I don't think you can read or listen to someone in the wellness space without hearing that we should all be meditating all the time. I have written about the benefits of calming down our nervous system with the help of meditation before. However, I don't think you will actually try meditation for yourself until you change what you think it means.
Meditation doesn't mean you have to sit on a pillow hand made by Tibetan monks with your crystals and your singing bowls. That can be meditation, if you choose it to be. However, meditation can also be a moment to take a deep breath in the middle of a busy day. Meditation simply means being present in the moment. It focuses on a deep breath to bring your attention inwards, rather than running around with an endless to do list completely stressed out.
Have you heard that saying "if you don't have 5 minutes to meditate, you need to meditate for 30 minutes". I don't like it. We are all so busy with our lives. Saying that we need to take a huge chunk out of our already fully planned days to add sitting around with nothing is way too much to ask from anyone! If anything, it definitely makes us not do it, and we may even add another part of our lives to the list of things we feel guilty about. I like to think of meditation as being in the moment and appreciating the here and now, without the worry of yesterday or tomorrow.
Today I want to share some new ways ideas of meditating, so you can maybe also make these part of your life:
1. Be in the moment when doing stupid every day things
Sometimes doing the laundry, driving the kids to school, or preparing dinner can seem like endless time and energy suckers. What about instead you use these moments to recharge yourself by focusing on the task and focusing on your breath? When stopping at a red light, use this moment to take a deep breath. When chopping your ingredients, use the rhythm of cutting as your help to focus on the here and now (little bonus: less knife cuts on your fingers! :-)). You get the idea. Use these mundane things you have to do as a time to breathe and not to run through you endless to do list.
2. Watch children or pets play
Children and pets have the most amazing ability to enjoy the here and now without worrying, ever. They are just pure joy, and I am lucky enough to have Baby Zand and puppy Haigo at home. I just love watching Baby Zand playing from afar. Those moments when she doesn't see me watching how she lovingly invites all her stuffed animals to sit at the table, and she presents them a delicious feast, which she proceeds to snap with her old style toy phone - because clearly that's what mama always does :-). Those moments bring me into the here and now, and they are pure meditation.
3. Moving mediation
Use movement to bring you into the present. Sometimes when you talk to people, who absolutely love to run, they will tell you that running is their meditation. Their way of getting out of their head and into their body. Any kind of movement, even taking your dog for a walk or strolling around your neighborhood can be moving mediation. Don't use the time you spend exercising watching your favorite TV show or catching up on news. Not only will you not listen to your body when exercising, but your are also losing an important opportunity to turn inwards. I think sometimes we are just worried that we get so bored as soon as it gets quiet. Use that time to just focus on breath, and see what happens. Maybe you have a big aha moment while doing burpees or holding your downward dog :-)
4. Nature sounds
Rather than using a guided meditation to tell you exactly what to do (which I do sometimes love), it can be nice to just listen to nature and drift far away. Nature Melody app is free, and by far my favorite way to get sounds of "crackling fire", "ocean relaxing surf", and "soothing rain". When I listen to them, I usually dream myself to another place where I felt peaceful and calm. For example with the ocean sounds I transport myself to my favorite beach in New Zealand, where I just completely relax with nature. I stay in the moment for 30 seconds, sometimes 5 minutes, and I come out deeply relaxed. Try this! It's the easiest and cheapest way to take a vacation.
5. Binaural beats
Kind of like a hypnosis to bring you into the mediation space, these beats are super relaxing. There is a free podcast called "Sleep with Silk" that offers you hours of binaural beats. Binaural beats are two different kinds of sound frequencies send to each ear via headphones. The brain will then perceive the difference. So for example the left ear gets a frequency of 200 Hz. The right ear gets a frequency of 205 Hz. The brain then hears a new frequency - the difference between the two, so 5 Hz. Your brain will then follow along and create brain waves at 5 Hz. This way you can get yourself into deep relaxing states for example to sleep better. Check out this super helpful chart from Binaural Beats Meditation about brain waves:
6. Guided meditation
Guided meditations can be useful when you want to mediate, but don't know how and where to start. Plus it's great for everyone who has a monkey brain like me.
I have written about this app "Breathe" before, and it's still my favorite one. I am not a fan of harsh sounding voices when doing guided meditations or people who have a strong accent. It really makes me think about their voice, rather than being in my own moment. In this app there are purchases you can make, but you really don't have to. So many mediations are free, and they range from a minute to 10 minutes. I personally like Jamie's voice better, but that is completely up to you. Most meditation feature both Jamie's and Grecco's voice. My favorite meditations here currently are "Mindful breathing (1 minute!)", "Gratitude (5 minutes)", and "Relax, Ground, and Clear (7 minutes)".
I hope these tools help bring some calm and quiet to your every day life.