Have you ever felt like your mind was being split into a million different directions? Or maybe you’re mind is constantly wandering off?
I’ve been there too & I’ve found the solution in meditation.
When I started looking into meditation it was honestly because my husband was nagging me to do it.
My stress level always seemed to be high & my heart rate was all over the place. I also tended to loose focus during tasks. I kept thinking, what good is sitting still for 5 minutes & breathing going to do? I do that when I sleep.
Plus I was able to get a lot of my stress under control with my art journals.
So I scoffed at it but gave it a try anyway. The result made me have to confess to my husband that he was right. (Cringe)
Since then, meditation has become one of my favorite forms of self care & I now do it daily.
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What Is Meditation?
In its basic form meditation can be defined as a variety of techniques that are used to train your mind.
For centuries, many cultures & religions have practiced different forms of meditation techniques.
Yet, throughout it all, at its core, meditation helps you to develop clarity while energizing your mind at the same time.
Benefits Of Meditation
Pop quiz, what’s the first thing that you think of when you think of the benefit of meditation?
Did you say relaxation?
I won’t lie, before I began my journey into it, I used to think that the sole purpose of meditating was to relax. But it’s actually not. Studies are constantly proving more & more ways that meditation is not only beneficial to your mind but to your body as well.
Some of the benefits include:
- A calming effect on the body & mind
- Increases blood flow
- Increases brain functionality
- Less perspiration
- Lower heart rate
- Memory improvement
- Less anxiety
- Increases productivity
- Lowers blood pressure
- Helps with focus
Different Types Of Meditation
Did you know that there are several different types of meditation? They all have the same goal in mind. It’s just a different way of going about it.
Let’s jump into what two of the most popular meditation forms are.
Mindfulness meditation involves taking note of the various thoughts that flit through your mind.
This technique gives you a better of how your mind works, & may even uncover emotions that you didn’t realize that you were harboring.
While practicing mindfulness meditation, you want to make sure that you’re not focusing too much on each thought. But instead, you need to be acknowledging what they are. Don’t bury an uncomfortable emotion or thought that comes up.
If there is a recurring thought that you keep seeing, then look more into what it means.
Here’s the kicker with this form of meditation, you can do it while doing other activities.
For instance, you can do it while you’re washing dishes. Stand up straight, & focus on your breathing. Once you have your breathing under control, start to focus of the feel of the water & the bubbles on your hands.
Concentration meditation is probably the form that you’re most used to seeing & thinking of.
The practice of concentration meditation is to breathe while focusing on 1 thing.
This could include focusing on:
- Counting your breaths
- A mantra
- A picture
- Repetitive sounds
If you notice that your mind starts to wander off then quickly bring your focus back to your focal point.
How Does Meditation Help With Grief
First & foremost (I’ve always wanted to use that word.) the entire Grieveable site is dedicated to helping you cope with grief.
While you’re grieving your mind can feel like a jumbled mess. You have so much to process & get through. Some of which you may not even realize.
By implementing meditation you will also start to get a clearer view of everything that’s going on in your head.
How To Get Started With Meditation
Before you start your meditation journey it’s important not to feel intimidated. You see all these “gurus” on YouTube & social media that are telling you so many different things.
But at the core, meditation is a simple practice. It shouldn’t cause you more stress or anxiety to start it.
These 4 steps will get you started on your meditation journey.
Set a timer for 3-5 minutes. Sit comfortably in an upright position. This is key! Do not slouch. Staying upright will help you stay focused.
Keep in mind that sitting upright doesn’t mean being stiff. You just need to sit straight but don’t be tense. Good posture will also alleviate future possible back issues caused from prolonged sitting.
The placement of your hands & legs is up to you. I sit criss crossed but that can be difficult to sit in for long periods. To begin you can just sit with your legs in front of you.
Close your eyes or if you know that you’ll open your eyes (like me) then you can use eye masks.
Then tilt your head downward a bit. This will allow your chest to open a bit more & allow more air in.
Breathe naturally. Don’t try to regulate how fast or slow you’re breathing.
Now focus on how your breaths are making your body move & feel. Notice how your feet, chest, shoulders, legs, hands , & other body parts are all reacting to the breathing. Focus on the air coming in & out of your nose.
(Make sure that your mouth is closed.)
Every time your mind starts to drift off bring it back to focusing on your breaths. Keep doing that until your timer goes off.
If you need help focusing you can count your breaths. Breathe in, breathe out, that’s 1. Once you get to 10, then start over.
Start by practicing this for 3-5 minutes a day then slowly add 1-2 minutes each week until you move your way up to 20-30 minutes.
The Best Products For Meditation
You do have some options when it comes to sitting. Eventually you will be able to have longer meditative sessions. So you want to be sure that your seating is comfortable & durable.
Option 1: A yoga mat or a blanket. Yes, just a regular yoga mat or blanket can be used for meditation. Especially when you’re in the beginning phases & not meditating for long periods of time.
Option 3: A meditation cushion. I highly recommend this comfy sitting option. The great part about these cushions is that they naturally help you keep a good upright posture instead of slouching.
Option 4: A meditation bench. A bench will give you a bit of both worlds from options 2 & 3. It will still allow you to sit upright while taking the pressure off of your legs & back.
I was skeptical of needing any type of beads at first but these are helpful. Mala beads are also known as prayer beads & they are used to help keep your focus. There are usually 108 beads on each strand. And as you breathe, you will count each bead. Then repeat the process.
Tips For Meditation
When I started my journey I tried a lot of “tips”. Some of them were just crap if I’m being honest. The tips below will actually help you on your journey.
- Try to make time to meditate every day. This is more beneficial then doing it sporadically throughout the week.
- Start off with a few minutes at a time. I suggest 3-5 minutes. Then build up from there. Don’t try to force long periods when you’re just starting.
- Set your timer to a gentle sound so that it doesn’t scare you out of your meditate state. You want it to soothingly alert you.
- Meditate first thing in the morning.
- When you’re done, don’t immediately jump up. Sit for a minute or two first.
- You don’t have to sit in a completely quiet environment, sometimes soft music can help you to be concentrate. Be sure to try to limit the amount of distractions in a room though.
- If self meditation seems to be a struggle for you, then you can do guided meditation. This is when you have a voice walk you through your meditation.
- Take your meditation outside. Smell the fresh air, feel the sun & the breeze on your skin.
Stick with it! It’s not easy in the beginning but it’s benefits are amazing & well worth it.
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