You don’t have to be surrounded by candles while listening to chanting monks to make use of a little meditation!
In fact, I rarely take the time to make my space anything more than comfortable.
We seem to have this Instagram image in our minds that we need to sit crosslegged on the beach with our eyes closed in order to achieve the perfect calm. Im sorry, but I would feel ridiculously self conscious and like a bit of a fraud.
If this is your thing….awesome, good on you, keep going.
You may take your practise to a quiet spot, you may like to sit in nature or you may gather with like minded friends (if you have some of those, please give them a shout out!) But if you are at all like me, then you may not have the headspace for all of the fan fare and frankly, I want you to practise more than just every so often. So lets make it simple.
How much time have you got?
If it is one minute or one hour, use it wisely.
The more we practise, the quicker we can change our brain waves from the stressed out kind, to the Calm AF kind. It is just like a muscle, use it a lot and it is toned and ready to go, use it occasionally and it is tricky to get started, it feels wobbly and it takes longer to get the rhythm.
I have one minute.
You are at the traffic lights, you are late and you may have forgotten something, but you can not figure out what it is. Your body is in survival mode. Your brain is not necessarily at its best, you keep re thinking the same thoughts and you feel a little sick.
Diaphragmatic breathing actually stimulates the vagus nerve and helps us to reset the stress response. It helps to reduce your heart rate and begins to reset that panic feeling. So it stands to reason that taking some long deep breaths will get you started.
Challenge each breath to go deeper than the last, hold for a few seconds and then control the breath out. I like box breathing because it is so simple. Those of you who know me, know that I can be lazy and want everything to be easy or I will not do it. Breathe in for the count of 4, hold for 4, out for 4 and hold for 4. Repeat. (Yes, I have done this in a supermarket line, without people noticing- I seem to feel impatient in lines these days!)
Longer than a minute?
On certain days, I schedule this time in, sometimes up to 45-60 minutes.
In these cases, I can struggle to sit in silence, but I have gotten better. I began with listening to some of the tracks on a free app. My favourite is Insight Timer, but there is also Headspace, Calm, Omvana…. there are likely hundreds! Gabby Bernstein also has a great resource blog that you can check out HERE.
You could start with a simple body scan or gratitude track and see what feels right for you!
Every one is different, every day is different. If you are feeling anxious, start with an anxiety relief track, having trouble going to sleep, try a sleeping track. There is a whole world of choice out there, simply decide on how you want to feel.
What I noticed, the more I practised!
At first, I was doing this to tick an item off the list.
“I know that this is good for my mind, I should be doing it.”
THEN, I fell in love with the way that it made me feel.
After I opened my eyes, I felt sharper, more focused and ready to go. I always knew that the stress response was not serving me, but I was a little addicted to it if I am really honest. That is a story for another day!
Let me know how you go and if you would like to chat about this a little more, please book a free chat on the link below.