Being a grad student and working mom to a school aged kid whose social life is more active than my own, I am often faced with an excessive amount of stress. Imagine realizing 3 hours after leaving the house that you’re wearing two different shoes; how in the HEALTH did that happen? Thankfully, I keep spare shoes in the car; however, mishaps like these are strong indications that I need to take a moment to breath and be more aware of my surroundings.
Meditation is a method that allows for controlled breathing and helps you to become more aware of your surroundings. There are many forms of meditation. Meditation allows you to focus your mind on a particular thought or thing, it helps you to clear your mind and transition to a more calming state. Meditation can be challenging for beginners, yet it’s extremely beneficial. Mindfulness meditation is a simple breathing technique that can be practiced to help discipline your mind and body for more advanced forms of meditation.
Below are some helpful tips for practicing mindfulness meditation.
Surprisingly, mindful meditation can take place in almost any environment.
1. Find a quiet place or a place with reduced noise. If it is an option for you, dim the lights. Lighting a candle is optional. When you progress to other forms of meditation, you can incorporate candles or incense with music.
2. Position your body in a way that is comfortable for you -try sitting up straight. You do not have to necessarily do the infamous legs-crossed yoga pose. That will come later as you advance to other forms of meditation. If you are sitting, rest your feet flat on the floor and place your hands on your legs.
3. Close your eyes (if your environment allows you to do so) and bring your attention to your breathing. Focus solely on your breathing.
4. Draw your attention to every breath you take, inhale and exhale. Notice how your body responds to your breathing. Follow your sensations with your mind. Start at the top of your head and move down your body to your torso, then your arms, even extend to your fingers, and finally to your legs and your toes.
5. Your mind will definitely wander, THAT IS NATURAL. Do not get frustrated, transition your thoughts from “Wonder what I’ll eat tonight?” to being fully aware of your breathing. You will drift away a few times, and each time it is OKAY! Force your mind to go back to your breathing. If you fall asleep, that is okay (unless you’re at work or church, then that is not okay).
6. Practice this for as along as you wish. When you are done, open your eyes and sit for a minute to notice how relaxed you feel. Notice your surroundings and think of ways to make the best of your day!
Health Benefits of Meditating:
- Reduced Stress
- Improved Sleep Patterns
- Inflammation Reduction
- Improved Immune System
- Increased Attention Span
Feel free to share your thoughts or meditation tips in the comment section.
Photos courtesy of Kirk A.