Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Meditation for the very, very busy

If you’re very busy and perhaps rather stressed, then you’d really benefit from working through the in-depth meditation instruction that you’ll find elsewhere on this site, but you may well be in urgent need of some “meditative first aid” to get you through the next few days until you can create the time to come back and thoroughly explore Wildmind. So for now, here are a few relaxation techniques that you can use to quickly relax in order to get through the day as a happier individual. You can do these exercises anywhere, anytime.

1. Centering breathing

Several times a day, stop, sit in a relaxed position, and breathe deeply and slowly into your abdomen for two or three minutes. If your mind wanders, just gently bring it back to your breathing. Slow, deep breathing has been shown to promote relaxation. In addition, focusing on your abdomen has a calming, centering effect. It will help if you really let go on the out-breath. There is a natural phase of relaxation that takes place every time you exhale. By paying attention to this phase of relaxation you encourage your body to relax more deeply, and this in turn has a calming effect on your mind.

2. Mindfulness triggers

Create a mindfulness trigger for yourself. This is something that reminds you to relax. It could be an action, like putting the phone back on the hook, or closing your planner. Every time you do this action, take a deep in-breath and then let it out, noticing how your muscles relax. The tension will probably tend to creep back again somewhat, but by repeating this exercise you’ll get better at letting go of physical tension and find it easier to achieve a relaxed state.

3. Peripheral awareness