One incredible lesson this pandemic has taught me is the importance of slowing down. In our present day society we seem to always want more, and we want it faster! It almost seems like success and progress are driving many of us no matter what the price is to our physical and mental health. Relaxation and appreciation for WHAT IS, tends to be left at the bottom of our list.
More than ever, I find myself setting aside time to meditate, especially when I feel like I ‘don’t have time’. I would love to share with you the technique that I have been using and have found to be very effective. This is also the method that I frequently teach my patients to utilize daily. I have adapted it from the well researched “Relaxation Response” developed by Herbert Benson, M.D.
How to set up for meditation:
- A quiet environment- Ideally free from distractions and loud noises
- A Focused thought- To help keep your mind from wandering, you can focus on a constant stimulus like a sound, or a word or a phrase repeated silently or aloud or staring at an object. This repetition and focus will help to break up the train of distracting thoughts. I also find focusing on my breath very effective .
- Let it Happen- A passive attitude is key! When distracting thoughts occur- let them, this is normal. Do not worry about how well you are doing or if you are doing it correctly! You are! Let the thought pass and then redirect your focus onto your breath or a choosen word or sound.
- Get comfy!- Let your body be relaxed, no tension in your muscles. You can sit crossed legged or upright in a chair. If you are laying down, there is a tendency to fall asleep, especially in beginners.
Beginners Meditation Practice:
- Sit quietly in a comfortable position free of distractions if possible
- Close your eyes
- Deeply relax all your muscles, beginning at your feet and progressing unto your face. Keep them relaxed
- Breath through you nose. Become aware of your breathing. As you breathe out, say the word, “one’ silently to yourself. For example, breath IN…OUT, “say ONE”; IN…OUT “ say ONE’; etc. Breathe easily and naturally.
- Continue for 10-20 mins. Do not use your phone as an alarm, this is too startling for now relaxed mind! You can peek at your watch if need be to check the time.
- When you finish sit quietly for a few minutes with eyes closed and then eyes open.
- Do not worry about whether or not you are successful in achieving relaxation. When distracting thoughts occur, do not dwell on them, let it be and move your focus back to repeating “ONE”
- Repeat once or twice daily
- Do not meditate within 2 hours of eating if possible, studies have found that the digestive processes seem to interfere with eliciting the relaxation response.
A few benefits of daily meditation or relaxation sessions include- decreased blood pressure, improved clarity of mind, increased efficiency decreased episodes of insomnia, increased levels of good feeling hormones circulating in the blood stream, increased feeling of connection to self and others and elevated levels of happiness.
My hope is that this simple practice outline will inspire you to give it a try. I am sure that if you take the time to reconnect with your inner being, to breathe deeply, re-center your thoughts from a place of alignment and feel a deep rooted sense of appreciation for what is, you will feel such a positive shift in your daily life, that you will look forward to these sessions!
Remember it is not complicated and you can’t ‘get it wrong’. I would love to hear your feedback so drop me a comment and let’s get the conversation going. I am here rooting for you and if you have any questions please reach out.