You might find yourself looking for relaxation methods in these desperate times. You may think about drinking more often or taking medications to calm down, but there’s one method that can surely help you when you’re stressed – meditation. Meditation practices came to life in India, ages ago. The oldest documented evidence of the practice of meditation is wall arts in the Indian subcontinent from approximately 5,000 to 3,500 BCE. They are showing people seated in meditative postures with half-closed eyes. The earliest records of meditation come from the Hindu traditions of Vedantism and ever since the 19th century, the idea of meditation has spread to other nations and touched many cultures, which slowly shaped it to fit their needs.
It’s not easy to define meditation, since practicing it depends on the type and tradition of the country where it’s practiced, but it can be observed as a practice where an individual uses some sort of a technique to achieve awareness, mental clarity, and emotional stability. Meditation may be used to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and pain, but also enhance the feeling of peace and boost perception.
Upon Googling, you might find yourself lost when it comes to types of meditation or techniques that are applied. To avoid that confusion, I’ll use the term “meditation practice”. Some say there are 16, some say there are seven, but today I want to focus only on those meditation practices that can bring you peace.
Mindfulness Meditation Practices
If you find that your mind is wandering and that you can’t quite focus, or that your emotions are taking the best of you, that’s okay. Maybe this moment isn’t what you hoped it will be – many people are in the same place – or you’re having bigger problems that just won’t let you go.
Think about this for a second:
Maya and Nina lead similar lives. They both finished college, work, and earn enough, have a healthy family. Maya is nervous most of the day and nothing seems to help her get in a better mood. Nina is usually positive, if not happy most of the time. her happiness is not exaggerated, but she finds a positive side in almost everything that happens to her. They both die on the same day. The question is – who had a better life? You’ll probably answer with “Nina.” Nina didn’t allow her thoughts to rule her mind, and she did her best to stay positive.
You can achieve similar with mindfulness meditation practice. In this meditation you get to sit with your thoughts and realize that’s all they are – just thoughts. Don’t judge your thoughts and don’t involve in them, only observe them and let them pass by you. Do this for however long you feel comfy. At first, it can be stressful or scary, but if you persist, you’ll reap the benefits of being the intelligence behind your thoughts. This meditation practice is good for people who don’t have a teacher to guide them, as it can be easily practiced alone.
If you find it hard to focus alone in silence, guided meditation practice can be your go-to. In guided meditations you are guided by a voice that helps you imagine scenery, smell, touch, or sound. It can be short, lasting only a few minutes, or longer and it can be focused on anything – finding peace, relaxation, or get inspired. The main purpose of guided meditation is to achieve mental, emotional, and physical healing and stress relief.
To get a better idea about how guided meditation looks like, see the videos below. If at any time you feel like the voice in guided meditation doesn’t work for you, you can always look for another guide.
Loving Kindness Meditation
You might feel as if you need to give love in order to receive it. And let me tell you, most of the time that’s exactly how it works! But to give love to others, first, you need to allow self-love to seep into your life. Loving Kindness Meditation can help you with this. It’s one of the popular self-care meditation practices that can be used to boost well-being and reduce stress. If you practice it more often, you’ll notice that you can forgive easily and connect with others more.
Loving kindness meditation is also called Metta meditation, from the Pali, meaning “good will” or “lovingkindness.” Metta meditation is designed to internalize good wishes and a sense of benevolence for oneself and others.
Here’s how you practice Metta meditation:
- Make some quiet time for yourself
- Imagine yourself experiencing complete physical and emotional wellness and inner peace
- Repeat three or four positive, reassuring phrases to yourself, such as May I be Happy or May I be Safe or May I be Healthy.
- Enjoy in feelings of warmth and self-compassion for as long as you’d like
- You can choose to stay with this focus for the duration of your meditation or begin to shift your focus to loved ones in your life. With it, replace the I with You.
- Once you’ve held these feelings toward that person, bring other important people in, one by one, and repeat the process.
- You are done whenever you feel you’re done.
During these stressful times, you might find yourself needing another way to calm down. Instead of reaching for a glass of wine, try some of these meditation practices. Mindfulness Meditation will allow you to become separated from your thoughts and loving kindness meditation will help you raise self-love and send that love to others. If you get stuck, there’s guided meditation, with a voice that will tell you what to imagine and feel. Just remember that any other type of meditation that you decide to practice will bring you benefits. It’s never too late to feel better.
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