When you think about meditating, what comes to your mind? If you're like many other people who don't have much experience with meditation, images of people sitting cross legged with serene looks on their faces and chimes in the background may come to mind. While this is certainly one way to meditate, it's not the only way! Did you know that you can meditate anywhere and at any time? You can even use meditative practices while driving in rush hour traffic, doing the laundry, or while sitting at your desk at work.
Many people don't bother meditating because they think they don't have time. They mistakenly believe that they need to have everything crossed off of their to-do list and have a big block of time set aside in order to meditate. In reality, meditation sessions as short as just one to five minutes can be extremely effective at reducing stress and promoting mindfulness.
Mindfulness means living in the moment. When worries and anxieties creep into our minds, we often dwell on the future, worrying about events that haven't even happened yet. This robs us of our energy and strength, which doesn't help us face challenges at all.
Meditating helps us bring our thoughts, attention, and energy to the present moment. When we focus on our breathing and on our five senses, we automatically set in motion a very calming process in our bodies and minds. This, in turn, gives us more mental clarity and energy to tackle what we need to do right now, in the moment, instead of worrying about the future. The more we meditate, the more we bring our attention to the current moment.
Living in the moment and practicing mindfulness is one of the most powerful ways to ensure a brighter future. Think about it: worrying doesn't solve the problems of tomorrow. However, if you do what you can do in the current moment (which is all you have power over anyway), and then keep on doing that, moment by moment, you are paving the way to a better tomorrow. Meditation is all about bringing us back to the moment, and that gives us inner peace and power.
Breathe, breathe, breathe: One of the most fundamental aspects of meditation is simply breathing. Focus on your breath. Breathe deeply, hold it for a few seconds, slowly exhale, and repeat. That's it! It sounds too simple to do much good, but you'd be surprised at how effective something as simple as mindful breathing can be to reduce your stress levels. Focusing on your breath and breathing deeply is like mentally opening the curtains and windows in a dark room: It brings fresh air and light, which, in turn, brings greater clarity.
Focus on your five senses: Ask yourself: What am I seeing? What am I hearing? What am I smelling? What am I feeling? Tuning in to each of your senses is a fantastic way to bring into the present moment. Not only that, but it also helps you pinpoint any areas of your body where you may be holding extra tension.
Be flexible: Meditation doesn't need to be perfect. Be patient with yourself. There may be times when it's difficult to quiet your mind, and there may even be times when your mind seems noisiest while meditating. That's OK. Meditation takes practice. The most important thing to do is be consistent. Even if you don't have time to sit down and close your eyes, you can still focus on your breathing and on your five senses, no matter where you are.
Meditation is one of the simplest things you can do that will give you some major benefits. The effort-to-reward ratio is definitely in your favor. Even just one or two minutes a day of mindful breathing can help melt away some of the stress and mental "chatter", leaving you with a little more strength and focus to take on the day ahead. By practicing meditation and mindfulness, you will be able to take more control over your life. Everything we do starts as a thought in our minds. Take the time to do something good for your mind, and reap the benefits of a healthier, happier life.
Join us at High Expectations Counseling every Tuesday from 7pm-8pm for meditation group. Learn how to properly meditate and get started. Treat yourself to one hour of release from the mind. Your worth it. We have qualified therapists and life coaches that are here to guide you in setting up a lasting routine to implement meditation in your day to day life. Call today at 407-967-1327.