Inspired by Rachael Herron's latest podcast - How Do You Write - Episode 60 (one of my #1 favorite podcasts of ALL TIME!) - I remembered a blog I wrote about 2 years ago for my day job and figured this would be a good time to upcycle/recycle it :)
If you live in America chances are you’re stressed. There are ways to combat stress with supplements, any adaptogen will help. There’s also diet and exercise. But one of the best ways that you can start today and it won’t cost you anything is to learn how to meditate.
Here are 6 easy techniques for beginners:
First - sit in a comfortable position either crossing your legs on a cushion on the floor or sitting comfortably on a chair, the bed or the couch.
Whatever mantra you choose (and you can change it up), the idea is to repeat it silently over and over and over and over. That’s it.
5. Walking Meditation - I love walking meditation! You walk slowly, eyes cast downward so you don’t trip and focus on your steps, you can count them or not. Or if you’re good at multi-tasking you can walk and count your breath or recite a mantra. Regardless, the idea is to walk very very very very very slowly.
6. Exercise as Meditation - People who do extreme sports will find that their exercise is their meditation because if you don’t focus completely on what you are doing at every second you could seriously injure yourself. I have a friend who uses running as her meditation. I use aerial arts. Anything where you have to completely focus can be used. So for example if you’re riding your stationary bike at home and watching TV that is not meditation.
Overall meditation advice no matter which form/s you choose:
If your mind wanders that’s completely normal and just gently bring it back to your meditation (breath, sounds, dot, whatever). If you suddenly feel an inspiration or your mind is telling you that there are other things you need to be doing as soon as you’re done meditating, let it go. Those thoughts will still be there when you’re done. Don’t admonish yourself for having them. Be gentle with yourself. Acknowledge the thought and then go back to the meditation.
Remember that many forms of meditation are to help you quiet your mind. If you can practice even 1-5 minutes a day you will notice a huge difference. Your stress will lessen. You’ll be less reactive to your children, friends, spouse, other drivers... You’ll develop better planning skills, better organizing skills and a calmer demeanor. You’ll be able to relate more to the world and people around you.
There are dozens of types of meditation, more advanced forms can focus on listening to your mind and more. The point of this article though is to give you some simple tools to begin and find one that will work for you. This too can change over time. Like everything in life meditation is fluid, not static.
Set a timer if you have time constraints. After the meditation is over, don’t jump up and go, go, go. Allow yourself 3-5 minutes of “getting back into your body”. It can be a mind-altering experience and you want to honor that. Ideally you want to meditate for 20- 30 minutes a day and if you can eek out 20-30 minutes twice a day, you will be floored at the benefits you will receive but even 1 minute a day is better than zero!
Author Chloe Adler
Here are some musings - Nothing fancy - no outline and no editor - just some stream of consciousness. You want to read my books? :)