Thursday, October 25, 2012

Quiet Time

Okay, this post is going to (sort of) be about meditation.  Not the type of meditation where you sit on a hard tiled floor, cross-legged, hours on end waiting for a light  or a spark or something.  I am in no way discounting that, but, lets be honest...most of us don't have the time or desire to meditate in that way.
Meditation can come in many forms.  Today I am going to talk about quieting your mind and body, even if for just a few minutes.
I find myself never really having quiet time anymore.  Between TV, movies, podcasts, playlists, and the never-ending stream of social media updates to my phone, I have a noisy life.  It's great, I love that I am busy and that my days are filled, but what about the all-important quiet?  Time to reflect and think.  And I don't think this should happen at bedtime.  I feel like maybe that is why so many of us have trouble sleeping.  From the time we open our eyes in the morning until we plug our phone in, bedside of course, we are "on".  So, the only time to reflect is when we are supposed to be falling asleep.
Today I would like to share with you a way to quiet down, to give yourself a few moments of peace.

Pick a comfortable spot for you.  I will typically lie on my bed, but if you are they type of person that will fall asleep the second your head hits the pillow, you may want a different cozy spot.  You don't have to be lying down.  You can sit in a chair, lie on your couch...whatever works.

Set a timer.  I use the alarm on my phone.  Set it for 10 minutes.  This way, you will have 10 minutes of peace but you won't be checking the clock the entire time.

Relax. One step at a time, relax.

*First, take deep breaths.  Fill your lungs and empty your lungs.
*Next, allow your body to relax.  Imagine each muscle relaxing and let tension melt away.  Let your arms, legs, neck and shoulders relax.

*Close your eyes.

And just focus on your breath.  If you have a busy mind, this will be difficult.  As you inhale, think "inhale" and as you exhale, think "exhale".

*Pay attention to your body.  How does the chair feel under your arms?  Are you cold?  Hot?  Is the air around you still or is there a breeze.  Acknowledge how you are feeling, what you are hearing.
If you are like me, every few breaths your "regular" thoughts will creep in.  "What should I make for dinner?"  "I should go vacuum."  Acknowledge the thought, but then place it to the side and continue to just think about your breathing, relaxing the muscles if needed when they tense up.  If a certain worrisome thought continually pops into your mind think on that.

Here's an example:

You are doing your quiet breathing but you keep thinking about how you need to lose 10 pounds.  This is the perfect time to think about that!   Ask yourself why you need to lose 10 pounds.  Is it health related?  Is it because none of your clothes fit anymore?  Ask yourself how you gained the weight and why you haven't lost it.  No time to eat right?  Too many sweets and not enough veggies?  Ask the questions, then answer the questions.  You don't have to solve the issue, just address it.

Before you know it the time will go off.  Hopefully you are feeling a little more relaxed and refreshed.  As for those worrisome thoughts?  Now is the time to devise a plan.  What answers did you give while you were relaxing and breathing?  Think of those answers, what is standing in your way, and make changes.  

Geez, I feel like this is just the tip of the iceberg, and it really is.  The most important thing, though, is to give yourself just a little time each day to breathe and think.  Maybe you only have 5 minutes, and that is okay.

Would you like for me to talk more about quiet meditation?  Let me know.  I am in no way an expert but I can definitely share what works, and what doesn't work, for me!

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