Oh hey, yeah, it’s super trendy and that usually annoys me a little, but meditation is pretty magical.
In this day and age, I think it’s an even more important tool now to help with improving our mental health. Every moment we’re surrounding by media. Technology is always waiting at our fingertips to give our brains new ideas and concepts. We can barely think our own thoughts anymore without some kind of outside influence.
I am not going to lie and say I meditate every day or really even on a set schedule, however, when I set aside time to sit quietly and do nothing, shifts happen in my life.
There are so many resources out there today to help you but you honestly don’t need a single thing to get started.
This summer I started meditating outside and it’s been nice but you can do it anywhere that feels right. If I’m feeling extra fancy I’ll light a candle and maybe hold a crystal or two. It’s not necessary though! It’s too easy for me to skip it because it’s not the “perfect” time or setup. (What is that trait? Perfectionism or just an excuse to procrastinate? That’s a mystery for another time.) Literally, you can meditate anywhere without a single prop.
Anyway, it depends on my mood what type of meditation I feel like doing.
Ways to meditate:
Solo – In your car, bedroom, on a park bench…Use headphones with music if you want but it’s not necessary unless you’re trying to tune out some outside noise. I suggest just instrumental music; lyrics usually make me think too much. I’m a dork and love movie soundtracks (Legends of the Fall…swoon) and Jim Brickman.
During exercise – Any cardio is great for this, I think because of the repetitive motion, like running, walking, biking, ellipticalling…that’s a word, right? I rarely wear headphones when running (unless I’m going for speed on a gym treadmill. I like the music for a motivation boost!) and it’s such great thinking time. It’s not classic meditation but it’s mind-clearing time where I come up with a lot of solutions to things I’ve been mulling over.
Group meditation – look around for events on Facebook. A couple places in my area that have meditations now and then are The Salt Lounge, Bldg 7 Yoga, and Integrative Healing Arts. At first I thought this might be strange, sitting silently in a room with a bunch of people, but it’s usually been great. There’s a different energy when you’re all together.
Apps – If you can’t tear yourself away from your phone, you might like an app to help you get started with meditation. I’ve heard great things about the Headspace app!
YouTube – I’ve been known to search randomly on YouTube for meditations. There are thousands out there but it can also be a little overwhelming. I recommend listening to the first few seconds of one before committing. I def. can’t stand certain people’s voices or overall vibes and have to switch to a new one asap!
Journaling – I wasn’t sure if I should include this as a type since it’s a little more active but I think it’s an excellent practice and can definitely be meditative. If you’re not used to writing, start with a prompt. Soon you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to write from your heart, not your mind. Cliché but true.
It’s seriously about just quieting your thoughts for a few minutes. I get clarity, and weirdly, feel more energized after I meditate. Sometimes I’ll do it in bed and then realize I’m a little more awake! Not really what I was going for then, but it’s amazing at what just sitting still does for me.
If you’re not sure where to start, do this: Set a timer for 5 minutes. Close your eyes and just notice your thoughts. Don’t try to get rid of them or change them, just notice how they come up and how they flow away and onto the next one. There’s no forcing your brain to be quiet, it’s more the action of letting go of the thought, not trying to understand it. Once your timer goes off, just go about your day. See if sitting quietly gets a little easier after each time you do it.
There will oddly be times where I crave it now. Sometimes I just want to grab a notebook and write some random thoughts. Anyway I do it is time well spent.
I’d love to hear your experiences meditating or why you haven’t gotten in to it before!