Meditation is one of my favorite soul soothers, but I must confess, it can be so hard! Especially if you’re weathering a challenging season of life. Many of us will shy away from meditation because we want to avoid coming face-to-face with our fears and struggles. In all reality, this is when we need meditation the most. This was me the first couple of months after being diagnosed with two chronic, invisible illnesses (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome). Since I found my way back, I feel much more grounded and connected with myself.
Benefits of Meditation
- Appreciation for the present moment
- Breathwork – full inhales and exhales
- Fully aware of my surroundings and how they affect me
- Ability to calmly work through discomfort
- Mindful in action – speaking with others, eating, scheduling tasks and activities
- Feeling lighthearted, peaceful and calm
- And much more
Prep and Tools
You can meditate by sitting in a comfortable seated position or laying on your back. If sitting, I recommend a pillow or meditation cushion to keep your back straight and tall. You can also enhance with essential oils – try an uplifting scent when feeling depressed or weighed down and grounding oils when feeling anxious or spacey. However, these are not required! Meditation simply asks for your attention and breath.
Guided meditations can help keep the mind from wandering, especially meditations that are designed to focus on a mantra, affirmation, or expression of gratitude. These meditations are led by a teacher who will talk you through the practice, offering instructions for relaxing parts of the body, often with music or nature sounds playing in the background. The teacher will guide you to follow their words or create a visual image in your mind. Guided meditations are perfect for all, whether you are beginner or experienced.
Walking meditations are therapeutic, combining gentle movement with mindfulness. These are often practiced in nature, walking silently on a trail through the woods or along the shoreline. Take note of what you see, hear, smell, taste, feel. Allow your thoughts to pass without attaching to one in particular. Feelings of awe or wonder, gratitude, and appreciation often bubble up when giving such attention to nature. This meditation is helpful if you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious.
Loving Kindness Meditation
Loving Kindness is a type of meditation specifically designed to cultivate feelings of compassion, love, and acceptance. This practice has you repeat affirmations of loving-kindness towards yourself, loved ones, all people, and all beings. Affirmations can be some variation of:
“May I/my loved ones/all people/all beings be safe, happy, healthy, and free”.
Loving Kindness meditations can help resolve feelings of frustration or resentment, whether general or towards a particular person.
The beauty of meditation is there are a lot of varieties, so find one that works best for you. Even a few moments can make a big difference in your day and how you see the world around you. Do you practice meditation regularly? What is your favorite type?