Meditation doesn't have to be 20 minutes of doing this. Try these easy tips! | Image: Cover Media
Stars such as Russell Brand and Gwyneth Paltrow have waxed lyrical about the benefits of meditation for months, and it looks like this is one Hollywood trend which is going to trickle down to us mere mortals. As well as providing some usually much-needed 'me' time, meditation has a whole host of other benefits. It helps people cope with stress, anxiety and sharpens the minds – but that's not all. There are also a host of physical benefits, including lowered blood pressure, a decrease in pain caused by tension and boosted energy levels and immune system.
That all sounds great, but with lives which are already crammed with work, home and social commitments, how do you make time to meditate? Here are some useful tips.
TIP #1. Don’t be too ambitious
Most people think that meditation means at least 20 minutes sitting with legs crossed, fingers on knees and chanting 'om'. That might be how it is in the movies, but it's the fastest way to break your good intentions. If you try to shoehorn a lengthy meditation period into your working day, you're likely to fail quickly. And once you've skipped one session it becomes increasingly easy to forget about your meditation plan. It's much better to promise yourself you'll do three minutes a day and actually stick to it. Once you have a routine worked out, you'll probably find you want to add more minutes on anyway.
TIP #2. Make it a routine
This should be easy – after all, most of us do things in a set way each day. You'll find it easiest to stick to meditation sessions if you do them at the same time each day and in the same place. Make it somewhere cosy – perhaps light a candle or have some incense burning. A mantra can help too, as it's another way of adding some routine.
TIP #3. Count your inhales and exhales
Yes you can meditate in a room in your house, but it doesn't work for everyone. If you find the pressure to concentrate too much, you might find exercise is the key. Meditation is all about centring yourself and for some, the best time to cast the day aside and think is when they are running or having a walk. Vanessa Loder told Mind Body Green that concentrating on your breath can help here, counting your inhales and exhales and using that as a way of being mindful.
TIP #4. Try the ‘Loop of Awareness’ with a buddy
Mindfulness expert Katie Hendricks recommends an exercise called a Loop of Awareness, and you need a friend, partner or your child to do this one. Get the person to sit down facing you and concentrate on your breathing while you look at them, counting to three. Then do the same, but concentrating on the rise and fall of your partner's chest. Keep this up for a few minutes, remembering to think about your surroundings, such as your chair or anything else you touch.
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