Ever have one of those days where you feel like you are in a constant scramble to get something finished? Every day? Me too (lately, anyway)!
I would love to be one of those people who gracefully handles busyness–however, I’m anything but. I get mixed up, frustrated, and generally just look and feel like a mess. There comes a point where you’ve got to figure out someway to release all the tension and buildup that days of this can cause.
So, lately I’ve been having a go at meditation. Honestly, I’ve never thought it would be something I would be able to do. I overthink everything I do, and tend to get bored and distracted quickly. However, once I accepted that this is all part of the evolution of a meditation practice, I became a lot more receptive to the idea. Here are a couple of the dos and don’ts to get you started:
Sit in a comfortable position.
Whether that means in a chair, on a cushion on the floor, or seated against a wall. Being uncomfortable or in pain is distracting. Don’t worry about being the “perfect” cross-legged image of meditation. The point is finding what works for you.
Concentrate on a word or count your breaths
It’s hard to stay focussed at first. Coming back to the same word or counting your breath gives you something to keep your focus centered. When your mind drifts off, you have something to immediately get you back on track.
Put on relaxed music–if you want to
As I said, I get bored easily. Having low music makes me feel more at ease and settled into the practice. Without it, I’m distracted by every subtle noise: the heavy feet in the apartment above, the clank of the radiator when the heat kicks in, slamming doors in the hallway (yes, my building is old and the walls are quite thin).
Get frustrated or give up
Let thoughts come and go in your head and don’t get made with yourself–just don’t follow them too far. The more you are trying not to think, the more you will think about it. Just accept that this is a normal part of the process that most people deal with. It’ll come with time.
Think about what you will do after
While it’s OK to let thoughts come and go, try to avoid thinking about what you have to do later at all. This completely throws off the relaxation aspect and probably just serves to add anxiety (“why am I doing nothing when I could be working on something else!”). The point is that you only need to spend a few minutes for the results to be worthwhile. Your brain will thank you for it (and, hopefully will reward you with higher productivity).
Do it once and then never again
Real results come from consistent practice. While it’s a great way to relieve tension, you will find the effectiveness only goes up as you keep trying.
Force yourself to stay in one position
If your back hurts, take a few seconds to move. Better to be comfortable than to force it.
Mediation comes with lots of benefits: better focus and less anxiety, better memory and more grey matter. Here are a couple of links to check out:
Have you tried meditation? Seen any improvements/results?