If you’ve been feeling a little unfocused or passive lately, you’re definitely not alone! With almost a year in quarantine, we’ve all been trying to find the best in our day to day. Meditation is the perfect way to reinforce your intentions.
Haven’t tried mediation before? You’ll love the benefits: a calm and clear mind, self-awareness, reducing stress, reducing negativity just to name a few. Here are some types of meditations to explore:
Transcendental: repeating a personal mantra over and over again
- Give yourself a good chunk of time- this might be in place of you scrolling through social media before work/school, or your nightly The Office binge (it only takes you 1 episode’s time!)
- Find a comfortable chair to sit in, place your feet flat on the ground and your hand comfortably on your lap. Start taking some deep breaths and relaxing your body. Focus on each body part starting from your head to your toes and relax each one.
- Keep your mantra in mind. This can be anything from a goal you want to achieve (use the present tense) or a saying you want to instill in your mind.
- After about 20 minutes start to slowly move your extremities and then the rest of your body. Ease into it! Take a few more minutes to come back to earth.
Movement: Slowly but surely moving the body to create focus and depth of mind
- This can be done in any form of movement- a commonly know example is Tai Chi
- The purpose of this is to connect with your body while leaving the human conceptual reality, only focusing on the sensations of your body rather than the world around you.
- This begins in a seated position with a few minutes of deep breathing and focus. Slowly stand up and begin your movement. Work your way through your body by focusing on each individual body part for a couple of seconds, coming in tune with each part.
- Move slowly and with purpose in a predetermined space. This can be a walk, a stretch, or any other forms of movement that you prefer as long as they enable you to focus.
- This is achieved by only focusing on the specific movements your body makes. Your focus should be on the sensation each ligament, muscle, fibre makes while you move. You should also focus on the immediate external sensations: the wind on your skin, the ground on your feet, etc.
Loving Kindness: Receiving and giving affirmations
- In a seated position with your feet flat on the floor and your hands rested in a comfortable position, relax and breathe.
- Envision yourself with complete inner peace and happiness. “Imagine feeling perfect love for yourself, thanking yourself for all that you are, knowing that you are just right—just as you are” (verywellmind.com)
- Repeat affirmations. These can be phrases along the lines of:
- “May I be healthy...”
- “May I be happy…”
- “May I be safe...”
- “May I find success…”
- Take in the feelings you are experiencing in these moments, let them sink in. You can continue your affirmations for loved ones, people in need, etc.
Focused: Sensory experience to create mindfulness over thought
- Find a couple of quiet minutes in a comfortable space. Sitting upright (legs crossed or in a chair for example). Use deep belly breaths to relax your body.
- The goal is to focus your mind on the experience, without forcing thoughts or observations. Let your mind feel without making it do so. Some people use objects such as mala beads, others use their breath as the focus. Use the sensations to guide your experience.
- Keep breathing, keep a rhythm. Don’t worry too much about failure or let random thoughts stress you out, focus on the sensation and let thoughts drift.
Mindfulness: Focusing on the now (can also use apps such as Headspace or Calm)
- Designate a chunk of time, anywhere from 10-60 minutes.
- In a seated upright position (legs crossed, in a chair, etc) with your arms at your sides and hand placed comfortably. Relax by focusing on your breath, eventually dropping your chin in full relaxation.
- You can use apps such as Headspace or Calm to guide you, there are also many videos/recordings available.
- Focus on sensations and movements, thoughts may enter your mind but should not be distracting. Your goal is to create the most meaning in every moment, movement, feeling, decision, impulse. If you are urged to make a movement, focus on what you are doing in between start and finish.