Calming the mind and bringing balance to the body is crucial to maintaining your health. There are many activities you can do throughout the week to help ease the mind.
Meditation is one great practice that relaxes your mind from daily stresses. Through relaxing, your body can decrease metabolism, lower blood pressure, and improve heart rate, breathing, and brain waves.
When a person is meditating the part of their brain that controls metabolism and heart rate increase in activity. Long-term mediation has even been shown to produce long-lasting changes in brain activity in areas involved in attention, working memory, learning, and conscious perception.
Meditation can be practiced by anyone, but it is a skill that takes time to develop. As a beginner, it can take time to get your mind into the relaxed state, but with practice, you can hit that relaxed state quicker.
There are different types of meditations you can do, finding the one that helps you relax is as great as finding the right hairdresser. When one method of meditation isn’t helping you relax, don’t give up, try another approach.
Meditation should make you relax, but what does that feel like? When meditation is practiced correctly, you will be okay with stillness, you become less self-conscious, time won’t matter, you have no judgments about yourself, and you are thinking in the present. Your body releases tension and stress and can relax.
Any practice that evokes relaxation- whether yoga, meditation, prayer, or even deep breathing- can enhance your daily life. The key is to find a method that works for you and commit to a consistent daily practice.
If you are like me, sitting still and calming your mind isn’t the easiest. But I have learned that 5 minutes or fewer meditation practices are perfect for helping me come back to the present and relax.
Here are 5 mind-calming meditations you can practice anywhere.
Morning Intention Meditation
A morning intention meditation can look different for everyone. For some, it might be spending time repeating affirmations. For others, it could be writing gratitudes of the day, and for some, it might be reading their Bible or praying.
Intentional meditation is meant to help you consciously think about your day and how you want to live it- emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. You have the freedom and power within you to become whoever you want to be. Create a morning intention meditation that helps you get there.
Write your own daily intentions every morning:
- Affirm what you want to truly happen in your life. Be sure to write believable affirmations. (Example: Instead of saying, “I will lose 5 pounds.” Say, “I choose to eat nutritious foods that are healthy for my body. I am healthy.”)
- Write as if it is happening today.
- Focus on the feeling as you write out these intentions.
- Check for words “try” and “but.” Cross them out when you find them.
- Now read through your positive intentions for the day.
Breathing Meditation to Cultivate Mindfulness
The breathing meditation practice is a great way to reduce stress, anxiety, and negative emotions. Calm your mind and sharpen your concentration skills.
- Set a timer so that you can focus on your breathing and not worry about the time. If you are just starting out, practice for a minute, and increase your time as you practice more.
- Find a relaxed, comfortable position. You can be sitting or lying down. If you are sitting, sit upright with your hands resting on your legs. If you are lying down, place your hands at your side.
- Keep your eyes closed if it helps you to maintain your focus. If you prefer the eyes open, that is okay too.
- Notice and relax your body. Relax any area of your body that is tense or tight.
- Tune into your breath. Feel the flow of your breath going in and out. Don’t try to change your breathing, be natural. Notice where you feel your breath.
- Did your mind start wandering? It’s okay. Say something in your head, like “breathe” or “wandering,” and gently redirect your attention to your breathing.
- As your time is coming to an end, check back in with your body. Notice your whole body. Let yourself relax even more deeply. Then open your eyes and calmly go back to your day.
Loving-kindness meditation is a great way to strengthen feelings of kindness and connection with your loved ones.
- Sit in a relaxed position with your back straight. Relax your body.
- Close your eyes and keep them closed throughout the whole meditation.
- Inhale and exhale.
- Now, think of a person who loves you very much. It could be someone from the past or present.
- Imagine that person standing on your right side, sending you their love.
- Feel the warm wishes this person would send you.
- Now, think of that same person or a new person and imagine them standing on your left side, sending you wellness wishes.
- Feel their kindness towards you.
- Now, picture you are surrounded by all the people who love you and have loved you.
- Bask in their warm wishes of love and kindness.
- As feelings of warmth and love surround you, bask it in.
- End the meditation with a deep breath in and a deep breath out.
- Keep breathing and relishing the feelings of love until you are ready to open your eyes.
Not everyone is built to relax, sitting in their thoughts. Movement meditation is an active form of meditation where movement guides you. It is good for people who find peace in action and prefer to let their minds wander.
Movement meditation can consist of yoga, stretching, walking, gardening, and other gentle movements. Through any form of movement meditation you pick, there are still practical steps you can follow:
- As you move in, your meditation focus on your breathing and how your body is feeling.
- Be aware of your posture and of your surroundings.
- Pay attention to what your body is doing and how it feels. This step is to help you release thoughts in your head.
- But as your practice, remember your movements should be gentle and slow.
Meditation for Sleep
Sleep doesn’t always come easy. Overcome insomnia and get to sleep naturally with these meditations for sleep.
Try doing this bedtime routine before trying to sleep.
- Check your calendar for tomorrow and set your alarm accordingly. This will ensure you don’t start your morning in a rush. Be sure to set time aside for your morning intention meditation.
- Do your night routine- wash your face, brush your teeth, delete unnecessary emails in your inbox.
- Turn off or silent electronics.
- Dim lights in your house.
- Put on soft, gentle music. You can use a meditation playlist or instrumental. Pick music that is soothing and relaxing.
- Stretch your body. Focus on the areas that are tight or tense. Start with your head and work the stretches down to your toes.
- Then, sit or lie down.
- Take deep natural breaths. Notice your breath as your inhale and exhale.
- Inhale positive thoughts and exhale negative thoughts.
- Notice how the tension in your body is releasing more and more.
- Focus your thoughts on what you are grateful for. Soak in the feelings of warmth and gratitude.
- Return your focus to your breathing. Inhale and exhale for a few more breaths.
- When you are ready, slowly open your eyes, stand, and crawl into bed.
No matter which form of meditation you practice, try it for a week before moving on a new one. Let your mind and body get used to the practice to see the therapeutic benefits meditation offers in calming the mind and balancing the body.
And through it, all remember to just breathe.