Seven Easy Steps to Meditation
Seven Easy Steps to Meditation
With the current Covid-19 restrictions throughout the country and many of us stuck at home adapting to a new way of life, it’s safe to say that a lot of people are feeling stressed right now.
Paying attention to what’s happening in the moment may seem difficult while we are dealing with the pressures of our situation, but research has shown that mindfulness and meditation helps us cope better with unsettling times.
Here’s a 10-minute guided meditation for you to try, which if practiced daily can help to improve sleep, lower blood pressure and reduce stress levels.
Find a quiet space where you can relax…maybe sat upright in a chair or cross legged in the garden. Keep your back straight and your neck relaxed, with your chin slightly tucked in. Commit to spending the next 10 minutes solely on the meditation, minimising distractions where possible.
De-focus your eyes, gazing into the distance then take five deep, audible breaths: in through the nose and out through the mouth. On the last exhalation, let your eyes gently close.
Take a few moments to settle into your body. Observe your posture, noticing any sensations, and feeling the points where your body touches whatever you are sitting on or where your feet meet the ground. Feel the weight of your arms and hands resting on your legs or the floor. Acknowledge things such as smell, sounds or taste, sensations of heat or cold.
Scan your body
Slowly turn your mind inwards, scanning your body and taking a few seconds to think about how each area feels from your head to your toes, observing any tension or discomfort. Don’t try change anything, simply make a mental note of it. Scan again this time noticing which parts of the body feel relaxed. Take about 10-20 seconds for each scan. Your thoughts are next so you should now turn your awareness to them. Notice any thoughts that arise without attempting to alter them. Make a mindful note your underlying mood, just becoming aware of what’s there without judging yourself.
Observe the breath
Don’t make any effort to change it, just observe the rising and falling sensation in your stomach, ribs and chest. Also the other areas of movement that this creates in the body. For a few moments, focus on the quality of each breath, noting whether it’s deep or shallow, long or short, fast or slow. Begin silently counting the breaths: 1 as you inhale, 2 as you exhale, 3 on the next inhalation, and so on, up to 10. Then start again at 1.
It can be normal for thoughts to wander while you are doing this, just gently guide your attention back to the breathing. Never rush your breathing, just allow it to find its own pace and rhythm.
Free the mind
After your 10 minute meditation, spend 20-30 seconds just sitting. You will very likely feel one of two things, inundated with thoughts and plans, or feel calm, and contented yet focused. Enjoy the rare chance to let your mind simply be.
Start to finish
Become aware once more of the physical feelings; of the chair you may be sitting on, where your feet make contact with the floor, your arms and your hands resting in your lap. Notice anything you can hear, smell, taste or feel. When you’re ready, slowly open your eyes.
Great work, you just meditated for a full 10 minutes. Recognize how you feel and is that feeling different from when you first sat down to start meditating? Remind yourself of this feeling the next time you are anxious, stressed or worried. With just 10 minutes of meditation, you can feel a little bit better.