Meditation can help combat stress, fosters physical health, helps with chronic pain, can make you sleep better, feel happier, be more peaceful, as well as be more present.
Meditation is a great way to increase your resilience to stress. If you have anxiety, it will help reduce your general tendency towards physiological overarousal and calm your nervous system.
Meditation can help with irritability partly because it helps you learn how to recognize you're having irritable thoughts before you've blurted them out in ways that end up generating stress for you. Since walking helps people concentrate and reduces distractibility, a meditation that involves walking can be a great place to start.
Whether you sit on a chair or cross-legged on the floor, make sure that your spine is upright with head up. If you are slumped your mind will drift. Mind and body are intertwined. If your body is well-balanced, your mind will also be in balance. To straighten up, imagine that your head is touching the sky.
Try and keep you eyes open. Open eyes allow you to be more present. Just lower your eyes and let your gaze be soft. If you close your eyes you will be more likely to drift away on thoughts and stories. However, it’s important to do what is comfortable for you. Some people find closing their eyes much more effective. It’s good to experiment and see what feels best for you.
Paying attention to the breath is a great way to anchor yourself in the present moment.
Notice your breath streaming in and out. There’s no need to regulate the breath – just let it be natural.
When you notice thoughts, gently let them go by returning yous focus to the breath. Don’t try to stop thoughts; this will just make you feel agitated. Imagine that they are unwelcome visitors at your door: acknowledge their presence and politely ask them to leave. Then shine the soft light of your attention on your breath.
The way to deal with strong emotions in meditation is to focus on the body feelings that accompany the emotion. For example, this could be the tight band of fear around the chest or the hot roiling of anger in the belly. Let go of the stories and refocus on your body. In this way you are honouring your emotions but not becoming entangled in stories.
When we sit in silence we actually get to experience what our mind is doing. There is steadiness and calmness that comes from sitting in silence. In time outer and inner silence meet and you come to rest in the moment.
Start with 10 minutes and only sit longer if you feel the length is too short. Don’t force yourself to meditate longer if you are not ready to do that. In time you might like to extend your meditation to 25 minutes. That’s a length that allows you to settle your mind without causing too much stress on your body.
Find a peaceful place to sit. Most of all, it’s important to enjoy meditation. You might like to try sitting with a hint of a smile. Be kind to yourself.