Quick Tips for Meditation   Leave a comment

In just a little over a day it’ll be Christmas here in Alabama.  And sometimes what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year can actually become a little nerve-racking.  So here are a few tips on how to find some calm this holiday if things become a little hectic.

Remember location, location, location.  I say this three times for a reason.  First, if you’re experiencing stress, a change of venue can change the dynamic you find yourself in.  Having trouble dealing with a specific person?   Get up and leave the room.  Driving somewhere and traffic is fraying your last nerve?  Pull over and give yourself a few moments to get centered.  When you’ve found your calm again then you can return to what you were doing. But as long as you remain where the stress is, you’ll obviously continue to feel it.  So just excuse yourself politely, or pull over, and give yourself the time you need.

Second, when you need to take that break, where you take it is very important.  Going from one stressful environment to another doesn’t fix anything.  Make sure that when you go to find your center again the place you go to is ideal for that.  It needs to be a quiet place.  Meditating can be difficult enough when it’s quiet.  Trying to calm your inner voice when you can’t even hear it through the racket is setting yourself up for failure.  If you’re somewhere that doesn’t allow you to totally get away, do the next best thing.  Get to as quiet a place as you can and then put some earphones on.   Or if you’re in your car pull into a parking space as far away from other cars as possible and turn up the radio.  Play either soothing music, meditation tracks, or binaural beats designed to quiet your mind.  If you need to set a timer to bring you back, aim for a timer that vibrates to gently nudge you back to reality.  Using an audible alarm with jarring sound can ruin all the work you did to become calm again.  Also, make sure that wherever you go it’s a location you won’t be disturbed.  You can’t focus on your inner calm if you’re being regularly interrupted by the outside world.

And the final location to consider is where you go in your mind.  Taking time away to just focus your mind on other negative things won’t fix what ails you either.  So you’ve gone to the trouble of walking away from the stress.  You’ve found your quiet spot, or created one with your headphones.  Don’t waste the time dwelling on things that don’t help.  Things like asking yourself why these things keep happening to you.  Or wondering why you can never seem to avoid the stress.  Why do family get togethers seem to always increase your blood pressure?  Dwelling on the things that stressed you at the old location means you’ve brought the stress with you.  And the point of getting away was to get away from the stress.  So in your mind’s eye pick a helpful location.  Visualize yourself sitting on a dock at a lake fishing for trout if that is relaxing to you.  Or maybe laying on the beach as the waves slowly crash in a soothing manner.  Sometimes I like to imagine myself flying through the sky without a care in the world.  Whatever your happy place is, go visit it in your mind.

If you’re just starting with meditation you might need to take a bit longer to get your calm back.  However long it takes to feel your body relax is the right amount of time.  It will differ for everyone, but I’d aim for at least 5 minutes of focusing on your inner calm.  No matter how long it takes give yourself permission to spend the time on yourself.  It’s better for you, and it’s better for the ones you’ll deal with.

I’ll end with one of my favorite sayings when it comes to self care.  You can’t fill a cup with an empty pitcher, so fill yourself first.  Have a great day.


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