Before you begin, its important to get physically comfortable. Before you sit for meditation, move and stretch enough to start feeling physical sensation. Then you are ready to begin. Don’t rush into meditation from busy mind to meditation mind, because getting there isn’t the point. There is no where to get to, except here.
- When using mindfulness for calmness, /Feel/ Your breath. I learnt that for some people the instruction, ‘follow the breath’ can mean watching the breath, so it can get quite cerebral and not necessarily calming. Feeling the breath can give the brain a more physical focal point.
- Shift your mindset from fixing anxiety or finding calm. Instead bring your attention on being present to what is happening and witness it without judgement.
- Instead of trying to feel calmer, (which can make it harder), focus on noticing, feeling and becoming aware of your feelings, thoughts and physical sensation, period.
- Try walking meditation to match the speed of your thoughts, then slow the walking down to slow the thoughts.
- Express it. Use a recorder or a journal to express it all. Decide if you want to speak it or write it out. If you use a journal, put a label that says, ‘calming journal’, so that your brain starts to associate calm with writing in that journal.
- Notice your triggers for anxiety that you wrote down. Is it a person, a job or a situation that is causing you the most agitation? Once you write it out as in 5 above, then send unconditional kindness to it. If you are worried about your health, send good feelings to your body. If it is a person, send unconditional love, compassion or kindness to that person. If it is an event, either future or past, write the date, find a photo or physical object associated with it and send unconditional love.
- Watch nature for a set time of 10 to 20 minutes. Look up into the sky and notice the clouds, birds or trees. Count the trees, or birds. Looking at things that are already calm, helps the mind to get calmer.
- Use a timer to time your meditations at the same time every day. If there is resistance, notice yourself resisting going into meditation and emerging from it. Instead of changing resistance, honour it, without giving in to it.
- Use sound and mantra, because both of them help slow thoughts down and shift your focus to calmness. In my meditation groups, people love chanting Chakra seed sounds, Tibetan or crystal singing bowls, tingchas or soothing mantras such as ‘peace begins with me’ Om mani padme hum or Om. If you cant relate to the Eastern mantras, pick anything that resonates calmness.
- Use guided visualization. Once you list out your worries and fears as described above, imagine a big river, then drop them in the river one by one. That teaches your brain that all things change, and how to get unstuck from repeat worrying patterns.
Blessings for greater calm!
If all of the above still seems too much to figure out on your own, HHA offers a variety of options — in the safety of your own home in response to the pandemic.
1/ Please visit www.holistichappinessacademy.com and sign up for live online group workshops.
2/ Schedule a free 30 minute conversation with myself to see if meditation or HHA is for you.
#mindfulness #neuroscience #changethebrain