In today’s world, very few of us have the time to stop and properly rest and relax. Most of us spend our time going from one activity to the other as if we’re nothing more than a busy bee in a giant hive. The problem with this lifestyle is that we’re all slowly wearing ourselves down to nothing. Our bodies need the rest that we deny them so often in order to properly recharge and heal. There are, however, quick forms of rest that can help to rejuvenate us and give us some much needed energy. One form of this is meditation.
Many people view meditation as only a spiritual and religious activity. While it is used by many religious and spiritual people, anybody else can gain the benefits of meditating. Meditation itself is only the act of using controlled breathing techniques to relax the body and clear the mind. Anything that would make meditation spiritual or religious is the individual, not the practice. In order to properly meditate, you need to be breathing properly. If you chest rises when you breath in, then you are breathing shallowly and improperly. If your abdomen rises when you are breathing, then you are filling your lungs completely and breathing properly.
Take a deep breath, inhale slowly and fill your lungs to capacity. When you lungs are full, hold the breath for a second, then exhale slowly. During meditation, you are focused on your breathing. Keep breathing like this until you feel relaxed. In order to focus yourself more on your breathing; inhale, hold, and exhale to a count. For example: Inhale for a count of 5, hold for a count of 2, exhale for a count of 5, hold for another count of 2 and repeat. If a count of 5 is not long enough to fill your lungs, make the count longer (but don’t hold the breath for longer than a count of 4). Keeping a count during deep breathing helps to focus you more on just that activity while clearing everything else out of your mind.
While you can use the breathing exercise at just about anytime in any place, it’s better to have a quiet place to relax in order to reap the full benefits of meditation. Any place that offers you at least a few minutes of privacy is ideal. Whether it be at home, in your car, in the break room at work or even in the bathroom, a few private minutes during the aforementioned breathing exercise will help you to relax. Sit, stand or lay in a comfortable position and initiate the breathing exercise. Relax with every inhale and let tension leave your body with every exhale. Even if you only have the time to do this for a minute, you should feel more relaxed and ready to face the challenge(s) that lie ahead of you.
One of the major upsides to meditation is that you can take as little or as much time as you want with it. Obviously the longer you meditate, the better you’ll feel, but you can still relax yourself even if you only have a minute or two. Another upside is that meditation can help you take your mind off of stress, or even pain (like getting a shot, piercing, tattoo, etc.) or can just help you to bring your mind to focus on a task that you deem to be important (like homework, housework, or a business project).
If you want to meditate to focus, just bring the task to the front of your mind after you use the breathing exercise to clear everything else out. Keep breathing and think about the task at hand. Tell yourself that you want to get the task done in a specific time frame, that you will keep your focus on the task and block out distractions until it is done. Keep this up until you feel ready, then get started with your task. This may be hard at first, but the longer you do it, the shorter the time it takes to keep your focus until you don’t even have to meditate to focus on a task.
To recap: Meditation can be used by anyone, not just spiritual or religious people. You need to be sure that you’re breathing properly by using your diaphragm instead of your chest muscles so that you can fill your lungs to capacity and properly oxygenate your body. You can meditate to relax by:
Taking a deep breath to a count of 5 – 10
Holding that breath for a count of 2 – 4
Exhaling for a count of 5 – 10
Holding that emptiness for a count of 2 – 4
You can use the counting method to focus on your breathing and clear your mind. Use every inhale to relax your body and let tension go with every exhale. You can also meditate to improve your focus by
Using the above breathing exercise to
clear your mind
Bringing the task you want to focus on to the
front of your mind
Repeating to yourself that you will finish
the task in a specific time frame
Repeating the process until you no longer
need it to focus yourself
Remember that you can meditate just about anywhere at any time and you can use the breathing exercises to simply relax yourself when you need to.