Meditation Madness

Meditation Madness

“My mind won’t slow down enough to meditate!” That’s exactly why you need to do it. Hey, hate the message, not the messenger. And even then — the truth shall remain. We all need to destress and slow down. Meditation is the premier way in which to achieve that goal. The good news is that there are various forms of meditation. We can ease you into it … baby steps.

Meditation is a key player in our overall well-being. It has been proven to relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, type 2 diabetes, fibromyalgia, cardiovascular disease as well as chronic fatigue syndrome. Mind control is a powerful tool for our overall well-being.

Slowing down is hard for us in our technology driven culture. But the fact remains, we simply must. If meditation seems beyond your realm, consider trying something different. There are several types of meditation: visual (both self-guided or video), video or audio guided, body scan, transcendental and breath awareness meditation.

A personal favorite is a self-guided visual meditation. I love nature and it is never more beautiful than in my mind. I don’t have to wear sunblock or a hat. For that matter, I don’t even have to get dressed! Stay in your pj’s. The more comfortable you are the better. You can lie down in your own bed or relax in your favorite chair. The key is to take your mind somewhere else, preferably away from the chaos.

I’ve been to castle gardens, English meadows and even breathtaking waterfalls in my self-guided visual meditations. I never know where I’m going until I get there. But it is always a beautiful place that helps me forget my earthly troubles.

I have a special garden I visit that has a huge swing hanging from a tree. Sometimes I swing in it alone and sometimes with a friend. But it is one of my many self-guided happy places. It is peaceful and feels like heaven. I always come out of this meditation feeling calm and relaxed.

If you have difficulty initially self-guiding visually, you can find a great variation of options on you tube. There are thousands of videos for nature meditations. These videos provide appropriate background sounds (birds, crickets or a running brook) and a “guide” takes you through a meditation.

This can be very helpful if you have never meditated before. Even if you have tried and been unsuccessful, I highly recommend a video to start. They’ve proven very successful for me. And my mind has never been referred to as “quiet”. I highly recommend this type of meditation for first-timers.

In addition to nature or visual meditations there are also videos for what is known as a “body scan” meditation.  Many of us carry muscle tension or other pain in our bodies due to stress. This meditation allows you to acknowledge the pain, (you can even massage it once it is pin-pointed) and think about the stress that caused it — then process the emotion and release the pain. It is surprisingly successful. 30- minute body scan.

Breath awareness may be the simplest and most traditional form of meditation. It is what most of us think of when we consider meditation. You sit or lie down and focus on your breath. Consciously calming the mind in the process. Most of us grow quickly bored and can’t stay with it long enough to feel any benefit. Consider working your way up to this one!

Finally, transcendental meditation is for me, a step above the others. The word transcendental means to go beyond or to surpass. Thus, the goal of this meditation is to achieve a state of higher being, or rather to rise above the state you are currently in. Interestingly, I experienced this more readily once I had tried all other forms of meditation. Then it came more naturally. For those trying meditation for the first time, transcendental can seem impossible. Fell free to leave it for later!

The bottom line is–don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of meditation until you find the right one for you. You may be told you should practice every day. You may even be told which type to try first. This article was written to help you decide on your own. Which were you most drawn to? Which seems the most fun or the least intimidating? Whichever you choose, it will be right for you. Let us know how it goes!

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