Some readers have been asking for more information about meditation, so here is a simple one you can do to calm the mind and get more in touch with your body. I learned the basics of this meditation from listening to the Headspace program.
Begin sitting upright in a chair (or cross legged on the floor) facing forward with your eyes open. Take 3-4 deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. On the last out breath, close your eyes.
2. Notice points of contact
Now bring your attention to the physical points of contact that your body is experiencing. These are:
- The contact between your body and the chair beneath you
- Your feet on the floor
- Your hands resting on your legs or lap
One at a time, become aware of these three points of contact. Then be aware of them all at the same time and just “be with” them for about a minute.
3. Scan down your body
Beginning at the top of the head, slowly “scan” down your body, noticing the sensations as you go. Simply observe the different sensations you feel, and try not to judge them as good or bad. You may notice that certain muscles are tense; relax them and continue to scan all the way down to your toes. This should take about 2-3 minutes.
4. Focus on the breath
Now bring your attention to the breath, coming in and out through your nose. Focus on the breath without trying to alter it in any way. It’s likely that your mind will start to wander, this is normal and to be expected. As soon as you become aware of the fact that you are lost in thought, return your attention to the breath.
This stage can last for as long as you like. I would recommend at least 5 minutes, in which case the whole meditation would take about 10 minutes. If you want to do a 20 minute meditation, this stage would last 15 minutes, and so on. You can set a timer or just go by how you feel.
5. Finishing up
The last step is the easiest. Let go of the focus on the breath, and allow your mind to do whatever it wants. Here you are not making an effort to do anything, you are just ‘being’ and allowing everything that comes and goes inside your awareness. You may find that the mind is calm, or you may find that it is busy with thoughts. Either way is fine.
After about a minute of this, slowly open your eyes. Take a minute to notice how you feel before you get up. It’s likely you will feel relaxed, more peaceful and “aware”, but don’t worry if you don’t. Then continue on with your day.
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Do you meditate? What kind of meditation do you do? If you try this out, let us know how it goes in the comments below.