Let’s be honest: life can be incredibly stressful. What with family, friends, finances, work, planning for the future, sorting out the past . . . over time, we can build ourselves up into a nice stressful hole that we simply cannot get out of. Stress induced illness is starting to become a major problem throughout the world, and especially for those that are trying to have it all, be the best, and never fail.
Because we all fail! The key here is what we do when we do fail. Many people have found that meditation is a great way to relax, but very few people will try it out on their own because they feel stupid. How on earth am I meant to work out how to meditate? They ask themselves. And so the cycle goes on: you become more and more stressed, and you don’t do anything about it because you don’t want to feel silly.
We are here to tell you that absolutely anyone can meditate! It is possible to do at any time, in any place, at any age, and by any one. All you need is our meditation for dummies guide, which we have put together for those that have absolutely no experience whatsoever with meditation. Just go through these helpful hints and suggestions, and you’ll be finding inner peace in no time:
1. First, find a place to meditate.
Meditation needs calm and quiet, so your kitchen table when your children are getting ready for school is probably not the best place. You need to find somewhere that you can be completely alone, and just take a couple of minutes for yourself. If you need to, you may have to explain to your family and friends that you are going to be spending some time meditating, and they are not to disturb you. You should also make sure that your phone is switched off, and your coffee maker or anything else is not going to go off and disturb you.
2. Choose a time of day.
It really is up to you when you decide to meditate, but many experts recommend that you start off your day with a couple of minutes of meditation. Before the day begins it is full of possibilities, and you will best be able to achieve them if you are already calm and stress free. You may decide to get up ten minutes early in order to meditate. On the other hand, some find that meditating at the end of the day is a great way to make sense of the choices that you have made throughout the day, and a great way to allow yourself to relax so that you sleep well. You could try doing both!
One of the big stereotypes of meditation is a lot of fancy breathing – and although breathing is key to meditation, it is definitely not complicated. All you need to do is pay attention to the way that you are breathing, and slowly slow down your lungs. This will naturally relax your muscles, and make it easier for you to focus. If you are having trouble slowing down your breathing, count three beats for breathing in, and six for breathing out. Very quickly your body will naturally slow down.
4. Stretch out your muscles.
A big part of meditation is being aware of yourself and what is around you. As you already know what is around you, you should slowly stretch your muscles out and then in, one group at a time. For example, you could start with your feet, then your legs, then your stomach and back together, then move to your arms and hands, and finish up with your neck.
5. Try something new each day.
Meditation does not have to be the same absolutely every day – you can choose if and when you want to mix it up a bit. Many meditation experts suggest that those who are trying out meditation for the first time spend their first week doing something different each day. For example, you could sit one day, and then lie down another; meditate on Monday with your eyes open, and on Tuesday with your eyes closed. Over time, you will soon learn what relaxes you.
6. Be aware when you are bored.
Meditation should not be boring, and if you are finding yourself running through what groceries you need to get today, then you need to stop. Some of the best meditation can only last two or three minutes, and that means that you should never force yourself to stay meditating if the good work has already been done.
7. Try incorporating music.
Obviously anything with words can be very distracting, but there are plenty of calming and restful pieces of music that are available out there on YouTube or other websites that are brilliant to play in the background whilst you are meditating. Focusing on the music allows you to forget everything else that is going on in your life – just make sure that you decide before you start meditating how much time you have, and set the music accordingly, or you could find yourself there for hours!
8. Get a friend involved.
Although meditation is, in a way, very solitary, meditating with another person can be very fulfilling – as long as it is someone that you are totally comfortable with. Without that feeling of comfort, meditating with them could become very awkward. Having a meditation buddy is also a brilliant way to keep yourself accountable, so that you make sure that you meditate every single day. You can even try meditating their way and then yours alternatively. Trying out something different, or having a person led meditation, can be very calming.
None of these suggestions are hard, but you will definitely reap the benefits if you can do them every day. Getting yourself into a calming routine is the best way for you to use meditation to relieve stress, and before you know it, meditation will be making a real difference in the way that you feel, and the way that you live your life.