“The mind is everything. What you think you become.” - Buddha
Stress. Many of us are dealing with an overwhelming amount of stress these days. With so much uncertainty from the Coronavirus, it’s easy for our minds to wander and put us in a bad state of mind. Thankfully, through simple meditation practices, we can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and pain. We invite you to try these helpful meditation practices to center your mind and day. It’s worth a try.
Focus on Today, Not Tomorrow
Are you worried about what tomorrow may bring? Don’t stress and just focus on today. Diana Winston, Director of Mindfulness Education at the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center says, “Most of the time, our minds are locked in the past and future. Mindfulness puts you in the moment. Most people are OK in the here and now. If you can put yourself in the present, you can handle difficult thinking.” Practicing mindfulness meditation has been proven to mitigate stress, insomnia, and depression, as a way to handle anxiety. Many people who try meditation for the first time can get frustrated and give up too quickly. Like anything else you do in life, practice makes perfect. We are used to our minds throwing a million things at us throughout the day, so stopping your thoughts can be difficult at first but with more practice the easier it will become, and the better you will feel. Take a breath and try these simple steps to help you master mindful meditation.
7 Ways to Strengthen Your Mind Through Meditation
- Clear Your Mind - We know that sounds hard, but it’s important to clear your mind. Be in the moment of staying calm and relaxed. If a negative thought or task enters your mind, push it out, and bring yourself back in control. Having a soothing sound like waves crashing can help with relaxation.
- Be Consistent - Be sure to have a dedicated time and place with no distractions where you can meditate each day. Make it comfortable and motivating to help you complete and stay consistent. While five minutes a day can help, sitting an hour or more each day can have amazing benefits.
- Don’t Expect Too Much - It won’t be perfect every time. Some days will be good and other days will be bad. Sometimes your mind may be running a mile a minute and other times you will be completely in the zone and feel like you could meditate for hours. Both are fine. As long as you stay aware and are in control, keep at it.
- Be Awake - You are at your best when you are awake, therefore, avoid meditating when you are tired and your brain is not fully present. If you’re tired, take a nap and try it again after you wake up.
- Meditate When Hungry - You can feel tired and sluggish after eating a big meal. It is better to meditate on an empty stomach when you don’t have food digesting in your tummy. You will be more alert and able to concentrate. However, try not to meditate when your stomach is growling either as that can also be a big distraction.
- Diminish Interruptions - Take control of your time. Turn off your phone and let everyone know that you need an hour to yourself with no distractions.
- Meditate with Friends - Every now and then try meditating in a group. It’s a different experience that will allow you to learn from one another.
Whether you’re a pro at meditation or trying it for the first time, we hope these practices will help you find peace during these difficult times. Meditation is one of the best ways to relieve stress and center your mind. We encourage you to start your day with at least five minutes of meditation for yourself and then progress from there however you feel comfortable.