With the holiday season in full swing by now, it is really hard to keep a stress-free mind. It takes us more time and effort to keep things under control and keep a positive attitude. It certainly doesn't mean that you or I should give up though. In fact, trying to reduce stress and be more calm are key to a happy life. And speaking of that, this is also the time that most of us are drafting our resolutions for the new year.
If meditating is not on your list just yet, I urge you to add it asap. Here's why:
I started meditating daily over a year ago. And even though I wasn't noticing a difference at first, I can definitely tell now that it has helped. How?
I am more calm, more connected to my thoughts and just overall more positive. I am not saying I'm the epitome of positiveness now but I try not to focus on the bad things as much anymore. True, I still have my days or moments but they don't linger for weeks, like they were just about a year ago.
Meditation doesn't have to last for hours. I allocate ten minutes of my day, normally before bed, and let me tell you, by the time I'm done, my body and mind is so relaxed and ready to sleep that it takes me no time. And it has helped with my sleep quality too.
There is this misconception that meditating is about stopping your thoughts and trying to keep them out of your head. While everyone meditates the way they see fit for themselves, at the end of the day, it is about being present and aware.
While at first it was hard for me to be anything, I tried to take it day by day. In order to prevent my mind from wandering, I started focusing on the music. Every night, I'd focus on a specific sound playing and try to find it throughout the music duration - it worked. It taught me to focus and relax at the same time. I'm definitely not an expert now, some days I can't seem to focus at all but I still do it - remember those sayings - consistency is key and practice makes better.
Here are a few meditating apps that I like:
- Meditate Now - I use this one every day. The Becoming Of Being is my absolute favorite song for meditating. I put it on for ten minutes, right before bed time and I am slowly drifted to sleep. This song is perfect for the technique I described above of trying to distinguish specific sounds to help with focus. Their official website has tons of information about meditation, you can check it here.
- Headspace (Android here)- I have heard a lot of good things about this app, however, I found that guided meditation doesn't work for me - I simply prefer music. But, this type of meditation (guided) is definitely a great way to learn how to meditate, if you are a beginner. Check their website here for more.
Also for guided meditation, you can try 10% Happier and Simple Habit.
If you are like me and prefer music or even nature sounds (those are a great choice too), I have found on iOS tons of apps that offers those. See Sleep Pillow, DeepCalm, Relax Melodies, Relax Oriental, Relax Sounds, Relax Nature, Nature Scenes (my favorite), Calm (Android here). A great thing about most of these, is that you can combine two sounds at once and create whatever ambiance you desire - give it a try.
Have you ever tried meditating? Do you have a favorite app? Please share in the comments.
Until next time - Happy Meditating!
Note: I purposefully chose these photos for this post to promote a sense of calm. Slow down for just a minute and see yourself in this image, in that time.