Mankind’s scuffle with time has been eternal. Every morning, when you have barely started your day, a list of chores awaits your attention. You mechanically browse through your office emails, rush through your meals, and head to work. Before you know it, you are in the race against time. Family commitments, workplace pressures, and the stress of routine chores only add to your burdens!
You cannot expect this fast-paced life to slow down. Life is getting competitive and the pressures are only expected to increase. Amidst all this chaos, meditation comes across as an obvious solution. Daily meditation is a positive habit that must be developed. This simple ritual helps settle your mind and calms you down so that you can deal with stressful situations.
Here are five popular styles of meditation to perform when you feel the pressures of life getting to you:
1. Mindfulness Meditation
In this form of meditation, you focus on the present moment. It involves non-judgmental observation of your thoughts and emotions. Mindfulness meditation is extremely popular as it can be practiced anywhere. Whether you are at your workplace or in a park, you merely need to be aware of your surroundings. In this state of awareness, various thoughts will float around you and you need to be a silent spectator to them.
When practicing mindfulness, you are not focusing on a particular object. You are letting your mind become fluid and allowing your thoughts to flow. This technique helps ease anxiety and mental stress. A team of researchers from the John Hopkins University, Baltimore collated over 19,000 studies that suggest that mindful meditation has positive effects on psychological issues like fear, anxiety, and depression.
Practice: Maintain comfortable posture and pay close attention to your breathing. You may close your eyes, but that’s optional. Be mindful of all that’s happening around you. If you get distracted by the surroundings, try and get your mind back to mindful breathing. Observe each and every thought that comes to your mind. Do not react to them at this point. Observe them and let go.
2. Spiritual Meditation
This form of meditation is suited to those who frequently participate in spiritual activities like praying. Spiritual meditation involves making the Almighty the object of focus. Zen meditation is quite popular among those who practice Buddhism. The practitioner is expected to maintain a passive attitude throughout the session. They experience their emotions rather than try to control them.
Practice: During this type of meditation, you need to work towards staying awake. The entire process can make you feel drowsy, but remember that your objective is to get closer to your inner self. Choose a posture that is comfortable. You may sit upright on a chair or lean against a wall. Close your eyes and stay calm for a few moments. Feel your muscles relax. Acknowledge the thoughts crossing your mind and the issues you are facing and let them pass. Feel these thoughts entering and leaving your body as you breathe.
Think about augmenting your personal spirituality quotient. What is that matters to you? For example, if you find meaning in a prayer, start repeating that prayer when meditating. It can be a word like “God” or a phrase like “God is Love.” Each time you breathe out, utter these words. As you continue doing this, you will experience calmness. Slowly get back to the present. Be aware of your surroundings. Stretch if you like and enjoy the feeling.
Initially, you may practice this for 10 minutes. With regular practice, you will be able to sit for a longer duration.
You can use meditation to visualize and achieve your goals. Doesn’t that make you feel powerful? This form of meditation helps you visualize your aspirations and leads you to making them real. You set goals so that you achieve an end result. This ‘end result’ is nothing but your vision. Once you are clear about your vision, you can set goals that act as a catalyst towards realizing it.
Practice: Choose an area of life where you have been struggling for some time. Think of the highest/best possible outcome that you desire in this area. Don’t limit yourself, but be realistic. Think of one goal that will take you closer to this vision within the next three months. Sit in a quiet place, close your eyes and relax. Imagine a life where you have achieved everything you planned. Create a mental picture of this and live in the moment.
See yourself stepping into this visual representation and be aware of everything that’s happening. Enjoy and celebrate your achievement. Slowly step out of the image and feel yourself full of positive energy. Take a deep breath and relax.
Do this every morning before you get out of bed. Visualize the time you will require to reach the goal. At this point, you will notice how everything will support you in realizing it. Once you feel complete, come back to the present and write down the actionable steps that will help you realize your goals.
4. Movement Meditation
Meditation doesn’t necessarily entail being physically still at all times. If you struggle with being still for a long time, movement meditation is for you. Simply put, movement meditation involves putting mindfulness in any form of movement. Kinhin is a popular form of movement meditation, in which the practitioner focuses his attention on his posture and breathes when walking. The walking movement must be continuous. Ensure you pick a safe and quiet place like a park, a beach or the countryside to practice this form of meditation flawlessly.
Practice: Wear loose and comfortable clothing. Visit a secluded place and start walking while being mindful of your breathing. Focus your attention on the individual motions of your body. Notice the sensation of your breath. Feel the weight of your body. Slowly, your mind will move into stillness even as you are in movement.
5. Mantra Meditation
Mantras are basically words that are repeated or chanted loudly when meditating. Once you start chanting them, the words resonate with you. The object of focus here is the mantra. For example, in Yoga, the mantra “Om” is often repeated and it causes a deep vibration within us that helps the mind concentrate on it.
In religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, meditation involves reciting mantras or a specific word. As you keep repeating the same mantra, you will experience how it becomes indistinct until you reach a point of pure consciousness.
Practice: Choose a mantra that you are comfortable with. Sit with your spine erect and eyes closed. Then, start by repeating the mantra with your entire attention focused on it. Use this mantra every time you meditate and feel its echo within you.
Often, challenges seem insurmountable either because of their sheer intensity or due to our own diffidence when facing them. With daily meditation, however, you get a better sense of the situation and your own abilities. When your awareness improves, you are able to overcome obstacles and find creative solutions to problems.
The above-mentioned styles of meditation will help calm you down in the toughest of situations. Incorporate them into your daily routine and see the change in yourself. Meditation will strengthen your inner self and equip you to face the various challenges of life.