Three easy steps to get started with a mindful meditation practice
I was at the hair salon recently. As often happens at salons, we caught up with each other and shared what was new in our lives. And as life often deals us, there is life stress. We all had our current life stressors to share. I mentioned how meditation often lowers my stress level. My friends from the salon said something that I hear often, "I can't meditate because I can't stop my mind from thinking".
Stopping the mind from thinking is impossible, and that is why I find meditation to be so helpful. It is not about controlling your mind, but more about bringing you back to the present moment. I find I am out of the present moment with thoughts of the past or worries about the future, so meditation transports me back to the present.
If you want to give mindfulness meditation a try, here are three simple tips to get you started.
Tip 1 - Understanding the simplicity of it
You can practice a mindful meditation anywhere! You don't have to be all zenned out with a yoga mat at the edge of an infinity pool and a million dollar view. Although that would be spectacular, you can practice spending a few minutes doing mindful meditation anywhere. Waiting in the car while picking your kids up from school, during a work break on a stressful day, or right before going to bed are great times to do a short practice.
Tip 2 - Understanding what it is
What is mindful meditation anyway? At its core mindful meditation is being present and aware of what is going on in the here and now. Intentionally observing what is going on in your environment, and bringing yourself back to your own physical senses. If you notice intrusive thoughts, just watch them go by. I've heard a good trick is to think of your thoughts as cars going down the highway. You are on the side of the highway just watching them go by. You don't have to jump in the car and let them take you for a ride. Instead, just notice from an outside perspective the thoughts you are thinking.
Meditation can reduce stress and in turn improve the quality of your mental and physical health
Tip 3 - Giving it a try
Set some time aside to intentionally be in the present moment. A time that is dedicated to being focused on the the here and now with as little distraction as possible. All you are really doing is paying attention. Often taking a few deep breaths to start helps you to calm the nervous system. You can also use your senses to bring you into the moment: listening to the sounds around you, or lingering in the details of what you can see.
Something else that can help is using a guided meditation. There are many great ones to use. One app I love and use almost daily is the Calm app. The app has so much to offer and is a great place to start if you are looking to use meditation for your overall well-being. You can check out the app here: calm.com
Keeping you calm and focused
There are different types of meditation practices, but mindfulness meditation is something anyone can do at any time. If you make it a daily practice in times when all is well - it will serve you that much more when you need to rely on it in times of stress. When you need to calm your nervous system, your body and mind should be primed to help you lower your stress more affectively. Be well!