Recently, I’ve had many questions about stress and how to manage it. I’ve developed this brief tutorial and introduction to meditation. Meditation is a great way to quiet the mind especially in times of stress. I meditate every day. The benefits of sitting quietly and relaxing into introspection are myriad. Western science is just starting to perform studies on the effects of meditation. For me, it calms my mind and my sometimes volatile mood. It helps me to remain calm in tense situations like life-threatening emergencies when working in the emergency department or operating room. I hope you enjoy this brief tutorial and begin a daily meditation practice.
The Myths regarding Meditation
Let’s get one thing clear about mediation. You don’t have to be a yogi master to reap the benefits. You don’t have to chant, sit for long hours or master challenging positions. Forget what the media has told you. For beginners, meditation can seem daunting, but never fear. Don’t say “no” to the practice before you’ve even tried it. Meditation can’t be beat when it comes to managing stress!
Meditation, when all is said and done, is a very simple practice that allows its participants to find peace and comfort. It is a practice that uses repetition, focus and redirection. Here are six steps for mindful meditation that will get you started on your path to meditation paradise.
1. Find a quiet place
First, find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Be sure to silence your cell phone any other digital distractions that may get in the way. That place could be in an office, in your bedroom, on your front porch, or even in a tree house. Just pick any place that is going to be your quiet haven for however long you choose to meditate. Do whatever works for you.
2. Find a Good Time
There is no “best time” to meditate. I like to take the time for quiet reflection and anticipation of my day every morning. The best time to mediate is different for everyone. Just find some time when you won’t be interrupted. That isn’t always easy, but how about mediating for a few minutes during your lunch break at work or getting up 15 minutes early to have some quiet mediation time? As little as five minutes of mindful meditation can be a potent stress reducer.
3. Sit Comfortably
Finding the right amount of comfort for your meditation time is essential. Sit relaxed, but with good posture. You can sit on the floor, on a chair, on your bed or on a meditation cushion. You can even lay down if you don’t think you will fall asleep. You can also do walking meditation. Once you’ve found your comfort spot, just close your eyes and focus on the present moment.
4. Focus on Your Breath
In, out, in, out-feel the rise and fall of your abdomen with every breath. To narrow your concentration even more, focus on the inhalations and exhalations as they move through your nostrils. Now think, “Breathing in” and “breathing out” with each breath. When your mind starts to wander (or has been on a long vacation) no need to worry or beat yourself up for being a bad meditator! Just come back to the breath again.
5. Connect with Your Body
Do a cursory scan of your body and take mental note of the sensations in each section. Pay attention to tight spots, relaxed spots, warm places and cold places. Notice if your stomach feels empty or full. Is there any tingling in any part of your body? You don’t need to change anything. Just observe.
6. Notice Thinking
Notice when your mind starts to wander. It will, but don’t worry because that’s what brains were made to do! So when it does, gently guide it back and refocus on your breathing once more. That is meditation–the process of refocusing and redirecting your mind.
When you combine all the steps, you will have accomplished a type of mindful meditation and hopefully, a calmer self.
When I started meditating, I used a lot of guided meditations and then moved to sitting quietly for 5 minutes. I gradually increased the time to 20 minutes. Sometimes I still use guided meditations. There are multiple guided meditations available online. There will be some available in the member’s area soon as well. I also love Vishen Lakhiani’s 6 Phase Meditation. Get it for free through Omvana on the Apple App Store. Meditation is a daily practice that can drastically improve stress levels.
Did you try this simple 6-step process? How did it work for you? What would you like to learn? Do you have requests or suggestions for improvement? Let me know in the comments below.