If you have ever attended a yoga class before, you are most likely familiar with the concept of meditation. Relaxing, breathing deeply and trying to let any dark thoughts float away is the general concept of meditation. However, there is not only one way to do it and certainly you do not have to be a yogi expert or a Buddhist monk to benefit from this practice. In fact, you have already been meditating without realizing it! Taking a walk, knitting, wood carving, exercising, cooking can all be forms of meditation. In this article we will give you the basic benefits of meditation and a few simple guidelines on how to meditate more efficiently. Shall we start?
Meditation can help you improve your well-being in many different ways. First, it lowers your heart rate and can help lower blood pressure. It also helps you relax your muscles and avoid muscle strain and tension headaches. It is also a great way to let go of any negative experiences that you had during the day and focus on the positive ones. Because meditation fights off stress, it helps boost many systems within your body. Without stress, your immune system functions more efficiently and you suffer from less inflammation. Additionally, if you have fertility issues, relaxing can help you conceive easier. There are many women who have no hormonal or structural reproductive issues and still cannot conceive due to stress. Meditation can be of great help in such cases!
How to meditate
We all have different lifestyles. This means that there is not one recipe for everyone. You can try different ways to meditate and see what works best for you. What you need to keep in mind though, is that your mind is never going to be quiet and certainly not at a beginner level. The mind’s job is to think, so don’t beat yourself because thoughts keep coming up. A great advice that some meditation mentors give is to think of your mind as a boat and the thoughts as waves. As long as you allow the boat to move freely, waves will come and go. But if you try to hold the boat still, the waves will crush on it, flood it and wreck it. It is absolutely fine if the waves of thought move your mind to different directions. Just try to let the thoughts go and bring your mind back to positive thoughts. It takes some practice, but it is very rewarding, once you achieve this sort of gentle mind control.
At the office
Yes, you can find peace at the office, in-between piles of documents, phones ringing and stressed colleagues. All you need is five minutes and a quiet place. You can use the bathroom or an empty meeting room or a balcony, if your office building has one. Just sit comfortably or stand with your back on a wall, if no chair is available. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. You should feel the air filling your abdomen. Inhale through your nostrils and exhale through your nostrils or mouth, whatever you find more comfortable. Imagine a calm lake, a field of flowers or a sunset, whatever is calming for you. Try to stay like that, with your eyes closed, breathing into your abdomen, for at least five minutes.
As we mentioned before, any activity that does not require much thought can help destruct you from stress and negative thoughts. Try breathing deeply while you knit, chop vegetables or clean the bathroom tiles (well, don’t breathe deeply if you are using bleach or chemicals!). Focus on what you are doing, instead of on the thoughts that cross your mind. You can also draw a mandala. You can print out ready-made mandalas you just color in. It is very relaxing and will distract you from stressful thoughts.
This is a practice that many ancient philosophers used, from ancient Greece to China. Walking on gardens with paths specifically designed to promote a sense of calmness or walking in the woods can have amazing benefits on your health and well-being. Walking is anyway a great exercise on its own, suitable for any age. If you combine it with deep breathing and focus on your breath, you will quickly achieve a meditative state! You can take your children with you and teach them how to do it as well. It can help restless toddlers slow down and relax.
Of course, you an always invent your own ways to meditate! There is no meditation police and as long as you breathe deeply and feel relaxed, you are doing it right.