By Eilda Zaghmout
When life is fast, busy work schedules, violent news, demanding lives, disasters, and diseases take their toll on us, and self-care is considered a luxury, meditation comes as an easily accessible tool to help us slow down. This ancient practice that helps train your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts has a wide range of benefits.
Many people wonder how to start! Honestly, you do not need fancy props, and what makes this practice special is that there is no right or wrong way to practice it! You only need to commit to creating this space during your busy day. Why? Because an average person has 6,000 thoughts per day, which can cause stress and tension. We either regret the past or worry about the future and forget to live the present moment, the only moment where life exists. So if we do not wish to let ourselves be controlled by these thoughts, we can engage in meditation to create space in our minds. As this will allow us to focus on what really matters, we eliminate unneeded stress.
There are many types of meditation in the world, and you can explore them and find out what works best for you. Let me invite you to start with the simplest and most available techniques: Guided meditation and mindfulness meditation.
Guided meditation is led by a meditation teacher who invites you to imagine situations that help deal with a specific issue or emotion, such as anger, fear, or stress, frequently involving your senses.
Mindfulness meditation, another very popular technique nowadays, fosters the process of being fully present, aware, and mindful of everything that happens within you. It helps bring your attention to your thoughts, body, and emotions and also brings awareness to what you are doing and where you are in this moment. Mindfulness meditation can be formal or informal: Formal meditation is the time you dedicate daily to your practice; for example, by committing to 15 minutes of meditation every morning. Informal meditation can be done at any time during the day: while you are brushing your teeth, driving your car, sitting in a taxi, doing the dishes, walking, or even eating. It is about being mindful and aware of all that you are doing at a particular moment.
Research has proven that meditation has tremendous mental and physical benefits. It reduces stress, anxiety, and pain and improves sleep, calms the mind, and relaxes the body; it also improves concentration, attention span, productivity, and performance. Meditation moreover helps increase your self-awareness, patience, tolerance, kindness, and gratitude.
I would like, I wish to share some tips to encourage you to start integrating meditation into your daily routine – if you haven’t done so already!
– Sit in a quiet place; it can be on the floor or in a chair.
– Lengthen your spine while your shoulders are relaxed, allow your facial muscles to relax, especially your jaw and the area between the eyebrows, and rest your arms on your lap.
– Close your eyes if you can, or keep them half open if that feels more comfortable.
– Be kind and gentle to yourself while meditating! It is completely normal for your mind to wander. Remember, we are not trying to stop our thoughts; we are observing them and allowing them to pass – without engaging with them or judging ourselves.
– Your breath is your anchor! Every time you catch yourself in the middle of drifting thoughts, simply bring your attention back to your breath. In this way, you return to the present moment.
– If you are not listening to a recorded guided meditation, you can set a timer so as not to be concerned with time. You can start meditating for as little as five minutes – which should not be too much time to include even in a busy schedule.
– When you have completed these steps, take a moment to be grateful for something in your life. Gratitude is the key to happiness!
Consider this article a special invitation to start practicing meditation soon!