It never fails, but every year during the busy holiday season, I’m always asked how I remain so calm in the midst of everything I’m doing. (Actually, that’s not just a holiday time question I get, but really all year long…)
This post is to help you to learn easy techniques to incorporate meditation into your daily life.
How to Incorporate Meditation into Your Daily Practice
There are a lot of different ways to learn to meditate and get what others call the ‘monkey mind’ under control. If you’re wondering what I mean by monkey mind…it’s the part of our brain that is constantly moving from topic to topic with no end in sight.
I can’t forget to stop and pick up bread. Did I change the laundry around this morning before I left. Oh, lord, does Johnnie have soccer tonight, or Jessie has riding lessons? What day of the week is it?….and on, and on, and on…
If you’re functioning in that state for the majority of your day, it might be a minor miracle that you get anything done, much less everything done on your to do list.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, out of control, and like you just can’t keep up with all that life is handing you…then meditation should definitely be one of those skills you set out to learn this year. It’s not to replace any prayers that you do. This is simply to quiet your mind down and give yourself a mental break.
The easiest technique I’ve been able to teach others is to focus on your breathing combined with muscle relaxation. Oh, there are a variety of techniques….muscle relaxation by itself, color immersion, counting backwards, and yes, even counting sheep could be considered a meditation…all sorts of methods. If one method doesn’t work for you after a few months, try another one!
I’ve had the best results with doing this practice first thing in the morning rather than the last thing I do at night. At night, I tend to fall asleep, and while it does help my sleep, I need the improved focus during my day to handle all the tasks I have on my to do list.
First, find a comfortable spot where you can be seated with less chance of falling asleep. If you do this lying down, you’re likely to wake up a bit later and have lost an hour or two. I recommend you keep to the same spot so your brain starts to attune the space with dropping into a peaceful state. Make sure the dogs are fed, the cats are out and the kids are occupied if you have any of them. (Fun side note: as you do this more and more, they’ll all naturally start to quiet down with you. Our Mini Aussie, Emma, actually meditates with my clients when they come do in person sessions.)
Get comfortable, allow your hands to loosely rest on your legs, and your shoulders to drop. Sometimes it helps to have music like ocean waves playing in the background. Or a rain storm…whatever ambient noise that makes you feel relaxed and you can just allow it to play as long as you need.
Note: There are some helpful apps out there like Meditation – that have built in sessions. But music will work just as well.
To get started, simply close your eyes, take a deep breath in, allowing your chest to expand, and then out, allowing your chest to collapse. Now, you can choose to focus only on that simple action for as long as you like. Or, if you’d like, you can use a version of the script I tend to use with my clients for the start of their relaxation sessions. I’ll include it here:
I want you to imagine you’re in the most relaxing space you know. It can be a warm summer’s day on the beach, or a cool autumn afternoon in the mountains, wherever your most relaxing space is.
Imagine a warm white light just above your head. This light is the most relaxing light you can imagine.
Letting the warm white light flow down over your forehead, feeling all the tension, all the tightness, drain away. Feeling the warmth flow down, over your eyes, letting your eyelids get warm and heavy, nice and relaxed. Allowing the relaxation to flow down, over your nose and into your cheeks. Feeling all the muscles in your face release and let go. Allowing the warmth to flow over your lips and into your jaw, down into your ears and all the way around to the back of your head. Letting your whole head grow warm and heavy, nice and relaxed.
Feeling the relaxation flowing down into your neck now, letting all the tension, all the tightness, release and let go. Allowing the warmth to carry all the way through to your throat, releasing any locks or blocks. Letting the relaxation flow down into your shoulders, even allowing them to drop a little if necessary.
Feeling the warmth flowing down into your arms, down around your elbows, down into your forearms. Allowing the relaxation to flow around your wrists, and deep into your hands so that each and every finger relaxes more and more, more and more, allowing yourself to deeper and deeper, and even deeper relaxed.
Feeling the warmth coming back up to your throat now, letting it flow down into your chest. Feeling your heart relax, your lungs relax, and allowing that sense of relaxation carry all the way through to your back. Letting your shoulder blades release and let go.
Imaging that warm white light flowing all the way down your spine and around to your sides. Letting the relaxation flow deep into your stomach, feeling all the muscles, all the organs, release and let go.
Allowing the warmth to flow down into your hips, letting the fronts of your thighs relax all the way through to the backs. Feeling the warmth flowing into the hollow of your knee and all the way around to the knee itself. Letting the warmth flow down into your shins and all the way through to your calves. Feeling the warmth down into your ankles and deep into the feet themselves. Letting each and every toe relax more and more, more and more. Just going deeper and deeper, and deeper relaxed. Feeling very calm, very relaxed.
And when you’re ready, open your eyes and take on your day, on your terms.
PS – as my gift for you, here is the General Relaxation download if you haven’t already downloaded it!
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PS: If You are Stressed Out, go Download my Free Relaxation MP3. It’s only 20 minutes! And, it’s FREE!
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