Meditation. Have you tried it? You don’t have to be “super enlightened” to do it, and all you need is an open mind and a quiet space.
I talk a lot about self-care on MENtalHealth Mondays, so today, let’s break the stigma around meditation. Let’s shed the light on how beneficial meditating can be for your Mental Health. Let’s talk about how it can truly help change your MINDset.
When you break it down, meditation is super easy in theory. One of life’s great examples on how something is truly easier said than done. But like all things in life that are difficult, it takes practice. Luckily, the practice is easy. And you can do it in as little as five minutes a day.
I’ll try not to over complicate. Follow me on this…
First of all, find a good spot to meditate. You don’t have to go to a super special place to meditate, although a quiet environment is the best place. Quiet can help when you are just getting your bearings in the early stages of meditation. For me, I find a quiet bedroom or even a corner off to the side in an office. Maybe an unused conference room, or a closet in your house? Just someplace quiet without distractions.
Now that you’re in a quiet place…
Set your phone timer for five minutes and set it aside. FACE DOWN. Turn off the ringer.
Clear your mind.
Do it. Seriously. Think about NOTHING. Focus on your breathing.
Think about breathing in. Think about breathing out. Just. Just Breathe.
Then…here’s the part that gets seemingly difficult…DON’T think…
Allow your mind to completely shut off. Don’t worry about work. Don’t worry about kids. Don’t worry about the itch you want to scratch on your nose. Block it all out. Stop thinking about everything.
Now you’re thinking about NOT thinking about anything, and it’s freaking you out!
Don’t worry, that’s part of the practice.
When you feel your mind start to wander, and believe me, it will, just take another deep breath and go back to just focusing on your breathing. Nothing more. Restart.
But this can actually be pretty fun. You don’t have to transcend to a different dimension, travel to the Himalayas, or practice Buddhism; you know, the stereotypical things that come to mind when you hear the word meditation.
You might spend the whole five minutes with your mind racing about all the things you have to do, getting caught up in your life drama and worries instead of clearing your mind completely. But you know what? If you KNEW that your mind was racing, you are already winning at meditation. Meditation is all about being conscious of the moment. Having the mindfulness to stop thinking about thinking and start breathing again trains your brain to be in the moment.
Tune out the outside world.
Doesn’t quite work for you? That’s okay too. Maybe give it a try for a week in the bathroom. You laugh, but you can be alone in a bathroom, sitting down, with little to no distractions. Why not start there? As much as you put into meditation, is how much you will get out of it…and I think you will find once you get the hang of it, even on a very basic level, you will find it to be incredibly cathartic.
You may even find yourself using it in real life situations.
When things get overwhelming, and your anxiety levels start rising, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Center your mind and your thoughts.
Meditation can be incredibly therapeutic and beneficial to your mental health and overall well being.
If you’re REALLY into this, I’d recommend a book by Dan Harris called “10% Happier”. It’s basically his story on how meditation changed his life, and it can for some people. He says that in general, meditation won't change your life, but it WILL make you about 10% happier.
Dan Harris is a reporter for ABC and one time had a full blown panic attack LIVE on the air…seriously:
He even put together a quick easy video that's....wait for it...5 minutes. See?
Give it a try! One of the many ways you can practice self-care.
What are some things YOU do for self-care?