People often hear the word meditation and get scared. They think it is some zen/religious practice that they want no part of. Others think it is a waste of time. And still then, there are those who just plain think its weird to do.
Meditation, as defined by Wikipedia, is “a mental discipline where by the practition attempts to get beyond the reflexive “thinking” mind into a deeper state of relaxation and awareness.” In other words, it is going to your “happy place”.
Mental health is often over looked when people want to try to get healthy. Relaxing is an important part of being healthy. It reduces stress, and clears the mind for increased mental health. And you don’t have to sit cross legged on the floor humming in order to reach this state. Think of a place where you go that you are completely relaxed. Some people meditate in silence. Others in noise. Some in the gym. Others outside. Some by themselves. Others with people around. It all depends on you! Meditation is nothing more than blocking every stress that you have in the world out, if only for a moment, and focusing on relaxing and letting nothing get to you.
One question I get asked when I talk about meditation is “How do I know when I hit that mindset”? That is a hard question to answer. It totally depends on what your mind thinks is relaxing. For me, it is getting my mind to “vacation mode”, even for a brief moment. When I go on a vacation, I don’t have a care in the world. I don’t think about work, stress, projects, deadlines, or anything else. I am fully in the moment and am completely relaxed. That is the place I try to get to when I meditate. I can’t go on a vacation every time I get stressed out. That is why meditating is so helpful. If you get stressed, and you need to relax, a quick meditation session can work wonders. Daily meditation will help you to be less stressed overall throughout your life.
Still struggling on the whole meditation concept? Just try this for starters: Whenever you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, frustrated or anything of that nature, think of a few of your favorite things. It could be “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens” (I kid). Or your grand kids, your wife, a place that you love, a time in your life where you were on cloud nine. Whatever makes you the happiest is what you are going to focus on. So when you are feeling stress, focus on that one thing as hard as you can. Try to get yourself to actual FEEL like you are there in the moment. Listen to the sounds of that moment. Feel the feelings of that moment. For example, if your place is the beach, feel the sun on your face, hear the ocean crash down, feel the sand in between your toes. Really get yourself into that place that makes you happy, even if just for a brief moment in time. Your mood/mind set will start shifting and you will start to feel better. You will know that your stresses and frustrations are little things in life and the important things are really the only things that matter. Stress doesn’t solve anything. Take a deep breathe and get back to whatever you were doing with a fresh new mindset and start kickin’ butt.
So in order to start getting your mental health as good as your physical health, start trying to meditate once in awhile. It will help clear your mind and relax your body.