As the pace of daily life heats up during the holiday season and then seems to abruptly come to a halt, finding a sense of calm, relaxation, purpose and energy is critical.
Jayson King, RN, NTTMB, HN-BC, recommends a meditation practice as a way to stay in the moment, be present to yourself and others, and to be in touch with your surroundings.
Although it may seem like a foreign concept to many of us, meditation is a powerful tool and something everyone can incorporate into their life.
“There are many different kinds of meditation, and it is a practice you can bring into many daily activities of your life,” said King. Meditation may include walking meditation, sitting meditation, group meditation, consciousness of breath, and may even be incorporated into daily chores such as washing dishes or hobbies such as painting. “Meditation is a way of calming all of the multi-tasking the brain does on a daily basis. Research has shown that it actually calms your brain and helps your physical state,” he added.
Finding quiet in your mental state helps the mind, body and spirit through balance in the midst of chaos. “Meditation may help your body’s immune system by reducing stress, increasing attentiveness to daily living, and once you start a meditation routine, it becomes like exercise and you will miss it if you skip it.” King notes that taking as little as a few minutes a day to pay attention, find a state of relaxation and breathe, will offer immense benefits of greater relaxation, positivity and centeredness.
Tips on incorporating meditation into your daily life
- Set a reminder on your calendar to take time out. Even taking a minute or two out of your daily schedule to look outside at nature, focus on your breathing and be gentle with yourself has immense benefits. King encourages people to start by sitting on a chair or on the floor and then focusing on the present moment. If you make meditation a priority, you will find the time even in the busiest of schedules. You will find that your body needs and craves the time, just as you need food, water and exercise.
- Be gentle with yourself. It’s easy to get distracted during a quiet, reflective meditative state. Always be gentle with yourself while bringing yourself back to your breathing. Adding an affirmation or moment of gratitude can help shift our overthinking minds. Meditation can help you to become aware and to be more present. You may find that you become more effective in your work, your relationships, and other responsibilities and commitments.
- Calm and clarity. We live in chaotic times. Many of us live constantly connected through the electronic, high-tech world in which we live. Many people are still suffering from the effects of the recession. Meditation helps us remain calm, mindful and brings clarity in uncertain times
- Meditation takes many forms. Choose a style of meditation that works for you. If meditation in a solitary, sitting state doesn’t fit your lifestyle, try walking meditation, group meditation, or certain meditative exercises such as tai chi, yoga or breathing exercises.
- Be mindful. During winter months, the monochromatic landscape may seem dull and lifeless. But King says if you look closely, you will notice that even snow comes in different colors and shades. Also, nature is at work in the frozen landscape, preparing for the months ahead and spring.
- Use meditation for healing. One way to use meditation for healing of the mind, body and spirit, is to use an affirmation. For example, instead of focusing on the pain or illness, focus on the body’s innate ability to heal itself, and to remain calm and centered in the midst of this healing.