I get it. You’re busy, stressed and freaking out. Your days are just one task after the other and your goal is just to get to bed tonight in one piece and somewhat mildly sane.
You know you need things to change. You know the stress is killing you. You feel tired and out of sorts each day. Exhausted by the weekend, with no real time-out in sight. You are really busy doing lots of important stuff.
Then someone suggests you take time out each day to meditate.
It’s like a bomb has gone off in your mind! What? Take time out to sit and do nothing? That’s gotta be a joke, right? You have no time for that ‘woo-woo’ nonsense. Wearing bright tie-dyed clothes, chanting ‘Om’ while breathing in incense. Really? Who’s crazy idea was that?
You are just not the type. Now way. Not in a million years!
The thing is, what if meditation can help stop the stress from killing you, help you feel more awake and be more in control of your day?
You definitely want and desperately need these benefits, but the thought of meditating seems like the most painful boring chore ever. What would your friends and family think if they knew you were in to something like that? They’d think you’d gone crazy!
What if there was a way, however, to harvest the positive benefits of meditation but without anyone else knowing what you are up to? Curious? Then read on to find out more!
You Don’t Even Need to Sit Cross-legged
Through my years of teaching yoga and meditation, I have come across so many people who really have had their backs up over the thought of meditation. Even though they don’t really know what it means to meditate or they’ve never even tried it before, somehow they just know that meditation isn’t for them.
Although it frustrates me to hear this, I truly understand their thinking. The practice of meditation has such a heavy ‘woo-woo’ stereotype attached to it along with a general misunderstanding of what it is really about.
I don’t blame people for backing off at the mere mention of meditation. However, after experiencing a guided progressive relaxation meditation, under the disguise of ‘Yoga Nidra’ of course, it’s amazing just how many change their minds about meditation!
I mean, who doesn’t want to feel so deeply relaxed, at peace and re-balanced after only 10 to 20 minutes of downtime?
It’s so worth the time investment as you can get on with more in your day and sleep really well at night. To top it off it also helps to boost your immune system, so you can fight those colds and flu’s much better than before.
So, how can you grab all these great benefits without having to admit to anyone that you meditate? Here are come my top 5 tips.
1. Really Listen Closely to Music
Choose a favourite piece of calming classical music, or a chilled out instrumental piece that you enjoy listening to. Plug in your headphones and play it with the sole purpose of doing nothing else but listen to the music.
Don’t worry about stray thoughts. Just let thoughts wander in and out of your mind, but make sure you try to bring your focus back to the music every now and again.
For these 5 or so minutes, really take note of all the sounds you are hearing: the different instruments, changes in tempo, volume and pitch.
2. Pre- and Post-Driving Breathing Exercises
Allow your body to breathe along to the music. To make the most of this time, close your eyes if you can.
All too often you rush out of the front door into your car, click in your seat belt, turn the engine on and drive off.
You are always in a rush to get somewhere.
You start your journey stressed and this only gets worse once you are on the road, sharing it with other drivers who might not share the same good-mannered road-rules as you! By the time you get to where you need to be, you are uptight, and shattered.
Why not try to incorporate taking a few moments before and after you drive to focus on your breath?
Just try taking a few slow inhalations, relaxing your shoulders as you exhale and become aware of any tension that you are holding on to within your body.
Once you get used to taking these breaths before you drive and before you leave your car, it will soon become a habit, and you will drive with less tension and arrive at your destination feeling less stressed.
3. Sip Water
Pour yourself a glass of cool, clean water and allow yourself to take small sips.
With each sip really focus on how the water tastes in your mouth. How it starts off feeling cool and crisp, then warms before you swallow it.
Inhale before you take another sip. Exhale before you swallow the water. Relax the muscles of your face before you exhale.
You can do this anywhere, but if you get the chance, take your water outside and just sit for 5 minutes or so, sipping and breathing. You will feel so much better for breathing in the fresh air and feeling the natural daylight touch your skin.
4. Exercise Your Pelvic Floor!
I bet this wasn’t something that you thought could be associated with meditation!
Seriously though, taking a moment, perhaps in your loo break, to do your Kegel/pelvic floor exercises is actually a great opportunity to calm your thoughts and take time out.
As you breathe in, gently squeeze the muscles and as you breathe out, relax them.
Don’t hold your breath. Just squeeze and relax as you inhale and exhale.
It’s as simple as that.
Repeat 10 – 15 times at each loo break and you will not only feel calmer, but have a well toned pelvic floor in no time!
By writing down your thoughts and emotions you are becoming more deeply aware of them, just as you would be if you sat quietly and focused on them during a meditation session.
I find the best way to journal for meditative purposes is to free-write. That means the I set my timer and then write whatever comes into my mind, without stopping, until the timer rings. I rarely correct my spelling mistakes and sometimes my writing is hard to read as I write so quickly! That doesn’t matter, though.
It’s like off-loading everything from small trivial thoughts to areas of your life that you are having difficulties with. Just pour it out onto the paper and help your mind to cope better with organising it’s thoughts.
One of the reasons I like journaling as a way to meditate is that you can keep track of your thoughts and emotions, and identify areas of your life that may need encouraged to go in a new direction.
Journaling is also considered a very normal, everyday thing to do. You can buy such beautiful notebooks, diaries and journals that make you feel proud to have.
Just Practice Focusing on One Thing at a Time – and Breathe
Remember meditation means that you focus your mind on an object or a thought.
There are so many ways that you can meditate and fit it into your daily routine.
Just remember to relax your shoulders, release any tension in your body, and use your breath to help you relax as you let your mind wander around your point of focus.
It’s as simple and non-woowoo as that!
Originally published on Clarity Junction