I’ve always been one of those people who truly wanted to be able to meditate, but I struggle with turning my brain off. I am constantly thinking, processing, and planning. Focusing on the here and now almost seems impossible. I’ve been through many mindfulness trainings and I’ve truly tried to meditate for extended periods of time with limited success.
I often talk with friends and my therapist about techniques to meditate and focus in order to cut back on the anxiety brain. I’ve had to implement several practices to calm my mind, and think of meditation and mindfulness as an ongoing practice in my life. Here are some things have helped me get closer to my goal of daily meditation.
Practice intentional breathing
With intentional breathing, I breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth. I’m not quite sure where I learned this. I think it was actually from when I started training for races like 5K’s and 10K’s. It helped keep my pace when I was running and made me mindful of my breathing. Now whenever I need to take a step back and reflect, I focus on my breathing and remember to go in through my nose and out through my mouth. If i’m being extra mindful, I’ll even count to three on the inhale and then on the exhale to keep my breathing consistent.
I try to do this as many days a week as I can, but it is not every day. I don’t meditate exactly, but I spend time in reflection and focus on positive affirmations. I use the I AM app on my ipad and then I write it down in my journal. I try to pick at least 3-5 affirmations per day to focus on. The simple act of writing helps solidify it more into my subconscious.
Lately, I’ve been focusing on the wealth affirmations. I’ve been in school and a student for a long time and I’m ready to start earning more for the work and effort I have been putting in. I’m using time to research areas to build this and spending time each day manifesting this and being grateful for what I have.
I wrote about Yoga Nidra in another post as well. Honestly, this is one of the best meditation techniques I’ve found that works for me. I have done many of the YouTube videos, especially during covid, but in person works better for me. I lay down with a blanket and a rest for my head and knees and listen to the guide talk through the meditation. I always leave feeling so relaxed and the worries of the day have melted away.
I have actually been quite fortunate to get the benefits of the paid Headspace app through my university. I’m glad that they saw the value in sharing this with grad students so they have a way to limit stress and think about their day. I use it primarily for two purposes. I load up the app and complete the short 5 minute meditations when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Anything longer than 5 minutes is really hard for me to do during the day. That’s why Yoga Nidra is so helpful because it’s a full body immersion. Then, I use their sleep stories at night to help me fall asleep.
I know I see lots of posts and books about successful people spending their morning meditating, but I’m still a work in progress. For now, these little bursts of mindfulness are helping me become more focused throughout the day.