One of my goals for the new year is to stop multitasking and learn to focus my mind on one thing at a time. I want to quiet my mind from the chaos that is constantly scrolling through it and decided to share some simple meditation tips if you want to join me. Meditation is different for everyone. You may prefer guided meditation or using meditation videos to help you relax. There is no one RIGHT way to meditate but hopefully this post will get you started on a mindfulness meditation journey that will help you relax and enjoy life to it’s fullest.
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Meditation for Mindful Living
My husband has been going to the Shambhala Meditation Center for about two years now and has found it incredibly helpful on his journey to mindful living. What is mindful living? It is basically the state of keeping your mind on the present moment. Is your mind clouded with thoughts about what you’re going to do later? Are you thinking about something someone else said or about something you’re stressed out about? Giving up those thoughts and living in the present is what mindful living is all about.
Reasons to Practice Mindfulness
It helps to understand exactly why you should consider practicing mindfulness. There are a long list of benefits, but let’s just talk about a few of them.
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- It helps with stress and depression – Your mental health is very important, and mindfulness can be a tremendous help. With mindfulness, you are only focusing on the present, so you aren’t constantly becoming sad or anxious over past or future events.
- Mindfulness improves your focus – You will have better focus and concentration, and improved memory with regular mindfulness.
- Your body reacts positively – There have also been studies to show that your body can fight off infection due to a boost in your immune system when you get into the practice of regular mindfulness.
How to do Mindfulness Meditation
You are now ready to start the practice of mindfulness meditation. This is not going to be perfected right away. Be self aware and understand that practice makes perfect. Nobody is going to do this perfectly the first time. Don’t let that keep you from trying it every day.
- Focus on your breathing – As with any type of meditation, you want to start by focusing on your breathing. Do nothing but inhale in and exhale out. Start letting go of all your worries and thoughts every time you exhale a breath.
- Think about your current state – Take a moment to think only of what is happening right now. Think about how you are learning meditation right here, right now. Don’t think about yesterday or a month ago or a year ago. Don’t think about what you will do next or plans you have for the future. Think about this moment in time only.
- Envision each body part – If you are having trouble clearing your mind and thinking only about the present, you can try thinking about each body part. Concentrate and feel your fingers, arms, abdomen, back, shoulders, legs, and toes. Listen to your heartbeat and focus on the air exhaling out of your lungs.
- Accept what is happening – A big part of mindfulness is not just being aware of the present, but accepting it. No matter what is happening, you have to be willing to accept it and learn to appreciate it.
- Be flexible about your meditation practice – Life is unpredictable and people are busy. Be flexible about where and how you meditate. Learn how to meditate in bed, try a session at work if you are focusing on meditation techniques for anxiety, or try meditation with kids if you are stuck at home.
Simple Meditation Tips for Mindful Living
Meditation is a helpful technique to learn how to focus the mind. I thought I would share a few simple meditation tips in case you would like to get started on your own mindful journey.
Before I share the simple meditation tips that I learned, I want to make sure that readers understand that mediation is NOT a religious practice! Do not say ‘I can’t meditate because I am Christian’ or ‘Only Buddhists meditate’. Meditation is a HUMAN practice. NOT a religious one. These easy meditation tips are designed for anyone who feels that their mind has become cluttered and wants to quiet their thoughts and learn to live more mindfully.
Meditation is different for everyone
Some people have trouble quieting their minds and focusing on being in the moment. Others have more difficulty actually physically sitting still for more than a few moments. I went to my meditation class with my teenagers and both of them found that sitting still was harder for them than quieting their minds. I had the opposite reaction and had no trouble sitting still, but my brain just didn’t want to slow down. Realize that YOUR meditation journey will be completely unique.
Other Meditation Tips and Mindfulness Posts to Read
- How to be Mindful at Work to Reduce Stress and Improve Health
- Calming Herbs for Anxiety When Stress is Too Hard to Handle
- Forest Bathing Therapy: A Newfangled Word for an Old Fashioned Concept
It is easy for your brain to get sidetracked, no matter how many mediation tips you read ahead of time. Dress comfortably (loose skirts, yoga pants, running shorts, sweatpants, loose jeans, etc) so that you aren’t thinking about your uncomfortable bra straps or too tight jeans.
Find a position that is comfortable for you
One of the most useful meditation tips that my instructor provided is that you do not HAVE to meditate in the classic crossed leg pose if that doesn’t work for you. You can sit in a chair as long as you are sitting with your rear end firmly planted, back straight, and head upright, as if held up with a thread to the sky. If getting down onto the ground is difficult, choose any location where you can sit with good posture that is comfortable for you. The meditation center we attended had numerous meditation cushions which made sitting cross-legged much more comfortable.
Try Using Essential Oils
When you begin getting into the practice of meditation, you will find that there are different ways to relax your senses. Aside from silence, another sense you can use is your sense of smell. This is when the power of essential oils come into play.
There are actually a couple different methods you can use when including essential oils for meditation. The first is by creating a mist with your chosen essential oils. You will add a few drops of the scents you have chosen to a spray bottle, then spray it in the air. This allows you to absorb the scents and better concentrate. You can also place a drop of the oil on your forehead. Another way is to put the oils into an essential oil diffuser, which releases the scent into the room.
Some of the Best Oils to Use
These oils are good because the scent helps with focus, relaxation, concentration, and stress relief. Try using just one at a time or mix them together to create your own relaxing blends.
- Cedarwood – This will really help you to think about nothing and focus more clearly during meditation.
- Frankincense – Frankincense is often used for meditation because it can help you connect with your spirit. It also increases your faith.
- Sandalwood – Use sandalwood oil during meditation if you are looking to heal emotional or spiritual wounds.
- Rose – Rose is an essential oil for love, even with self-love and learning to have a deeper connection with yourself.
- Neroli – Neroli is a strong fragrance that allows you to accept yourself and face your fears.
Practice with eyes open versus eyes closed
Not all meditation styles recommend closing your eyes. The class we attended instructed us to keep our eyes open but develop a ‘soft gaze’ so that you are not really focused on one particular thing. The way the instructor explained it is that closing your eyes closes you off from the world. And rather than closing yourself off, they want you to acknowledge the distractions but learn how to set them aside.
I found it difficult to meditate with my eyes open but will continue working on it. Lighting a candle and using it as your point of focus is recommended by some websites I found. Any candle will work, but you can purchase a meditation candle for that specific purpose.
Meditation is not easy
Do not get discouraged if you try meditation a few times and don’t feel that it is working for you. I definitely had a lot of trouble…an overactive brain, a foot that fell asleep…I really need to keep on working on my meditation techniques! Many meditation centers offer meditation classes for all levels of students, beginner through advance. There are a number of books available on the subject as well as meditation for beginners Youtube videos and meditation apps for your smartphone.
Think of meditation as a life long journey. You don’t really get a measurable change after one or two meditation classes. These simple meditation tips are a starting point on your journey to mindful living. It is easy to become distracted by our Facebook accounts or the latest drama going on in our family. The goal of mindful living should be to learn how to quiet those thoughts so that we live in the moment and learn to appreciate it!
Do you have any easy meditation tips to share?
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.