm and collected. Although I’ve always tried to come off as a tranquil person, I used to fall victim to the anxiety that life often brought on many, many occasions. That’s when I discovered how meditation could save my sanity.
I haven’t always been a meditation advocate. In fact, incorporating meditation into my routine is something that I have done for less than a year – but this is a hobby that I will never give up. I must admit, beginning meditation for the first time was very difficult; it was hard for me to concentrate and remain patient for the benefits I was told I would reap in by doing this on a daily basis. It seemed really easy to give up and continue living my balancing act of a life where things were equally glass half empty and half full. I envied those that I knew who didn’t let anything get to them – whether it was their boss overloading them at work, a friend making snarky comments or issues in their relationship – nothing seemed to faze them.
Here I was, a woman who became irate just from driving behind someone who was going 5 miles under the speed limit. Yes, that was the old me. I didn’t meditate because I convinced myself that I didn’t have enough time. Well, let me tell you that is 100% false for everyone. Nobody can say they don’t have enough time to meditate and should be willing to sacrifice 10 minutes to better their mental health and overall well-being. After I got over the difficult hump of concentration during the first couple of weeks, I started experiencing euphoria just by examining my breath and truly believing that I should not worry about the things I couldn’t control.
How and when you meditate is up to you. I know people who meditate first thing in the morning, and I also know people who do it on their lunch hour or right before they go to bed. You can do it in silence, with ambient music or a recording of a soothing voice filling your mind with positivity. As for the position, you can sit or you can lay down on the floor or bed.
As for me, I like to lie in my bed and listen to music; sometimes I’ll lay on the floor and raise my legs parallel against the wall. I also choose to meditate at night because I go into such a relaxing trance that I sometimes fall asleep and don’t wake up until my alarm goes off in the morning.
For those of you who want to start meditating but are intimidated by it or are discouraged because it doesn’t seem like a possibility for you, here are a few tips to help ease you into the process:
1. Find a comfortable place in your home or outside if you prefer. Take the first few minutes and allow your muscles to just relax – don’t move them, just allow your limbs to rest peacefully.
2. Close your eyes to avoid distraction and examine your breath. At some point you’ll be able to meditate with your eyes open and still remain totally focused on your bliss and breath. This may take time, so don’t rush yourself; in fact, there is nothing wrong with always closing your eyes if you find it relaxes you more.
3. Use sound. Beginning to meditate in silence can cause frustration and discourage you from continuing your meditative routine. There are DVDs, CDs, websites and multiple free apps available for smartphones that have guided meditation backed up by soothing tunes to help you remain focused and tranquil. Some of my favorite apps are Qi Gong Meditation and Buddhist Meditation. Both of those apps come equipped with positive affirmations and reminders so you don’t forget to meditate.
Happy “Oming” everyone!