Welcome to the beautiful time in our human lives where meditation is valued in all areas and all facets of life! Mindfulness is accepted and meditation rooms exist in some of the greatest office buildings in the United States! Those who have incorporated meditation into their daily lives find this acceptance to be a warm welcome of validation, but did you know that there was a period in time, not to far behind where we are now, when meditation was frowned upon? Scary, isn’t it? Luckily, science is on our side in this new millennium!
We won’t get into the details here, but our favorite tidbit of meditation validation comes from The University of Wisconsin-Madison. They, along with many other amazing researchers, have discovered and confirmed that regular meditation reduces stress, anxiety, worry, anger, chronic pain, and fear. When we regularly exercise the areas of our brain that control anxiety, memories, thinking, and emotion, our brains learn how to process our bodies’ millions of alerts in a correct way! We also become habitual positive thinkers; effectively fighting off our natural worry states!
Just a few minutes of meditation or mindfulness practice a day is all you need!
5 Tips to Make Meditation Easier
1. Get a designated meditation pillow
Remembering to take a moment and sit in a designated space is difficult, isn’t it? That’s why we encourage you to take your meditation on the go! By designating a pillow specifically for meditation, you’re doing two great things.
First, you’re allowing yourself to be comfortable and relax anywhere. Whether you lie down or sit during your meditation, the pillow gives you the freedom to meditate how you want and where you want.
Second, when you’re feeling fantastic after your meditation, your pillow is always with you in that state of post-meditation bliss. After a few meditation sessions with that pillow, it becomes your happiness anchor. When you see your meditation pillow, you’ll likely be flooded with the possibility of feeling good emotions; you’ll be more inclined to meditate right then with that pillow!
2. Use some of these great meditation apps
These apps all come with wonderful guided meditations to help you meditate easier! All you have to do is close your eyes and listen!
- Happify, free. iPhone | Android. This app offers tracks to help you with any life scenario! Want to gain the secret to success at work? Maybe you want to specifically cope with stress? Perhaps you’re burned out at work? Want to build a stronger marriage? There are guided meditations and games to make any area of your life better!
- Insight Timer, free. iPhone | Android. This app offers a community of meditators along with 800+ guided meditations from meditation and spiritual leaders! It also offers a great meditation timer, complete with all of your favorite bells, chimes, and gongs!
3. Put your phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode
Whether you use your phone for meditation or you, like me, love to be by your phone at all times, putting your phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode is very beneficial for meditation.
This instantly frees us from the outside world and allows us to focus on us and our inner world. That simple tap of a button turns of notifications and vibrations, keeping us free to focus only on the distractions of our selves. Did we mention how annoying it is to be suddenly jolted back into reality by the very loud sound of your text tone?
4. Use fun visualizations to move thoughts out of your mind
Do you have to clear your mind when you meditate? NO! If it were that easy to clear our minds, we wouldn’t need meditation. Meditation is the practice of learning how to let go, not letting go. So, next time you’re cozied up on your meditation pillow and the heated conversation with an enemy co-worker floats into your mind, try this.
Think of yourself standing at a train track where trains regularly chug by. Imagine that if you hopped onto that train, it would carry you far, far, far away from where you got on. Now, think about if you put something onto that train; it, too, would get carried far, far, far away from you never to be seen by you again. Now that you have that visual or idea, use it in your next meditation! When the thought of your co-worker pops into your mind during meditation, imagine yourself putting it onto that train. Watch that thought go far, far, far away from you, never to bother you again. (You could also use a balloon visualization, or whatever appeals to you!)
That is the power of meditation. You have just accepted that you had that thought, but you aren’t going to let it control or power you, in this moment.
5. Meditate anywhere
Only have a few minutes to meditate? Does 5 minutes of meditation make you cringe? No worries! You can literally meditate anywhere (even in the shower) by closing your eyes and simply focusing on your nose. Focus on how it feels to inhale. Focus on how it feels to exhale. Mentally label the feelings “inhale” and “exhale”. Does a thought pop up? No worries! Hook it onto the thought train from tip 4 and focus on your nose again! That’s it!
Copyright 2016 Jennifer “Aurora Moone” McDonald / All Rights Reserved.