I’m sure you’ve heard about the benefits of meditation and how it’s such a wonderful thing. Meditating regularly has been shown to decrease stress, slow down a racing mind, improves your memory, gives you a feeling of inner calm, improves sleep and lowers stress hormones, just to name a few benefits.
Many people don’t meditate because they feel that it’s impossible to stop thinking. When you meditate you don’t stop thinking, you slow it down. You completely focus (still thinking) on one thing, instead of a bunch of different things back to back.
There are different types of meditations. But I wanted to teach you a simple, basic mediation to get started.
It does take practice, but the more often you meditate, the easier it gets. I recommend practicing it at night when you’re in bed. Then whenever you have time alone, it’s good to practice.
Step 1: Find a comfortable place where you can physically relax. It could be laying down on your bed or sitting in a chair.
Step 2: Close your eyes to block any visual distractions.
Step3: Take a long deep breath in through your nose and hold for one second.
Step 4: Slowly release your breath through your mouth.
Step 5: Continue to take a few deep breaths until you physically feel more calm.
Now that you’re physically more calm, every time you exhale, relax your muscles. Relax your facial muscles, relax your shoulders, arms, relax your back and hips, all the way down to your toes.
If thoughts enter your mind it’s ok, let the thoughts float out and bring your attention back to your body. Notice the way your chest and belly rise and sink as you inhale and exhale. Use your body to keep your attention on NOW, not what happened earlier or what may or may not happen later. Try to do this for as long as you’re able to.
That’s it! This is a basic Meditation technique. You can do this for 3 minutes of 30 minutes. The whole point is to bring your thoughts to your body. We can’t think two thoughts at the same exact time. Therefore as you’re thinking about breathing and relaxing your body, there’s no room for other thoughts.
At first your mind might wonder and thats ok. As I said, with practice it gets easier and easier.
About the author.
Liza J Alvarado is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice. She serves Adolescents, Adults, and the Spanish speaking individuals in the Lehigh Valley, PA area.