Times are stressful lately, and while massages are a great way to unwind they can be a little hard on the pocketbook. Since money woes are creating enough stress on their own, it is great to find things that can help you unwind that don't cost a dime. Meditation is one such thing.
Meditation comes in many forms. You can focus on your breath, a single thought, or a mantra to clear your mind. You can also do guided meditation focusing your breath to different parts of your body, or guiding your imagination to a peaceful place. A great way to reduce stress, meditation is essentially about strengthening the relationship between your mind and body. How sweet is that? The goal is to quiet your mind by focusing on the moment, instead of your worries and stress.
If sitting with your eyes closed and trying to think of nothing sounds overwhelming, try to meditate for a minute. Simply sitting and breathing for only 60 seconds can really revitalize your brain.
For a few pointers for starting meditation
I have always found it best to focus on my breath. Find a comfortable and quiet place to sit — I find it too tempting to fall asleep if I meditate lying down.Then focus on different aspects of your breath. How it sounds and how it feels.
I have heard meditation explained like this: Your mind is a puppy getting paper trained/housebroken and the paper is the act of meditation. As the puppy, or in this case your mind, wanders off the paper you gently steer it back, which is your breath and meditation practice. Just as you wouldn't be harsh with a puppy learning where to "go," you shouldn't be harsh on yourself if your mind wanders. After all, that is what the mind does.
Set an alarm five to 10 minutes and meditate until the alarm goes off. No cheating or peeking. Just sit and just be — which is really difficult and oddly refreshing. It may feel like an eternity, but it will soon get easier to focus your mind. Practice in this case doesn't make perfect, but makes one simply more self-aware.
Shambala Centers offer classes on meditation in the Buddhist tradition. You can find centers listed by region on their website. If sitting still just doesn't work for you, think of your workout as an active meditation.