Different Ways to Meditate
The thought of starting a regular meditation practice can be daunting. Sitting still for an hour and emptying your mind is an overwhelming thought for most people. Thankfully, there are many ways to meditate, and integrate it into your life each day.
Meditation doesn’t have to be time consuming and difficult. You can make it easy and enjoyable.
There are so many documented benefits to meditation, and you don’t need to sit for an hour to experience them. The key is to become more mindful of things you do every day. If you start small, you can begin to reduce stress and anxiety, and experience life in a more peaceful way.
Here are some ways you can begin to experience the benefits of meditation, now:
- Breathing – This is a very simple, easy way that you can begin to connect to a more peaceful place. If you find yourself beginning to get stressed, or feel scattered, take a moment and notice your breath. Really pay attention to taking air into your lungs, holding it for a few moments, and releasing it. Close your eyes if you can (unless you’re driving. Or your boss is watching.), and take another deep breath. Paying attention to your breathing for a few moments can help you disconnect from whatever you’re feeling and bring you into the present moment.
- Eating – There are a few good reasons to practice mindfulness while you eat. For one, it’s much healthier than stuffing food down quickly in between tasks. Not only will you clear your head by mindfully eating, it can help your digestion as well. Take the time to taste the bite of food in your mouth, notice it’s texture and temperature, the way it smells. Do this with each bite so you can enjoy the experience of eating. As a bonus, you might end up eating less as well, since you’ll be more aware of what you’re taking in.
- Driving – This is definitely one type of meditation that requires you to stay at full attention, but you can still achieve a more peaceful state of mind while behind the wheel. While you’re driving, especially if you’re stuck in traffic (which is stress inducing for us all), turn off your music and notice the sights and sounds around you for a moment. Feel the sun on your skin, listen to the way the tires roll over the pavement, or notice the scenery around you. It doesn’t have to be beautiful, just notice it. Take it in, breathe deeply, and enjoy a peaceful moment.
- Have a drink – Any kind of drink will do. It can be your morning coffee, hot tea, even a glass of wine. Instead of chugging it down without thinking about it, drink it slowly. Take a sip, and breathe in while it’s in your mouth. Feel it roll over your tongue, pay attention to how it tastes. Absorb yourself in the moment, thinking only about what you are drinking. Take a brief respite from the thoughts running through your head, and enjoy the beverage in your hand.
- Listening to music – Okay, I know I said to turn the music off to be in the moment while you’re driving, but you can also use music to practice mindfulness. If you’d like, listen to something instrumental. Try to hear each instrument playing. If you’re listening to the radio, pay attention to the melody only, or focus your attention on the drums, or the guitar, or whatever you like. The idea is to lose yourself in the song, if only for a few moments.
- Journaling – Putting your thoughts on paper can be very cathartic, helping you release the stress of the moment you’re in. First notice how the pen feels in your hand, or how it sounds as it glides along the page. Take a deep breath and write about what is going on around you. The smells, sounds, and sights. It will bring you out of your own head, and help you focus on the moment.
- Walking – Walking, especially in nature, is a great way to meditate. Walk purposefully, slowly, taking in everything around you. Notice the color of the leaves on the trees, or the smell of the warm air. Feel your foot hit the ground, and your arms swing at your side. Enjoy the chirping of the birds. You get the idea.
- Creating something artistic – Set aside some time to draw, or paint, or scrapbook. Absorb yourself in the process of creation. Allow your creative juices to flow, and pour yourself into whatever it is you’re working on.
- Cooking – Cooking can be a wonderful opportunity to meditate. Rather than throwing something in the microwave and hitting the start button, make something from scratch. Chop vegetables, grind spices, stir the ingredients together, all the while taking care to stay in the moment. Smell the fresh food as you prepare it, feel thankful that you have food on your table.
There are so many ways you can work mindfulness into your life every day. All you have to do is commit to being in the moment while you’re doing things you already do. Just make the commitment to do them fully, and really experience them. This simple yet powerful practice has the power to transform your health, and your life.