This post was supposed to publish yesterday but alas, time got away from me. March is the month of Meditation for my 12 Habits in 2015 series, and April will be all about de-cluttering our lives, homes, and minds! So today, even though its April, we’re going to talk about meditation :) April fools?
Meditation is all about focusing 100% of your attention in one area. It’s known to increase concentration, decrease anxiety, and generate a feeling of happiness. Lots of people try meditation at some point, but sticking with it is the hard part. The hardest part, to me, is keeping the mind quiet. My mind seems like it is always racing with thoughts, worries, to do lists, that it’s hard to shush it for five minutes of peace.
Here are ten ways you can quiet your mind during meditations, let’s try them together! Adapted from Zen Habit’s post: Meditation for Beginners: 20 Practical Tips for Quieting the Mind.
Make it a formal practice. Designate specific times every day solely for meditating, preferably twice a day.
Start with the breath. Breathing deep slows the heart rate, relaxes the muscles, focuses the mind and is an ideal way to begin practice.
Meditate with Purpose. Beginners must understand that meditation is an ACTIVE process. The art of focusing your attention to a single point is hard work, and you have to be purposefully engaged!
Feel your body parts. Take notice of the body when a meditative state starts to take hold. Once the mind quiets, put all your attention to the feet and then slowly move your way up the body.
Pick a specific room in your home to meditate. Make sure it is not the same room where you do work, exercise, or sleep.
Read a book (or two) on meditation. Preferably an instructional guide AND one that describes the benefits of deep meditative states. I recommend any book by Thich Nhat Hanh– especially Peace Is Every Step.
Generate moments of awareness during the day. Finding your breath and “being present” while not in formal practice is a wonderful way to evolve your meditation habits.
Make sure you will not be disturbed. One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is not insuring peaceful practice conditions. If you have it in the back of your mind that the phone might ring, your kids might wake, or your coffee pot might whistle than you will not be able to attain a state of deep relaxation.
Use a candle. Meditating with eyes closed can be challenging for a beginner. Lighting a candle and using it as your point of focus allows you to strengthen your attention with a visual cue. This can be very powerful.
Meditate in the morning. Without a doubt, morning is an ideal time to practice: it is quieter, your mind is not filled with the usual clutter, and there is less chance you will be disturbed. Make it a habit to get up five minutes earlier to meditate.
Be Grateful at the end. Once your practice is through, spend 2-3 minutes feeling appreciative of the opportunity to practice and your mind’s ability to focus.
Do you meditate?
Have any tricks for keeping your mind quiet?
Hi! I’m Emily, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and self-taught intuitive chef. I firmly believe that cooking is the simplest and most important step we can take to improve our minds and bodies and build healthier communities. Join me and let’s bring food back to the kitchen!