The following are some tips and tricks from meditation to bring calm to all situations in daily life – even if it hasn’t worked for you before or you’re just beginning
1) Practice when you don’t need it
Meditation is a great tool to manage stress. It doesn’t guarantee that you will not get caught up in the moment however. Often when you try to be mindful when you have reached your boiling point, it’s too late to cool down! Incorporate a practice wherever and whenever you have a few uninterrupted minutes. A regular, daily practice will give you space in your interactions to be more objective and will help to diffuse potential stressful situations before they get to a point where it starts to bring on stress and anxiety.
2) Use a trigger symbol
This can be anything, a photo, a symbol, a sticker up on a wall… something small but still noticeable (I use a blue sticker). When you glance at it, it’s your reminder to be in the moment. Put it in a place you are likely to see at least several times during the day. Take a few deep, mindful breaths whenever you see it. What’s a mindful breath? Simply put your awareness on the sensation from the beginning of the inhale to the last moment of your exhale. Imagine your breath moving inside your body, and pay close notice to the entire sensation as the air moves through your body. Immerse your awareness in the temperature of the air, the movement on the body as it expands and contracts.
3) From mundane to mindfulness
What tasks do you find yourself doing mindlessly during your day? A large part of many traditional practices encourages mindfulness training specifically for these mundane tasks. Whether it be folding washing, eating your breakfast, brushing your teeth… Be in the moment, feel the sensations, tastes, movements, temperatures as you move through each moment. Cultivating mindfulness when your mind is most likely to wander is a great way to feel more centered and relaxed throughout your whole day.
For those that have never tried meditation before, here is an easy to follow instruction that you can use anywhere:
· Sit comfortably with your back in a tall, relaxed posture. If you can sit on a cushion on a floor without moving for 10 minutes or so, a chair is a perfectly fine substitute. You can lie down if needed, but you are likely to fall asleep in this position.
· ‘Scan’ your entire body and let go of any tension. You will find it particularly builds in the face, jaw, neck, shoulders and waist.
· Close your eyes and bring your attention to the sensation of your breath. Follow the breath from the moment it enters your body, ‘imagining’ the breath moving all the way through to your lungs then out again.
· Count each inhale and exhale as 1. Count to 10, then just start at one again. Fully immerse yourself in the mindful breathing as instructed above as you move through the meditation.
· When you catch yourself thinking, gently place your awareness back on your breath and start again at the count of 1.
· If you can, time your practice. Start at five minutes and move up in increments of 5 minutes as you feel comfortable.
· Cultivate stillness in your practice. The magic happens when you can still the mind through concentrating on breath, and your body relaxes and remains still.