When life becomes stressful or world events can feel overwhelming, it’s important to be able to take some time away from everything to switch off and reset. For some people this may involve going for a swim or practising yoga, and for others it might be finding a gap in their day to do some meditation.
People who are new to meditation may worry that they need specific tools or techniques, but this really isn’t the case. Meditation is about connecting with your breath, being aware of your thoughts and showing compassion towards ourselves. It can be done at any time and anywhere.
The benefits of incorporating meditation into your daily routine are huge. People who meditate regularly will find that their stress levels drop, anxious thoughts reduce and their sleep quality is better. These are all things we could benefit from during busy times in our lives.
So, how do you meditate? Here are a few tips:
Find a quiet place
If you live in a noisy household, finding space to meditate might feel tricky. However, most people will be able to find somewhere comfortable and warm to sit and be still, even if it’s just for a few minutes each day. You might want to use a yoga mat or a rug to sit on the floor, or perhaps a bed or chair works better. Whatever you decide, try to make sure you have a strong, upright position which will help with your inhalation and exhalation. Your neck should stay relaxed and your chin slightly tucked in while you concentrate on your breathing.
Being interrupted by demanding small people or teenagers is part-and-parcel of family life, but everyone deserves time to themselves too. If you show your family your meditation space and explain what you’re doing and why, they will hopefully learn to respect it and give you the time you need for a little reset. Naturally, there will still be noises happening around you - and some people find total silence too much anyway - but at least no one will be asking you for a snack!
Meditate at a set time
Learning to meditate takes time. Sitting still and being mindful is not something many of us are used to doing when there are so many demands on us. Some days finding the space will be easier than others but if you try to meditate at a set time each day, you will soon start to notice a positive impact. It might be that you choose to do it first thing in the morning, before anyone else is awake. Others might find it helps their sleep if they meditate before bed as it can help switch off the mind and wind the body down. If you’re going through a period where life feels overwhelming you may find that taking a break during the day to meditate helps you cope.
There will be days when your mind wanders and you struggle to focus but as you get further into your practice, you’ll also get better at bringing the focus back to your breath.
Focus on your body and breath
Techniques will be different for different people but a good way to start is to centre yourself in your sitting position and then focus on your in and out breaths. Once your breathing is calm and regular, move your focus on each of your senses and what you can hear, smell, feel etc. This will help you to tune in with your body and your mind, and intrusive thoughts should start to ease. You can also spend time scanning your body to see how each part feels. Start with your toes and feet and work your way upwards.
At the beginning of your meditation journey you might only be able to manage to focus for a couple of minutes each day. Don’t worry, this is normal and can still do wonders for your mental wellbeing and we’re sure that with practice, you’ll be able to increase the minutes in no time.
Seek help if you need it
If you’re struggling to meditate on your own, or you want some helpful tips, there are lots of apps out there which provide guided meditations, sleep music tracks and talks on how to get the most from your sessions. Try a few and see which works best for you.
We’d love to hear about your meditation experiences so please tag us @we.love.ocean
Here are some apps Love Ocean recommends: