The idea of meditation is often greeted with a strong opinion or confusion.
For me, a meditative moment is simply when I slow down and listen to what’s speaking inside of me from my heart and mind. It’s no different than contemplation or a quiet moment deep in thought.
Sometimes intuition bubbles up and provides clarity. Sometimes I face realities that I turn away from in daily life. The secret is to just listen and acknowledge what comes to mind — without judgement or action.
Some thoughts are fleeting and meant to pass by. Others keep circling around begging for your attention. You have to decide which thoughts are worthy of your energy and focus.
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A Few Benefits of Meditation
Breaking away from the busyness of life, daily responsibilities and tasks on our to-do lists to focus on ourselves can be difficult.
But, we need it.
Meditation eases stress and creates inner peace, according to the Mayo Clinic. How? When focusing attention on your thoughts, emotions and wellbeing, not the external things happening around you, your mind can process and untangle the ideas. Then, you relax.
This process helps you feel less overwhelmed, gain new insight, increases self-awareness, helps reduce negative emotions, increases patience, reduces physical tension in the body and strengthens your ability to remain calm in the face of future stresses.
It really is magical.
I tend to drop into a meditative state several times each day. Sometimes it’s for a few minutes. Other times it’s close to an hour, depending on what my mind and body need.
5 Ways to Meditate Easily
Often when I mention meditation, people tell me they don’t know “how to do that”. Honestly, everyone meditates. They just don’t realize it. Think of an activity that you enjoy that engulfs your full attention. You know those moments when time slips away and you don’t notice the other things going on around you? That’s a meditative state.
For some, it might be playing the guitar and getting lost in the rhythm. For others, it might be painting, gardening or taking a shower. When do your best ideas or aha moments pop up? Do more of that! Here’s what I like to do.
1. Go for walks.
I live in a beautiful neighborhood plentiful with gardens and historical homes. I love to head out the door and simply admire the beauty around me.
I don’t answer calls, texts or listen to podcasts on these walks.
Instead, I focus on enjoying what I see around each corner. Sometimes I take pictures to be mindful of the details.
I often come back from walks with new ideas and perspectives. You can hear a play-by-play of one of my walks in A Peek Inside My Walking Meditation.
2. Listen to music.
You know the songs that pump you up and make you forget about what’s bothering you? Those are good for you too!
I have a morning playlist of upbeat songs that helps me focus on my inner strengths so I don’t get bogged down in the early hours of the day with anticipation or worry for what’s coming up.
Music frees my mind and empowers me to move forward with energy.
3. Sit in silence.
This sounds simple, but is incredibly difficult. When you remove all external stimuli, it’s common to feel anxious or agitated because we’re so used to always being bombarded with information. Or, having access to it. Hello, cellphone scrolling!
I tried a Mondo Zen meditation once, and it was hard. So hard. You can read about it in Why I Stared at a Rock for 30 Minutes.
4. Write it down.
Of course as a writer, I turn to words for my career, but they’re also very therapeutic and meditative.
I’ve learned that expressive writing can help us process our thoughts and release tension in our bodies when we move the ideas from our heads, through our fingers and onto paper.
I write for myself nearly every day. Sometimes it’s just one sentence in my journal. Other times it’s several pages on my computer. It just depends on what needs to be processed.
5. Listen to meditations.
Finally, meditation is just a click away via the many apps that offer this service. I’ve tried Headspace, Calm, Insight Timer and a few others over the years.
By far, my favorite is Insight Timer. I use the free version and have plenty of guided meditations, guided visualizations, podcasts, poems, stories and music to listen to.
If you’re new to meditation and want to keep it simple, download an app and use it often to hit the rest button in your brain.
I’d love to hear about your go-to meditation practice in the comments. Your ideas may inspire another reader to try meditation too.