I recently put a request out to my community to ask about the stressors they were facing. I was overwhelmed with the generosity of information and the deeply personal shares which led to some great conversations.
As I considered all the various stressors we are managing, my top stress management tool immediately popped into my mind: Meditation.
I started my meditation practice many years ago when I was an emotional mess going through my divorce. I needed to find a way to calm my system, find peace and connect with my inner wisdom.
Meditation is the act of slowing down and quieting the mind, which is contrary to our fast paced, multi-tasking society.
The mind wants to run away from us and process millions of pieces of information and be noisy to distract us from what is truly important.
We don’t like to be in silence and face what may be lurking in the shadows; it’s simply too uncomfortable and, let’s be honest, we may not like what we see.
Meditation is counterintuitive.
We are programmed to believe we have to work harder, faster and longer to get everything done, and yet the work keeps coming.
The reality is, when we meditate, we connect with a source that can do the heavy lifting for us, which allows us to slow down, receive guidance, gain perspective and handle life with greater ease.
Not to mention feel calmer in the process.
As my life spun out of control during my divorce, I turned to meditation and found the peace that had eluded me for what felt like a lifetime. In the process, I found myself. And I discovered direction. And peace. And hope.
Given all the stressors out there, this is an ideal time to start or re-engage your meditation practice to experience your own sense of calm, peace and inner guidance.
Here’s a simple meditation you can drop into any time of the day from anywhere for a few moments of zen.
First, turn off all distractions. Settle in to a comfortable place. You can sit cross legged on the floor, or you can sit on a chair and take off your shoes and ground your feet into the floor or better yet, go outside and put your feet on Mother Earth.
Rest your hands comfortably on your legs, palms up or down, whichever is more comfortable for you. Sit comfortably and with a straight back.
Shut your eyes and begin to breathe in deeply and slowly until you have a full belly of air. On the exhale, breathe out slowly and completely. In our rushed daily pace, we tend to take shallow breaths rather than deep, life-filling breaths. It is so good for the body to have full belly breaths and it’s the fastest way to calm down the body.
If your mind starts to chatter or wander, simply acknowledge it and let it go. Don’t judge it or be distracted by it. Notice it and simply let go and return your focus to your breath. Continue to breathe deeply and relax.
Feel peace and calmness settle over you.
If you find yourself being easily distracted, you can select a word, or a mantra, and say it as a point of focus to help ward off distractions. For instance, “Peace,” “Release,” “Ease.”
Give yourself permission to spend several minutes in your practice as you start and slowly build more time as you grow into your meditation practice.
At the conclusion of your meditation, slowly bring yourself back to the present and open your eyes to a relaxed state of being. I like to end with an honoring statement (“I honor the divinity within me”), a statement of gratitude or whatever I’m present to in the moment.
Meditation can grow organically in a way that best serves you, so let go of any rules or preconceived idea of what it “should” be and try on what works for you:
- Perhaps play some spa music in the background (I love Spa Music playlists on Spotify).
- Try a guided meditation.
- Use a meditation app, like Calm.
The most important aspect of meditation – just do it! Your body, mind and spirit will thank you.
Do you have a favorite meditation practice? Share in the comments below.
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