Learn to meditate! Meditation is the [initially] difficult art of focusing 100% of your attention on one subject or area of your mind. Sometimes it’s difficult to settle our minds, but here are a few tips I’ve picked up on my journey of “mind-body” awareness.
1. Make a mental and emotional commitment to meditate. The best thing to do is setting time aside and COMMIT to using that time to center yourself.
2. Stretch your muscles out. A bit of light yoga can help you sit in a position that’s comfortable. It also revitalizes the blood flow which can help you concentrate more.
3. Acknowledge your breath. Remember to breathe. Listen to your body as you inhale…and then exhale. Deep breathing can help slow the heart rate and relax the muscles. [Ever been really upset and your mom tells you, “just breathe” ?? Now you know why!]
4. Focus on your frustrations and acknowledge them. In the early stages, your brain may wander (“this is a waste of time”, “why am I here?”, “why can’t I relax?”, “are those the kids running upstairs?”). This is normal and will pass as you work towards your ultimate goal of relaxing your mind. Narrowing your thoughts on ONE thing is difficult and takes constant practice. You have to WORK at it! I usually follow my thoughts until I redirect my attention back to the stillness of my body and the room.
5. Figure out what works best for you. Sometimes we get stuck in stereotypes and imagine the best meditators as the wise yogi perched atop a large pillow surrounded by candles. Obviously, this doesn’t work for everyone. How you position yourself is completely up to you. I like to lie down with my eyes closed or stretch across a chair with my neck propped up.
6. Experiment with your body. Move your toes, your fingers, your shoulders. Listen to your body. This is wonderful because you can feel your body as it enters the “meditative” state as opposed to the “active” state. As you progress, you may find your body enters a meditative state when you’re lounging around the house.
7. Find “your spot.” Picking a room in your home could be difficult if you live with others, especially noisy children. I’d recommend telling your family, roommates, spouse, etc. that you are attempting to relax and you need 30 minutes of SILENCE! If this isn’t feasible, maybe attempting to meditate early in the morning or late in the evening when the house is sleeping is also a possibility if you’re really serious about meditation.
8. Unplug. Leave the cell phones, televisions, laptops and other devices in another room. It’s only for 30 minutes, not the rest of your life.
9. Find something to center on. A candle, a flower, a painting. Anything. Sometimes I use a candle to focus my attention and as I try to quiet my thoughts.
If you have anything other tips, email me and I can write an additional post featuring your ideas. Kortnie.firstname.lastname@example.org