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It is vitally important for you to not only allow yourself some time each day to “treat yourself” but to also take care of your mind, body and spirit. And this is where Meditation, Mindfulness and Yoga can help you.
Meditation can help you deal with stress and negative emotions. It can help you deal with depression and anxiety and can even benefit you tolerating pain.
Did you know that when your mind worries it activates your Stress System which can have a negative effect on your body and lead to poor health. Meditating will support your immune system so you’re not going to come down with colds and flu’s as often.
It will also give you greater control over your emotions, it can help your memory, it can keep you young and can also help with weight management.
Mindfulness – hang on, isn’t that the same as meditation?
Well, yes but also no.
Meditation is a term that covers the practice of reaching ultimate consciousness and concentration, to acknowledge the mind and self-regulate it. Meditation involves many techniques or practices and mindfulness is one of them.
Mindfulness is focusing on the present, such as focusing completely on drinking a hot cup of tea, taking in its scent, warmth, and taste and removing overpowering emotions from the mind. Mindfulness is a form of mediation.
And where does this leave Yoga?
Yoga is also a form of meditation with the added benefit of being good for you physically. As well as building muscle strength and improving your flexibility it also forces you to focus, relax your system and like any form of exercise can give your mood a boost.
Tips for working Meditation, Mindfulness and gentle Yoga into your busy lifestyle
If you’re like me, you’re probably reading this with the mindset of “hmm, that’s all well and good but I just don’t have time for any of this“. It’s actually a lot easier than you think to work some of these practices into your day to day life.
Meditation and Mindfulness
This information was given to me by my psychologist when I complained I was too busy to meditate or practice mindfulness. You will find a complete list of 8 Quick and Easy Meditation Techniques here. I’ve picked out some of the easiest and some I often use:
The 100-Breaths Technique
Close your eyes. Feel your back against your chair and your feet pressed firmly on the ground, then gently bring yourself into the present moment. Now start breathing through your nostrils and counting as you go, thinking “and” for every inhale, and the number for each exhale—inhale “and,” exhale “one”; inhale “and,” exhale “two.”
Feel your belly rise with each inhalation, and let the breaths slow as you count yourself into a greater sense of relaxation. After you reach 100, open your eyes, move your fingers and toes, and bow your head in gratitude for the mental space you created.
This can be done any time you are walking, however, if you can find a peaceful place to walk away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. If it’s safe, walk barefoot as this will give you a sense of being more connected to the earth.
Stand with your spine straight, with your shoulders and arms relaxed, and take a few inhalations and exhalations to breathe in calming energy and breathe out tension.
Now begin slowly moving forward and sync your breathing with your steps—right foot, inhale; left foot, exhale. Use all of your senses to fully experience where you are—the warm feeling of sun on your face, the soft sound of wind rustling leaves on trees. The goal is not to arrive at a destination; it’s simply to be present in the experience of walking.
It’s easy to let go of all other thoughts when you’re standing under a stream of water, set to the perfect temperature for you.
Take this time to tune into your senses. Choose a soap you love so that the scent is intoxicating. Enjoy the sensation of the water on your skin, and feel it drip down your back, your calves, and your heels.
Notice when you begin thinking about the day ahead (or behind you). Don’t judge the thoughts or yourself for having them. Instead, visualize them going down the drain and then bring your focus back to the experience of cleansing your body and mind.
Whether you’re vacuuming, dusting, or washing dishes, it can be your meditation if you immerse yourself completely in the activity.
Washing dishes, for example, can be both satisfying and grounding. Feel the warm water on your hands; let yourself enjoy the experience of making something dirty clean again. Don’t think about finishing or what you’ll do when you’re done. Focus solely on the doing and see if you can find a sense of acceptance and presence in doing it slowly and well.
Instead of eating quickly with one eye on your food and the other on your iPhone, turn mealtime into meditation. It doesn’t take long to eat, so why not put everything aside and take this time for you? Your texts, emails, and social media pages will still be there when you’re done.
Breathe deeply and try to identify the different nuances of scent in each item on your plate. When you’re eating, take deep breaths between each bite, and think about your meal like a foodie, appreciating the different flavors and textures.
If you find your thoughts wandering to things you’ve done or have to do, bring your attention to the feeling of the fork in your hand. Then breathe deeply, take a bite, and focus on savouring the food in front of you.
There are also a number of apps designed to help you dedicate time to your meditation. Search the Store to see what you can find and feel free to share ones you use in the comments on this post.
If you’re home with children YouTube has endless clips of Yoga for children. Put one on and join the kids. I do this at least once a week with my youngest two. Nothing is overly strenuous either – it’s pretty much anything anyone could pick up.
Our favourite is Cosmic Kids.
Cosmic Kids also have a few meditation clips for children to calm things down in times of chaos. I’ve also recently discovered a cute little TV show called Scout and the Gumboot Kids which is about mindfully exploring nature.
If you don’t have kids or if Cosmic Kids isn’t your thing there are a number of other YouTube channels offering Yoga tips and techniques or your local neighbourhood might have some exercise classes to join.
So, the next time you feel yourself getting stressed or anxious why not give one of these quick techniques a go to calm yourself and regulate your emotions.
Kirsty is a Mum, a student, a business owner, a blogger, a writer, a friend, a daughter, a sister and a strong woman determined to succeed in this new life forced upon her.
4 lively boys + 1 busy Mum = A crazy life.
Welcome to The Next Chapter!