Most of us are busy running from place to place and trying to check off every item on our checklist, but we never make time to do the most important thing–take care of ourselves. Taking care of yourself means more than going for your annual checkup and eating the right foods. You need to take care of your mental and emotional well-being, too.
One fantastic way to take care of yourself and to put your emotional and mental health at a priority is to make meditation a regular part of your life. If you think you’re too busy for meditation, or it’s a little too new-agey for you be assured that you’re not too busy, and it’s a proven way to reduce stress.
Meditation might be the most effective way to zap your anxieties, soothe your tension, and refresh your spirit. That would make it more than just relaxation, and it’s a tool for being more productive and happier.
What Is Meditation?
If your image of meditation is outdated and includes someone in pajamas chanting “ohm” while sitting in lotus position, it’s time to open your mind to new possibilities. Even the Mayo Clinic recommends meditation as a simple way to reduce stress.
Meditation has long been used to produce a deep state of tranquility that clears distractions from your mind, and allowing you to “take a breath” metaphorically, and relax. If mantra meditation of repeating ohm or another calming word over and over isn’t for you, the following types of meditation may be more appealing.
Types of Meditation
Meditation is an umbrella term. It describes a number of different techniques that are used to calm the mind, induce relaxation, and relieve stress. The great thing about meditation is that you can select the type that works best for you and fits into your schedule.
You don’t have to stick to one type; you can try many of them to receive situational benefits.
♦ Guided meditation: This method of meditation asks you to focus on a place that is relaxing to you. You can use a real place or an imaginary one. The goal is to dig deep, and imagine every little bit of minutia you find, from smells and sights to textures and the emotional current of the place.
♦ Mindfulness meditation: If you’re working on living in the moment, this is a great exercise. Mindfulness is an increased awareness of the moment. Focus on what you’re experiencing, and release all of the thoughts that pass through your mind, as they’re not physically a part of the moment.
♦ Qigong (CHEE-gong): This is a traditional aspect of Chinese medicine, and combines meditation with movement and breathing exercises. This is usually a guided experience done in a class or with an instructor. You may do it yourself or use videos to help you, but beginners might find the help of an expert to be very useful.
♦ Tai chi (Tie-CHEE): This is another group-led activity that’s considered a Chinese martial art, albeit a gentle and graceful one. It focuses on prescribed movements completed in a particular order with the focus being on your breath while moving.
♦ Yoga: Most cities have yoga studios that offer you a variety of different classes. While yoga is typically seen as an exercise that promotes flexibility and strength, it can also be a form of meditation that encourages you to focus on your movement, breathing, and what is happening in the moment.
Now that you see that there are several different types of meditation available, let’s discuss how you can make them a regular part of your busy schedule, so that you can reap the rewards.
First and Last
Make meditation the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning, and the last thing you do before you fall asleep. By giving yourself some quiet and reflective time, you are better prepared to face the day with confidence and energy, and then you’re better able to conclude your day and embrace sleep.
Your Exercise Routine
As you see above, there are several different types of meditation that are also great forms of exercise. Why not take a few different classes to see which one seems to fit your fitness level best. Then, you not only get the benefits of regular exercise, but you can count that as part of your meditation routine.
Make It a Habit
In the beginning, forcing yourself to go to one place every day and spend 10 minutes meditating might be difficult, like all good habits. Once you get into the hang of it, and it becomes a part of your day, then it’s easier to find the time because you’ve built your life around it.
It’s funny how this works, but when you make time for the important things, you still always find a way to accomplish what you need to.
In contrast to the tip above, there are going to be times when your entire day’s schedule is thrown out the window. Don’t use this unexpected upheaval as an excuse to skip your meditation, instead just move it to another part of the day. Being flexible is part of being in control of your life.
If you think that meditating will instantly make you feel better, reinvigorated, and have you performing at your best–think again. It may have that effect, or it might not. Some days you may reap more rewards, whereas other days meditation will do little more than give you a moment to take a deep breath.
If you have no expectations, then you’ll always come out on top. If you have high expectations, you’ll often feel defeated before you even try.
Meditation is a proven way to calm your monkey mind and focus on the here and now. With focused breathing and movement, your brain is instantly calmed, and a sense of peace is possible. That feeling can be as restorative as sleep and leave you better prepared to face the day.
There are different types of meditation, and each one has its benefits, and sometimes they have some downfalls. It’s key that you pick a technique or two that will work best for you and will give you the benefits you desire. Once you know what you’re going to do, you need to find time to do it.
Try to make meditation a priority in your life, and that you schedule into each day just like brushing your teeth. Also, like brushing your teeth, know that what you are doing has significant long-term benefits, but it might not make a noticeable difference in a day or two.
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