another week of June has gone by, another little completed challenge in the books. After waking up at 6 am during the first week of June (see post here) I tried to meditate every day during the second week of the month.
To begin with I always thought meditating was a bit weird (for lack of a more elegant description) as I didn’t really understand how it worked. After reading up on the topic a little I am still by NO MEANS a specialist or anything but I start to see why people like to do it. Bottom line is, it has a ton of good effects (feeling happy and focused, decreasing your blood pressure or getting to know your mind to name a few. I am aware that the last one seems strange but WOW you’ll learn so much about how your mind and brain work). If you’re into finding out more for doing it yourself, keep reading this introductory ‘How to meditate for beginners’.
How to get started
What to bring: I’d recommend you meditate at home first, as you still need to get used to it. Obviously you can do it anywhere you can sit down on a chair or on the floor, with your hands rested on your knees, but I liked to do it at home, wearing cozy clothes.
When to do it: I tried to always sit down around the same time every day, which was in the morning after waking up, obviously what fits your schedule best, will be the best option. However, I’d recommend to keep it consistent so you really have the feeling of having formed a new habit.
What to do: Well here’s where things get interesting, I tried to compile different methods of meditation in own week, you’ll find the plan below in case you want to replicate it. If you’re totally into day 1’s program, perfect, let’s keep that up. I like to vary the exercises from day to day but that is obviously optional. So let’s get stared forreal now.
Day 1 – Breathing
Let’s start with something easy, shall we? I’m not gonna lie, it was weird when I did it for the first time….BUT it will get better, trust me.
What to do: To get used to the experience of being in the present moment, begin by sitting for five minutes, close your eyes. Take deep breaths, rather than short, shallow breaths from your chest. Continue until you feel calm. Let your thoughts come and go, without trying to hold on to them or follow after them.
What I thought afterwards: Wow, that was quick, I could have keep going on for longer. So for the next day I told myself to put the timer to 8min (adventurous, right?).
Day 2 – Mantra Meditation
What to do: Choose a calming word or phrase. Repeat it over and over to yourself silently to prevent distracting thoughts from entering.
What I thought afterwards: 8min went super fast like on the day before, it’s crazy how time flies once you close your eyes.
Day 3 – Mindful Meditation
What to do: Take a break and make yourself acutely aware of your surroundings. Take deep breaths and feel your lungs swell. Allow yourself to think about your feelings, but do so without judgment.
What I thought afterwards: Loved that one too, it hit me how much more you listen to your surrounding’s noises if you’re eyes are closed.
Day 4 – Safe Space Visualization
What to do: Think of a place that makes you feel safe. It can either be a place you’ve visited before, a place you’ve seen but never been to, or a place that exists only in your imagination.
Close your eyes, and start taking deeper and deeper breaths. Picture yourself in that safe space, look around you, and visualize your surroundings. How the sky looks like, how the air smells or what you feel. Build every detail in your mind. Walk around your safe space until you have explored as much of it as you want to. Continue walking until you find your perfect place—the place that makes you feel most at peace. Visualize yourself sitting here, in this place, and begin to breathe. When you’re ready to leave your safe space, slowly open your eyes and come back into the room. Hold onto those feelings of peace and safety, and know that you can revisit them whenever you need to.
What I thought afterwards: I found that one to be rather hard as it requests you to think a lot about a certain space. I guess I’ll have to do it more often in order to get better at it.
Day 5 – Concentrate On a Simple Visual Object
What to do: In a similar way to using a mantra, you can use a simple visual object to fill your mind and allow you to reach a level of deeper consciousness. This is a form of open-eye meditation, which many people find easier when they have something to focus their gaze on.
- The visual object can be anything you wish (candles, flowers, pictures etc.)
- Place the object at eye level, look at it and nothing else, until your peripheral vision starts to dim and the object consumes your vision.
What I thought afterwards: I found it hard in the first place to find something to look at that wouldn’t distract me too much. In the end I chose to go for a plant, which worked out fine. Still I prefer the closed-eye version to this open-eye one.
Day 6 – Do a Body Scan
What to do: Doing a body scan involves focusing on each individual body part in turn and consciously relaxing it. It is a simple meditation technique which allows you to relax the mind as you relax the body.
- Close your eyes and pick a starting point on your body, usually the toes. Concentrate on whatever sensations you can feel in your toes, and make a conscious effort to relax any muscles. Once the toes are fully relaxed, move on to your feet and repeat the relaxation process. Continue along your body, moving upwards to the top of your head. Take as long as you want.
- Once you have completed the relaxation of each individual body part, focus on your body as a whole and enjoy the sensation of calmness and looseness you have achieved. Focus on your breathing for several minutes before coming out of your meditation practice.
What I thought afterwards: Good one! Especially when you’re lying down on the floor.
Day 7 – Breathing
I went back to the first exercise of the week, which was the breathing one, which I really enjoyed. I just did it for 15 mins this time and it was great.
Do let me know if you give it a try yourself, have a great week everyone!