I hope everyone has had a restful week. For this week’s newsletter, I wanted to talk about mediation. Meditation is something that I personally struggle in practicing, especially during stressful times in my life. However, these stressful times are when I most benefit from this practice, making it an essential part of my self-care. Not everyone will prefer this, but I highly recommend trying it out sometime.
What is mediation? Meditation may take many forms, but simply put it is the training of the mind to bring awareness to the world around an individual. Pretty vague, right? The tricky part of explaining mediation is that every body is different; we all have different needs, desires, dreams, and necessary levels of tender care. This is the importance of self-exploration! However, I acknowledge that starting this journey is the hardest part. Luckily, we live in an age where Google is available and apps such as Headspace exist, which are wonderful guides. I will use this opportunity to share my knowledge and experience!
There are many tactics in which one can bring awareness and mindfulness to oneself. These tactics include and are not limited to feeling and listening to the breath, listening to the sounds around you, and focusing the mind on a specific thought, activity, theme, object, or whatever else you prefer. In practicing mindfulness, one should concentrate on the breath and how it moves in and out of the body and noticing when thoughts wander. Noticing this allows you to gently bring your thoughts back to the breath. Other forms of meditation could include focusing on one thing. For example, if you’ve been feeling a little bleh and need some strength, find a comfy spot and think of what form of strength you would like to manifest.
How do you do the act of meditation? Once again, every body is different, so the physical positioning is really your choice! I prefer to be criss-cross applesauce, but the Headspace app suggests sitting upright in a chair with the feet planted on the ground. You can also do this in the shavasana pose in yoga, where you lay on your back with your palms facing the sky and feet slightly turned outwards. Find what is best for you and continue from there.
The duration of the meditation is up to you! If this is your first time/first few times doing it, I suggest doing a shorter duration that can feel more achievable. I usually do three to five minutes, which doesn’t sound like much, but I struggle with patience, so it is an eternity for me. Find your comfortable position and begin to focus your attention to your breath. Try your best to clear your mind of any passing thoughts, and when they do come up, acknowledge them and bring your awareness back to the breath.
Once your time is up, reflect on the experience. How did you deal with your passing thoughts? Did you meditate with intention? Do you have clarity? How does your mind and body feel? Do you feel at ease? Is there anything you can control that you would change about the experience? Would you try it again?
Doing this alone can be really tough! I highly recommend using the Headspace app, which gently guides you through the entire process. The app is free and easy to use, and you can use it anywhere. Waiting for the bus, sitting in a park, before going to the grocery store, in your room, whatever you may need! I also used this website as an informational resource when writing this, and I highly recommend checking it out if you are curious! https://www.mindful.org/how-to-meditate/
Uncertain times cause a need for tender care, and meditation is a wonderful way to do this. I hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the week and is able to find what they need!