Of all the loving, nonjudgmental and supportive methods we can use to practice self-care, maybe the most misunderstood is meditation.
It seems like every time I mention it in conversation, someone says dismissively, “Oh, I could never do that! Stop my mind completely and just not have any thoughts at all? I don’t know HOW to do it!”
And that’s exactly how I felt about meditation, too.
But I decided to try it in multiple variations, and soon discovered what it really is and how it best works for me (:
Too many people misunderstand the idea of meditation. So, they don’t even try it (that was me)…and they don’t ever get the benefits.
What are those benefits?
Let me share some…
- Better focus and concentration
- Improved self-esteem
- Lower stress, depression and anxiety
- Lower blood pressure
- Improved circulation
- Less pain
- Better memory and sleep
Sounds great, doesn’t it? All from a practice that requires no equipment and no money. Plus, you can do it anywhere – while walking, riding a bus, or sweating out an endless work meeting.
During meditation, you sit or lie comfortably and focus your attention on one simple thing – commonly you’re breathing as you inhale deeply through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth.
When your mind wanders or you remember an errand on your “to do” list, that’s fine. It’s going to happen. Our minds are CONSTANTLY generating thousands of thoughts. The goal is not to stop that process.
Just gently pull your focus back to your breathing, over and over, without judgment. You might repeat a thought as you breathe – “Joy in…Anger out…”
It’s that simple. You’re not trying to reach ultimate enlightenment or control your thoughts. You’re just tapping into an ancient practice that has helped countless people pause during a busy day, take a few deep breaths, and slow it down for a few minutes.
You can do it, just like I can (:
PS – Here’s a great photo of my client Aimee Macabeo who I envy for her wonderful meditating posture. Doesn’t she look so at peace?