Meditation is a simple technique that can help you to reduce stress, decrease anxiety and improve your overall health. You can implement meditation anytime or anywhere. As a matter of fact, give it a try after you finish reading this! This way you can take get a head start on what works for you so you can refer back to it when you need to.
Once you get a little practice with meditation, you can do it no matter no matter where you are. Think of it as a tool in your self care arsenal that you can take out out whether you’re at home, at work, in your car, or in a doctor’s office. Even taking a minutes or two to meditate in the midst of a stressful situation can be very helpful.
But to get the most relaxation and stress reduction benefits, you should make meditation a part of your daily routine.
Types of Meditation You Can Try
There are many different types of meditations you can explore. One of the easiest places to start (and my personal favorites) are either guided meditations or breathing meditations. For guided meditation you should investigate apps like Calm, Abide or Headspace on your smartphone or tablet.
All of these have free daily guided meditations you can use to give it a try. Each app also has a paid option for even lengthier meditation practices. This is probably the best option for you if you enjoy the daily practice of this type of meditation. The meditations will gradually get longer and more intense. I like to use the body scans and sleep stories on hard days.
Another easy meditation to try is breathing meditation. I love it because it’s so flexible and something that can be done at any time once you know the basics. To begin with, sit or lay down in a comfortable in a quiet space. It may be helpful to use your headset for this!
While you do your first few breathing practices, you’ll want to cut out as many distractions as possible. Close your eyes and focus your entire mind on your breath. Pay attention to how the air feels flowing in and out of your nose. Or focus on the rising and falling of your abdomen as you breathe. The idea is to tune out everything else and only think about and feel your breath. Guided meditations are the best way to do this, or your mind will probably wander.
Lovingkindness meditation. You can look for these on Google or Youtube, but I like to use the Calm app for this. When I’m really struggling with resentment or anger, loving kindness meditation helps me to cultivate an attitude of love towards that person.
Body Scan is a meditation practice that will guide you through a body scan for areas of tension and stress. It will help you to notice your areas of stress and release them. Typically, during the practice you start at your feet or hands and work your way through the rest of your body. Another form of a body scan meditation is progressive relaxation which asks you to tense and relax certain muscles. This form of meditation with anxiety and chronic pain.
If you struggle with “monkey mind”, you’re not alone.When that happens, gently bring your focus back to your breath. Start by meditating this way for five minutes per day and gradually work your way up to a level you’re comfortable with.
How Do Christians Meditate?
This is a subject that has always caused controversy in the Christian community. It’s considered by many to be new age and a practice to be avoided. Psychology Today defines meditation as follows: “Meditation is the practice of turning your attention to a single point of reference.”
As with yoga, meditation comes down to intent. What do you choose to meditate on? Robert J. Morgan stated, “meditation is not new and it is not new age. God, not the gurus, devised it, and it’s based on the Bible, not on Buddha.”
More reading on the subject of Christian Meditation, I highly recommend Christians Practicing Yoga. Here’s what Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP has to say about the a basic meditation practice:
- Seek a quiet place
- Sit in a comfortable, upright position, relaxed but alert with your eyes lightly closed. Remain as still as possible.
- Silently, interiorly, begin to say a single word or short phrase, e.g. Jesus, Abba, or Maranatha. Say it with faith and love. Some people find it helpful to say the word in equally stressed syllables in conjunction with their calm and regular breathing, e.g. Je-sus, Ab-ba, or Ma-ra-na-tha.
- Do not think or imagine anything, spiritual or otherwise. When thoughts and images come and your attention strays, gently return to your word.
What this looks like for me is using the Divine Hours to pray and meditate every day. I usually pick a small passage of scripture to meditate on. I do use the Calm App for body scans and for me, don’t see a conflict with my spiritual beliefs. I use a lot of secular practices to help manage my chronic illness, but I often like to take rest post with some instrumental worship music in the background.
Ultimately what you choose to do or not do is between you and God. I always like to reference Romans 14 for this area..let’s not judge each other.
How You Meditate Everyday?
Make meditation a daily habit and also do it for 30 seconds or a minute or two whenever you find yourself in a tense and stressful situation.
Remember, any type of daily activity can be done mindfully and meditatively. For example, when you’re driving in your car, keep the radio off for a few minutes and take a few mindful breaths. When you’re cooking for your family or cleaning in the kitchen, keep yourself in the moment and try not to let your thoughts wander to whatever may have happened earlier in the day or the week. Get outside for a few minutes and be fully present (don’t look at your phone!)
Practicing meditation is a great way to build some margin into your day. We all need some space with the daily influx of information that we all have to process every day.
Do you have a favorite meditation tip or technique? How do you work it into your day?