You are feeling tired, stressed, distracted? You are in desperate need of some peace of mind? Don’t despair. All you need is a few minutes for yourself. A few minutes to meditate into a peaceful mental state that will give you the boost of energy and tranquility to make it through the day.
Many people just by hearing the word “meditation” immediately feel awry and uneasy. I personally always thought that in order to meditate you needed special surroundings, weird standing positions, listening to chimes. But in reality all you need is yourself.
Meditation has been practiced by monks, yogis, and sages for many years. It was originally meant to help understand the sacred and mystical forces of life but nowadays meditation is commonly used for relaxation and stress reduction.
A recent study demonstrated that brief mindfulness meditation practice does alleviate psychological stress. Another research focusing on its healing benefits for individuals with long-term diseases like diabetes and coronary heart disease found that meditation “is a means to help people self-manage their illness and it has the potential to offer people long term benefits if practiced regularly and built into their daily routines”.(Source: ScienceDaily).
There are different types of meditation that are acknowledged worldwide. Each of these types of meditation share the same goal which is “achieving inner peace”, that’s why the thought of meditating the “right” way should not stress you out. If you choose to, you can attend special group classes led by trained instructors, but you can also practice meditation easily on your own.
All you really need is a few minutes of quality time for meditation which you can do whenever it suits you; first thing in the morning, the middle of the day, before bed or anytime you are not feeling like yourself (Source: Mayo Clinic). Just remember that it is more beneficial when done daily (5 minutes a day are more than enough) than longer amount of time occasionally. These steps are easy to follow daily and will surely make you feel “in contact with your inner, peaceful self”:
1. Choose a place that no one is going to bother you.
2. Determine the time you will spend meditating and set a timer (pick something loud enough to let you know time is up, not something too loud that will make your heart go racing). It doesn’t matter if you meditate for 30 seconds or 5 minutes, just choose a time that feels right.
3. Sit comfortably in a chair with the legs uncrossed and both feet touching the ground, or sit on the ground in a cross-legged position with a tall spine.
4. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Breathe in and out through slowly, through the nose. Half-smiling while you are meditating can change what thoughts enter your mind. Even if you don’t feel like smiling, try it and see how it will help you feel joyful.
5. Mentally or physically brush out any old energy or fatigue down the arms, torso, and legs. This is symbolic of “brushing it off” and letting go. When you notice thoughts, gently let them go by returning your focus to the breath. Don’t try and stop thoughts, instead acknowledge their presence and politely ask them to leave. Then, return your focus on your breath.
6. Visualize the whole body surrounded by a vibrant light. You can choose any color that makes you feel good.
7. Bring awareness back to the breathing and deepen the breath.
8. Stay here as long as it feels appropriate, or until your timer goes off.
9. When you are ready, gently blink the eyes open. It is important not to rush out of the meditative state.