This is a guest post from Lisa-Jane Redskin, a freelance writer from England who writes about the home, personal finances, and relaxation.
After a stressful day, dashing everywhere and trying to fit everything in, a great way to relax and de-stress is through meditation. Meditation is a calming mental exercise which can ease anxiety, tension and stress. Some have also found it helpful with anger management issues, so is has a wide range of purposes. It can induce mental tranquility and physically calm the body by emptying the mind of unwanted thoughts, problems and irritations.
Apart from relieving stress, meditation is said to be able to lower blood pressure and even relieve pain. Many people use it to ease a headache and some fans also say it improves focus and concentration even improving your efficiency. Yes it is a win-win practice without any downside or side effects.
There are different types of meditation but all aim at relaxing the mind. One of the most common forms is transcendental meditation, TM which involves repeating a word, phrase or sound, called a mantra, over and over again. It is totally effortless and as a result makes the mind quieter and more settled. Anything that requires effort will keep the mind busy which is opposite of the state meditation aims to achieve.
Your DIY Guide to Meditation
It’s easy to teach yourself to meditate if you haven’t got the time to go to a class or there isn't one nearby for you to attend. You can spend as little as 15 to 20 minutes a day meditating to reap its relaxing benefits but some people find it so rewarding they do it for up to an hour a night! As you practice more regularly your random thoughts diminish and the meditative state becomes easier to maintain.
Firstly choose a quiet place where you won’t be distracted or disturbed. In front of the television is a no-no and playing music can also be distracting; total silence is best. So switch of your mobile phone – people can live without contacting you for 20 minutes to half an hour. Sit in an alert but relaxed body position either in a comfy chair or in the classic meditation position, crossed legged on the floor, in the lotus position if you find that comfortable.
Keep your head upright and close your eyes to avoid any visual distraction and it also aids concentration. Try to stay as still as possible, while breathing deeply, slowly and rhythmically through your nose. Focus on something like your breath or imagine something like a candle and start repeating, either a word or phrase over and over again.
If you find your mind starting to wander simply note the fact and bring your thoughts back to your meditation focusing on either the image, your breathing or the mantra. To help them feel relaxed even more and feel calm some followers of meditation like to light a candle or even a joss stick.
Other Types of Meditation
There are other types of meditation including what’s called mindfulness meditation which focuses on the present moment by moving your concentration through the length of your body from the tips of the toes to the top of the head. The mental body scan is usually done while lying down with your arms stretched out down in front of you and the palms facing the ceiling.
Breath meditation is another type when you focus on breathing, inhaling and exhaling steadily. Simply breathe deeply and slowly through the nose. Observe the breath as it flows in and out mentally feeling your stomach failing and rising.
Afterwards many people say they feel incredibly calm and relaxed and are less likely to lose their temper or get worked up about trivialities. Many people allocate a set time everyday to practice meditation for example as soon as they arrive home from work or just before going to bed at night.
Everyone needs some ‘me’ time, it can make you a nicer, gentler and calmer mother, colleague or partner. You will feel calm just as when you’ve sorted out the day's work. So do take the time out of you busy life to meditate it’s not being selfish, so don’t feel guilty.