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5 Simple Meditation Techniques to Ease a Busy Mind and Relieve Anxiety
Meditation has become a trend. If you follow any of the thousands of entrepreneurs, founders, or lifestyle gurus on Twitter, meditation seems to be a common denominator of the perceived winners in our world.
Many of the world's most successful people meditate daily, including Hugh Jackman, Paul McCartney, Jerry Seinfeld, and the late Kobe Bryant. If Wolverine and the Black Mamba find meditation helpful, maybe it's something you should check out.
Mindfulness doesn't come naturally to everyone, and we need regular practice to unlock its full potential. Some people find meditation difficult because they expect to sit down, and as the Nike saying goes, "Just do it!"
The trick to mindfulness is acknowledging that it's not any single thing. There are multitudes of ways to be mindful that don't require sitting on a cushion and trying not to think about anything. In reality, it's virtually impossible for your mind to remain blank for even a short period. You're always thinking about something.
Meditation is about directing your focus on a specific activity while allowing the clutter in your brain to pass through unnoticed. If you're unfamiliar with meditation, here are some techniques to achieve the benefits of mindfulness.
Following your breath is probably the most popular form of mindfulness. It's a simple technique of paying attention as you breathe in and out. Pick a point to focus your attention on. It could be your nostrils, chest, or belly, and notice the feeling of the air passing to and fro. Take normal breaths and concentrate on them for a minute or two until a sense of peace overtakes your body.
To calm anxiety:
- Consider a deep breathing exercise to relax your nervous system.
- Inhale deeply for a count of four, hold for another count of four, then slowly and completely exhale for an eight-count.
- Do this five times or more until you're totally relaxed.
Take a nice leisurely walk in nature and leave your phone at home. Try not to think about anything other than what you see. If you walk the same path daily, challenge yourself to discover the changes in the surroundings. Did a tree blossom? Did the Ferguson's chihuahua see a squirrel? What do the clouds look like today?
Walking increases blood flow to the brain, relieves mental fatigue, improves creativity, releases endorphins, and enhances overall cognitive functioning.
Every morning as soon as you wake up and get your coffee, grab a pen and paper to write down your thoughts. Write as a stream of consciousness exercise before checking your phone or watching the news. Consider it a mind dump, and just let flow whatever thoughts arise.
Journaling doesn't require creativity or beautifully written prose. You'll probably never read it. This exercise is purely a mental process intended to release whatever is on your mind. Think of it as free therapy where you can vent about anything you choose.
Meditation is often referred to as a stillness exercise because you focus on an object, a sound, or a breath and remain perfectly still. This technique involves single-pointed concentration, and as your mind wanders, you redirect it towards the intended focus.
If you're listening intently to a bird chirping in the distance and then suddenly notice a tingle on the end of your nose, practicing stillness means acknowledging the itch without scratching. Your mind says, "Hey! We have an itchy nose," but then remembers we're supposed to be listening to the bird. After you switch your focus back to the chirping, you soon forget the tickle on your nose.
After a short time practicing this technique, you'll find yourself doing it on autopilot as your ability to focus strengthens.
It's unnecessary to have electronic interventions for mindfulness, but like everything else in the world, there's an app for it. Apps like Calm, Ten Percent Happier, or Headspace are valuable tools for people who struggle with mindfulness.
Apps offer guided meditations, videos, breathing exercises, and bedtime stories to help you get out of your own head. Many people find it easier to listen to direction instead of working through a cluttered mind for peace. A mindfulness app is a great place to start your meditative journey, and you can try most of them out for free.
Now that you know how to get started with mindfulness, what's stopping you? The great thing about meditation is that you make it whatever you want. There's no need to join a class or tell another soul that you meditate.
It's only between you and your mind. Isn't everything?
Anther. Male wellness where it counts.