You may have heard that meditation is the process of quieting one’s mind, concentrating on the breath, and reflecting on things that bring gratitude. How though, can one quiet their mind when they are reeling with a never-ending to-do list, endless family and work commitments, and bottled up anxiety and stress that feels like it will burst? While it may feel impossible to meditate through chaos, this relaxation technique can help you reduce tension and anxiety, helping you manage emotions and remain mindful. The trick, however, is to give yourself a chance to experience its benefits without being self-critical during your beginning experiments. Our feel-silly-free guide to meditation can help you relax and meditate so that you can smile and be happy.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a mindfulness technique that encourages and develops concentration, clarity, emotional positivity, and calmness.
The Benefits of Meditation
Meditation has been proven to help:
- Reduce stress
- Improve emotional wellbeing, positivity, and kindness
- Control anxiety
- Improve self-awareness
- Reduce stress and anxiety-related physical pain symptoms
- Improve attention span
- Decrease blood pressure
- Improve sleep
How to Meditate Without Feeling Silly
If you’ve heard about the positive benefits of meditation but have been hesitant to try it because you worry that you’ll do it wrong, or that you’ll feel silly sitting cross-legged, chanting, and thinking happy thoughts, forget what you think you know. First, understand that there is no wrong way to meditate. If you are spending time away from your desk and smartphone reflecting on yourself, your life, and focusing on your breathing, you are doing it right. These tips can help you refine your technique to maximize the benefits of meditation and mindfulness.
- Find a comfortable place to sit quietly. It can be inside your home or outdoors, as long as it is an area that is distraction-free.
- Consciously think about your breathing. Feel the sensation of your breath going in through your nose and out through your mouth. Your belly and ribs should expand on each inhale and deflate during your exhales.
- Be aware of your body. As you sit and breathe, think about your fingers and toes and all your limbs. Relax your facial muscles, unclench your jaw, and feel the sensation of built-up stress releasing from your body.
- Let your mind wander. A mistake people make when meditating is feeling that they have to sit in a void of conscious thought. It’s okay to have focused thoughts when you meditate, as long as you acknowledge and release anything stressful. Try to focus on the sensation of your breath. If your mind needs to wander, think about things for which you are grateful, and cast anxiety-laden thoughts away.
- Build uptime. Start first by meditating just for two minutes. After a few sessions, increase the duration to five minutes. Continue expanding your time commitment until you reach a point where you feel you’ve achieved the positive benefits of meditation without losing focus or feeling bored.
- Just like anything else, meditation is a skill. Commit to practicing daily meditation every day for one month before you decide if it is a ritual that you can fit into your daily regiment (because it should).
All of us can benefit from mindfulness and relaxation. Give these techniques a try and be kind to yourself if you start to feel self-conscious or silly. With practice, you’ll experience valuable health and emotional wellness benefits of meditation, and will learn to rely on mindfulness techniques anytime life gets hard.