Do you ever sit down to relax or unwind, only to feel guilty for not attacking your to-do list? We’ve all been there; determined to sit and just be for a few minutes. But it never takes long for wandering thoughts and tasks to fill our minds, so we abandon rest to get up and keep go-go-going instead.
Why don’t we allow ourselves the rest we need to thrive?
We live in a world where downtime is often considered wasted time
Many people don’t get enough sleep at night, let alone rest during daylight hours. The high cost of never slowing down not only affects your health, but also your ability to recharge, focus and be fully present in your life.
Find peace in the present
It’s not just for yogis or the highly enlightened — the simple act of meditation can help anyone live a more mindful, connected and focused life. But it takes practice. Many of our behaviors run on habit. When we choose to be more mindful, directing our own thoughts and energy through meditation, we can live more intentionally.
What is meditation, really?
Meditation is an exercise in awareness, training the mind to rest in the present. It’s less about turning your mind completely off, and more about directing your thoughts and focus.
Not only does it strengthen our self-discipline and willpower, meditation also helps us recognize sources of pain or stress, so we can begin working through them. And as a bonus in our hectic world, it’s also an opportunity to slow down, unplug and enjoy much-needed peace.
What’s the best way to meditate?
The best way is what works best for you. To begin, try simply focusing on your breath. No deep breathing required, just be still and pay attention to every inhale and exhale. Your mind will naturally wander, but that’s meditation — training your brain to focus, not drift.
Here are a few simple tips to help you begin:
- Create a calming space at home Cut out the noise — literal and otherwise — and settle into a serene space, like a bedroom, spa-like bathroom or outdoors. Use natural light or low light for solace, add calming instrumental music and try filling the room with soothing fragrance.
- Sit or lie down in a comfortable position Being still allows you to focus your attention on breathing. Try turning your palms up and consciously relaxing every muscle in your body.
- Set a timer Consider five or 10 minutes, increasing your time with practice.
- Close your eyes It’s the easiest way to eliminate distractions and focus on breathing.
- Refocus – again and again It’s natural for wayward thoughts or worries to make their way into your mind. Don’t beat yourself up for lack of focus, because even practiced meditators struggle to tune out the noise. When you feel your mind begin to wander, simply refocus on your breathing.
- Finish with a smile It might feel strange at first, but when you end your mediation with gratitude, joy and kindness, those feelings will spill over into the rest of your day. Over time, with practice, meditation can train your mind to settle on the here and now, reducing the chatter, worry and stress in your head so you can focus on healthy emotions and deeper connections — with others, and with your goals and purpose.
To help create a calming space at home, consider our January Warmer of the Month, Himalayan Salt. Available in pink or white salt, no two warmers are alike, and the appearance of the salt changes over time as you warm your favorite fragrance.
For extreme relaxation, try our January Scent of the Month, Inhale, Exhale. It features salted citrus, which promotes focus, along with calming freesia and solar woods. Take a bit of serenity wherever you go with the Scent Circle or Room Spray.
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