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August 03, 2023
Have you ever tried meditation? How did it go? You’ve heard all about the benefits from engaging in a consistent meditation practice, right? Increased mental clarity in your life, better sleep, more motivation to attack the day, more effective self-reflection, greater joy and enjoyment through the days to name a few. Meditation is wonderful & we believe that everyone can benefit from it. Let's dive into our 5 best tips to make your meditation more effective and enjoyable.
In order to get started and stay consistent, it is important that you start low and slow. Don’t worry so much about the amount of time you are meditating. The saying rings true - “less is more.” (At least at the beginning). Choose to set a time limit. Go for 2 minutes and see how you feel. Do not set any expectations on yourself. If your mind wanders, totally fine. If you feel like you are done after 1 minute, all good. Just focus on starting somewhere manageable. Start small and learn to be consistent with that.
Arguably one of the most important things you can do is manage your environment. If it is 6 o'clock in the morning and your kids are crying for breakfast, it is probably not the best time to meditate, right? Any other time where there are lots of distractions, noise, and stressors around you might not be the best time too. Find the time and space to enter a still and quiet environment. This will allow your brain to enter a relaxed state and make the meditation more effective.
People always ask the question - “what should i focus on or think about?” The answer for everyone is going to be different. But a great start is to focus on your breath. Focus on both the inhale and exhale. Focus on the rise and fall of your chest. Focus on the sound of your breathing in and out. Controlling one's breath, controls one's nervous system. Master the art of breathing, and your meditation will be extremely effective.
There are many breathing techniques to try. Pick one and try it out. How did it go? Did you enjoy that one or do you want to try another? If you want some ideas try any of the breathing techniques below:
- Breathe in for X counts
- Hold for X counts
- Breathe out for X counts
- Increase the # of counts each round as you can
The Double Inhale
- Breathe in your nose as deep as you can
- Without exhaling, immediately inhale as much as you can again
- Lastly, exhale for as long as you can
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- For this skill, you will flex and hold certain muscle groups while breathing.
- Work from your upper body, through your core, and into your lower extremities
- Start with your neck, work into your shoulders, back and chest, begin to engage your core and pelvic muscles. Finish up with your lower body, calves and feet.
Hand Traced Breathing
- Take your pointer finger of one hand, and place it at the base of your other hands thumb
- Inhale as your trace your thumb to the top, minimum of 3 counts
- At the top of your thumb, pause for 3 counts
- Trace your thumb to the base of your pointer finger
- Continue through the rest of your fingers. Tracing for 3 counts and pausing for 3 counts at the top.
People always complain that when they meditate, they can’t stop their mind from wandering. Realize that your mind - especially at the beginning - will likely wander. That is okay! When your mind starts to wonder, realize that it is, and recenter it on something. Maybe it's your breath, a visual you are thinking about, or the music that is playing in the background. If your mind wanders, that is completely fine and normal.
Sometimes a form of meditation is to let your mind wander where it wants to. Get yourself into a comfortable position. Turn on some soothing music. Begin a breathing technique and let your mind wander where it needs to. This can be a great way to process your mind and emotions.
There are many great meditation videos, apps and guides. Pick one and roll with it! Maybe today you want to try something free on Youtube. Maybe tomorrow you want to try something on the app Calm. Maybe you want to try something online. Whatever it is, pick a guided meditation and let it roll! See what you enjoy and like. There are so many different forms of meditation and it is up to you to choose your favorite and roll with it.
Some great resources are:
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