(WellnessNova.com) - Meditation is an excellent way to relax your mind, body and soul. It can also help lower blood pressure, improve concentration levels and not only lower stress but improve one’s reaction when placed in stressful situations. But a lot of people are intimidated by meditation thinking there are rules to follow, that they are doing it “wrong,” or that it is difficult to sit for long periods of time because it feels physically uncomfortable or they find their minds racing. Because they feel intimidated, they are missing out on the myriad of physical and mental health benefits.
But there are many ways to get meditative that don’t involve sitting cross legged for hours on end! Here are some simple ways to relax and unwind and be kind to yourself that you can easily incorporate into your daily life:
1. Create a Mantra
A mantra can be a positive affirmation you repeat to yourself once a day or more. It is an easy way to be reflective and give yourself positive energy simply by repeating one to three short sentences in your mind. This can be done while driving in the car or on the subway or bus on your way to work, while standing in the shower, before a meal, during your work break – literally anywhere in your day. It can take less than 30 seconds or be repeated as many times as you like.
- A general feeling of wellness could come from, “I am healthy. I am happy. I am whole.”
- A mantra to create more positivity in your life could sound like, “I radiate positivity. I attract positive people and experiences.”
- A mantra to promote healing could sound like, “My body is beautiful and amazing. It is getting stronger and more vibrant every day.”
Creating a mantra is also a great way to create a positive body image. Play around with words and short sentences that resonate with you and how you want to feel and they will provide energetic, calming moments throughout your day – effortlessly!
2. Sit in Nature
It sounds simple enough but many of us don’t take the time to sit quietly in nature. If you live in a city, try to find a park or green spot to visit to simply sit and observe nature.
Close your eyes and feel the sun beaming on your face or listen to the sound of water from the ocean, lake or river or simply to birds chirping. If you find it difficult or uncomfortable to sit quietly with your eyes closed in public, see if you can try this for five minutes at first and slowly work up to a longer period of time.
3. Walk Barefoot
We are always in shoes so often don’t get the benefits of getting our bare feet on cool, green grass, earth, sand or rocks. Grounding, or Earthing, is so necessary and involves simply allowing your bare feet to make contact with the earth. The surface of the earth is literally alive with electrons helping rev up the electrical state of your body.
Those who ground regularly reveal benefits like better sleep, feeling more rested and better energy. Keep it simple and think like a kid – they are barefoot as much as possible and are usually quite happy while doing so!
Buy yourself a lovely writing journal, find a favourite pen or colourful marker and carve out some quiet time and write. The journal doesn’t have to be expensive and beautiful ones can be found at your local dollar store.
Jot down your thoughts, your dream life bucket list, or your year’s goals. In essence, put your dreams down on paper and reflect on what you want. Or, create some poetry or song lyrics.
Maybe you want to write at home curled up on your couch with a hot cup of tea, or perhaps sitting under a big shady tree is more your style.
Jotting down stressful, traumatic or emotional events is another way to calm the mind, body and soul and has been shown to provide great health benefits. Whatever you want to write and wherever you want to do it, find a way that feels the most meditative for you. But do so with pen and paper — get away from the bright lights of technology to calm your brain, so be sure to leave your laptop or tablet tucked away!
5. Blow Some Bubbles
Blowing bubbles is just for little kids right? Not really! Harness your inner child or actually go out to blow bubbles with your child. This meditative fun act will produce beautiful colours and patterns and maybe even bring some delightful giggles. It costs next to nothing. And you may find that lots of time passes in silent wonder, which relaxes you mind, body and soul.
Telling someone to chant may sound more intimidating than meditation but in fact it can be quite simple. One aspect of meditation that eludes people is “trying to get out of their heads.” They find their minds racing with to-do lists and a million thoughts that seem to invade just when they are trying to quiet down their brains. But there is a reason behind chanting – it helps your body vibrate throughout your torso drawing attention away from your racing mind.
Try sitting quietly for even just a few short minutes and chant “OM” to see how it vibrates within your body. You may want to try slowly saying the vowels – A-E-I-O-U and feel that within your throat and chest.
Short on time and have several kids running around? Replace your shower singing with chanting for even a minute a day either in the morning or at night before going to bed to see how you feel.
7. Listen to Relaxation Music or Guided Meditations
If you need a little extra help relaxing, download relaxation music or a guided meditation. Some types of relaxation music can include ocean waves, sounds of nature, crystal bowls, flutes, electronic sounds or chanting.
Guided meditations can be found ranging in length from a few minutes to over an hour. When given the opportunity, sample the guided meditations to make sure the artist’s voice resonates with you. These are great ways to find short meditation escapes in your day, especially if you find yourself in a busy, noisy environment. This might be the best way for some to start their day on the right foot on the way to work and is perfect for those with a long bus, train or subway commute.
8. Take a Bath
It sounds simple – take a bath. But for many busy people juggling demanding careers, their household, kids and family life, a quick shower is going to win out most days. But a shower is not the same as a bath.
An occasional bath can have so many meditative and health benefits. A bath can be so soothing mentally and physically and if Epsom salts are added, more health benefits can occur including relief from pain and muscle tension, a calming of the nervous system, elimination of toxins, as well as helping one sleep better. The magnesium and sulfate in the salts provide a multitude of health benefits while you are relaxing yourself mind, body and soul.
So if meditation hasn’t resonated with you, or you have shied away from it, try one of the ideas listed above because relaxation should not feel intimidating! Maybe you find a couple ideas that work for you or find one that you like more than another. Perhaps you find an idea works best for you first thing in the morning or right before you go to bed. It may become your daily work break ritual or even your once a week go-to when your partner is with the kids. Adapt any one of these ideas to fit your lifestyle and your individual preferences. And most importantly, remember there is no right or wrong way to do these, there are no rules. If you feel more relaxed after, you are doing everything right!