Have you ever felt so lost that you couldn’t find the motivation to do something productive for yourself, only to eventually find the inspiration that you needed, do the thing and then wonder why you wasted so much time on waiting instead of taking care of yourself?
I am sure you have. Personally, this is how I felt about meditating for a pretty long time. I knew that doing it at least 10 minutes a day would help me calm my thoughts and be more present and yet I always managed to find a stupid excuse to avoid doing that.
For some reason, I thought that I first need to clear my mind in order to be good at it. I was wrong. Very, very wrong.
But even though it took me some time to really psych myself up to do it, I did it.
And in that process, I realized something truly important. There is no such thing as perfect meditation. Meditating doesn’t mean fighting your negative thoughts or struggling to find your center. Meditating requires work and most importantly, a lot of patience. It takes time to get comfortable with your mind. And that time may be different for each and every single one of us.
You just need to quiet your mind and let the soul speak…
Here are seven meditation exercises that have proven to be most effective:
1.The 100-Breaths Technique. Close your eyes. Rest your back against the chair and put your feet on the ground. Stay still and start breathing through your nostrils. Focus on the present moment and begin to count. Inhale when you say “and”, exhale for each number. Let’s do it. Inhale “and”, exhale “one”, then inhale “and” exhale “two”. Don’t stop until you reach 100.
During this breathing exercise, clear your mind of anything that bothers you. Doing this might be challenging, but this is the only way for this breathing technique to work. You can do this when you see yourself stressed at work or at home.
2. Alternate Nostril Technique. Hold your left nostril with your left hand and inhale through your right nostril. Then press both your left and right nostrils, hold your breath for a while and then release your left nostril and exhale.
Stay calm throughout the entire process and think nothing but your breathing. Make sure that there are no distractions around you.
3. Lip-Touching Breathing. Fun fact. Did you know that the lips contain parasympathetic nerve fibers? Well, now you do. That’s exactly why this exercise will give you a sense of calm and peace of mind. All you need to do is touch your lips, breathe in, and tell yourself that you are safe.
This is a very simple exercise that you can anytime and anywhere. Do you see yourself anxious as you’re preparing for a presentation at work? Sit down on your desk and touch your lips. Are you too nervous about your job interview? Do this exercise as you’re commuting on your way to your interview. The moment you see your mind going haywire, immediately relax and do this exercise.
4. Full Body Breath Scan. Inhale through your nose, feel how your stomach expands, and count to five. While you do that visualize how your entire body fills with a soothing light that warms your body and then exhale through your lips while also visualizing how you let go of all the tension and stress that you’ve been carrying inside your body. Repeat this every time you feel tense and distressed.
5. Walking Meditation. Straighten your back. Stretch a little. Relax both your arms and shoulders and then start inhaling and exhaling slowly. Breathe in energy, breathe out tension. Start moving forward and synchronize your steps with your breathing. Don’t do it to get somewhere. Do it for the experience of walking.
6. Mindful Eating. This is something that all of us should practice more often. Instead of stuffing our faces mindlessly while scrolling our phones or watching the TV, I challenge each and every one of you to turn your mealtime into meditation. Your texts, work, Instagram posts, and chats will wait for you. Breathe in and focus on what you have on your plate. Let your senses guide you as you chew your food and absorb the smell of each item on your plate. Appreciate the extraordinary combination that the different flavors create. Let both your mind and your body be present.
Instead of merely chewing and swallowing food as you’re watching TV, sit down on the table when you’re taking your meals. Relax and enjoy the meal in front of you. Redirect your senses and focus on the flavor of your meals, and do not hurry to finish everything at once. Aside from helping your mind relax, this will also help you control your eating habits, especially when you’re stressed.
7. Meditative Shower. My favorite one. Take some time to find your center and tune into your senses. For this exercise, you should pick your favorite soap. Let yourself feel the soap onto your skin as you gently lather your body. Let the water cleanse you and help you get rid of everything that weighs you down by visualizing your negative thoughts going down the drain
Stress is a normal part of life. Regardless if you have a full-time job or merely staying at home to take care of your family, you will always feel stressed. Everyone gets stressed once in a while, but this doesn’t mean that you should not do anything about it. On the contrary, you should strive to look for ways to keep stress at bay so you can take care of your mental health.
You can achieve this goal by doing some meditation exercises the moment you see yourself feeling stressed. The more often you do these meditation exercises, the easier it gets and the sooner you can enjoy a stress-free life and healthy mental well-being!