Metro.uk helps guide us through some basic meditation techniques with a series of tips that are bound to help you calm down and reach your inner zen!
We all have busy, stressful lives – and on top of that, we have been living through a pandemic for the best part of two years.
That’s a lot to handle. So, if you feel your stress levels rising, or find it hard to feel calm – that isn’t surprising.
When so much of life feels out of control, it’s important to find ways to create a sense of peace and wellbeing for yourself – even if it’s only for a few minutes per day.
Meditation, mindfulness and breathing exercises can help you do this, and even complete beginners can feel the benefits.
The mind, like any other part of the body, needs a consistent workout to make sure it is functioning at its best – and there is plenty of research that supports the power of meditation and breathing to help you relax.
Maude Hirst, a mindfulness and meditation expert, is on a mission to make mindfulness accessible to everyone, and recently shared her top tips with community wellness and fitness app TRUCONNECT by TV.FIT, to help you up your mind game instantly.
For Maude, meditation is a magical tool that has brought calm, clarity, confidence and focus into her life – and here’s how you can try your hand at it:
Set your alarm 10 minutes earlier in the morning and carve out this time to begin to bring awareness to your thoughts, feelings and physical sensations in the following ways:
- Find a comfortable meditation position. This can be seated on the floor with your legs crossed or on a chair with your feet firmly on the floor. Preferably have your back straight, you can rest it against the wall if you need and find that comfortable position making any last movements that you feel you need in order to find some stillness.
- Close your eyes and switch your attention to your breath. Noticing the cool air entering the nostrils on your inhale and the warm air leaving on your exhale.
- Begin to deepen your breath.
- Take your awareness to the top of your head and begin to scan down slowly through your body (like an x-ray) becoming aware of the physical sensations and emotions that are present in each part of your body.
- Switch the focus away from everything in your internal world and really become aware and present of your internal space.
- When you get to your toes, reverse so you begin to scan upwards through your entire body.
- Keep repeating this slowly up and down – making sure to really give yourself time to feel until your alarm goes off.
- Notice how your body and mind are now feeling from just 10 minutes of stillness.
How to get in to meditation
If you don’t know where to begin, there are three meditations can you try almost anywhere – be it on your lunch break or even on the morning commute:
- Body scan: Placing your feet on the floor, feel the connection to the earth. With every breath concentrate on one part of the body starting with the forehead and working down to your toes. Don’t rush, enjoy the process and feel the body relax softly and slowly.
- Box breath: Pick a length of breath that feels comfortable for you, (anything around four to eight beats for example). Saying you pick four, then inhale for four, pause for four, exhale for four, pause for four. The trick is to use the mind to imagine that you can visualise the breath like a pencil drawing lines of the box with each beat of four. Even a few minute of this can lower your cortisol, the stress hormone.
- Tune in: If your somewhere busier, such as a train, use the noise and the bustle to your advantage. Take a moment to close your eyes and tune in – feel the vibrations in your feet, the soft music you can hear from someone’s headphones, and perhaps a conversation. Breathe in and absorb the noise, then let it go, tune into the sound of your exhale and the feeling of letting go.
- Find a comfortable seated position, on the ground or on a chair.
- Close your eyes and begin to bring your awareness to your breathing.
- Exhale all of your breath out.
- Begin to inhale through the nose for 6 seconds.
- Exhale through the nose for 6 seconds.
- Continue to breath in and out steadily to the count of 6 for 10 minutes and watch your body sink into a state of calm.