Beauty and self-care go hand in hand, but when the flip did I become the expert on meditation? Ha! I am no guru BUT I have actually found there to be some great benefits of mediation and it was all by simplifying it for myself.
So… if you have been dealing with stress, anxiety or overwhelm, it might be time for you to try meditation too. Or you might just be a bit curious to give it a go!
Hell no, you might be thinking, and this was truly my own opinion on this for YEARS.
First, clear your mind of ALL thoughts. Just kidding – have you ever heard anything more ridiculous? The very second I tell myself to clear my thoughts - I immediately start to wonder if I’m doing it right or if my mind is clear enough. Forget it – you won’t get any of that here!
How about we forget the dreaded word ‘meditation’ for a moment. What if I simply asked you if you wanted to slow down the hundreds of thoughts rushing around in your brain for a bit? Sounds like a holiday in itself right?! Or if I asked if you wanted to feel calm and relaxed with a quick ‘reset’? Who wouldn’t?
Firstly, let’s change the term ‘meditation’ to ‘time-out’ instead.
Feeling better already? I know I am.
Your ‘time-out’ doesn’t need to be complicated or complex. If you are just starting out, simply allow a few minutes to yourself. Whether it be once a day or once a week – do what works for you. It’s great if it can be fairly quiet but let’s be realistic and accept there will always be sounds around you, this is ok, sounds are a part of life. Accept sounds in the background, rather than trying to fight them.
Try a five minute time-out by listening to music
Play some light time-out music, try theInsight Timer app and choose a five min (or more) piece of music or relaxing sounds. Relax your body, close your eyes, and listen to the calming sounds of the music. If stressful or negative thoughts (or your to-do-list!) pop into your head, calmly put them aside and bring yourself back to the music. Preferably music with no lyrics for the best benefits of your time out. And again… when your mind wanders, gently bring yourself back to the music. And that’s it. I mean it. If you’re focusing on the music and enjoying the calming sounds – it means you’re not focused on the things that are stressing you out, are you? Yep, you just cleared your mind of your racing thoughts. Well done you! Each time you do this, you’ll find it less and less weird.
Try a five or ten minute guided time-out
I love the Insight Timer app for this too. I am going to say when you’re starting out, I don’t personally recommend doing the long body scan ones. If this is your first rodeo, your mind might wander too much and you may even get a bit bored or fidgety. Well that’s what happens to me anyway. Instead, perhaps try a five minute ‘feeling grateful’ or ‘feel less stress’ type of guided meditation, there are heaps to choose from. This is my favourite way to take a bit of time-out. And the best bit – if you don’t like the short one you chose, it’s only taken you five minutes, just try a different one next time!
All you need to do is take five minutes, pop in your headphones, follow the guide and before you know it, you’re done. As with before, if your mind wanders, this is ok, simply put the thoughts aside and bring yourself back to your guided time out. The more you focus on your guide, again, the less focus there is on your stressful thoughts. And remember, stressful thoughts while doing your time-out, don’t help you. Thinking about all those tasks isn’t getting them done, it’s just blocking you from enjoying some time-out! Keep bringing your focus back to the guide and you'll reap the benefits.
Think about your breathing
Breathing exercises can also help you to find peace and relaxation while you are having some time-out. Instead of focusing on the thoughts causing you stress, you want to focus on your breathing. When working on your breathing, inhale through the nose, and out through the mouth or nose. Feel every breath as you take in oxygen and it enters your body. When exhaling, focus on letting out all your negative energy. You can even lower your blood pressure doing this every day! I like to count my 'in and out' breaths from 1-10 and start again, over and over till I relax a bit. This works great when I want to go to sleep. Again, thoughts will come and go, simply keep bringing yourself back to your breathing.
You could even try the 4-7-8 method. First put your tongue at the top of your mouth behind your teeth. Breathe in for four counts, hold for seven counts and exhale for eight counts. Three rounds is enough to start out with and you get to set your own pace!
Well, there you have it! I hope this has helped somewhat to getting you started – please let me know in the comments below.