How to Use Meditation to Help Overcome Your OCD

How to Use Meditation to Help Overcome Your OCD

To the uninitiated, meditation appears to be a relatively easy activity. Most people think it appears boring but easy. Meditation is anything but. Meditation can be more mentally challenging than taking a cold shower, strenuous exercise, or sitting through an all-day meeting at work.

The urges that cause you to want to check the oven, lash out in anger, count, or even heading back to check the oven again, are the same types of urges you must learn to overcome to meditate successfully. The urge to quit is great. Your brain tries to rationalize that sitting there is a waste of time and that you can’t beat your OCD.

I’m here to tell you that you can. I have.

If you can meditate successfully, you can do just about anything. Most importantly, you’ll learn how your mind works and how it tries to trick you into doing your daily rituals.

Build your willpower through the practice of meditation:

1. Start with just 5 minutes per day. (I know that seems like a lot of time to spend with your intrusive thoughts) but you’ll learn how to do it and it will end up being quite simple. Just sit in a comfortable position. A firm, straight-back chair is a good option. Leaning back in a recliner can work well, too. Just be certain you can be comfortable enough to remain motionless, but not fall asleep. Sitting on the floor in the corner of the room is another popular option.

  • Use a timer so you don’t have to peek at the clock.

2. Focus on your breath. Close your eyes. Inhale into your stomach and exhale those nasty thoughts. Breath in the light and exhale the dark. Count each exhalation until you reach 10, and then start over. The whole point is to only focus on your breath. Feel the air passing in and out of you. Just keep your attention on the breath. Notice the breath, but don’t think about it.

  • Be aware of your breath, but don’t have any internal dialog about it. Don’t judge it. Just notice it.

3. Your mind will wander. It’s highly unlikely you’ll even count to five before an intrusive thought intrudes on your meditation. It might be about your child, the dirty dishes, or wondering if you need to clean your laptop. Eventually, your focus will get better and will help you overcome the panic that is associated with OCD.

  • When your mind wanders, just bring it back to your breath. Focus on the light and dark.

4. Notice what happens. Notice how your mind wanders very quickly. You’ll probably find that you can’t reach 10 breaths even once without an intrusive thought. Also, notice your self-talk. You’ll try to convince yourself that this meditation thing is a big waste of time.

  • Just keep doing your best until the timer alerts you that the session is completed.
  • When the urge to quit hits you, just relax and return to your breath. This is one of the most useful skills you can develop. You can use it anytime you have the urge to do something you know you shouldn’t, cleaning the house or washing your hands for the 100th

5. Add 1 minute each week. Five minutes isn’t easy. Ten is even more challenging. Imagine what an hour is like. As your tolerance for sitting and focusing grows, keep adding time. Build up to at least an hour of continuous meditation. That’s an hour of learning to overcome your intrusive thoughts. It’s an hour of working through your fears.

6. Try to maintain the same feeling throughout the day. At the end of a meditation session, you feel pretty good. It’s the only break your brain gets each day. Try to maintain that feeling as long as possible. When you have an anxiety attack or are annoyed by your child’s dirty shoes, focus on your breath.

Your ability to concentrate, regardless of the distractions around you, can be built through meditation. Meditation teaches you how to overcome your OCD and intrusive thoughts. Your ability to focus can be developed. Meditation is a wonderful tool for building will, discipline, and strength of mind. It’s also 100% free!

6 Easy Ways to Be Kinder to Yourself

My Body Is Healthy, Whole, and Strong - Affirmations

Are you kind to yourself?

Some of the most generous, caring, and wonderful people in the world forget to look after themselves too. However, if you’re not giving yourself the kindness you deserve, you can’t expect to enjoy a healthy level of emotional and spiritual wellness.

So, how do you show yourself some much-deserved kindness?

Like most things, the transition often starts with something small. You can start by simply recognizing when you’re having a difficult day and giving yourself permission to experience your emotions freely.

Consider these simple steps you can take to be kinder to yourself:

Forgive yourself. This might seem simple, but it’s often the hardest thing for many people to do. When someone we love makes a mistake, we’re keen to jump in and forgive them. Yet somehow, we’re often too hard on ourselves and refuse ourselves that same forgiveness.

  • Although you might not be able to automatically forgive yourself as quickly as you’d like, it’s important to start practicing as quickly as possible.
  • The next time you find yourself being angry with something you’ve done, said, or thought, take a step back. Ask yourself how you would respond to a friend who had done the same thing. If you would forgive someone else, try to forgive yourself too.

Nourish your physical health. Nourishing your physical health requires a constant commitment. However, it doesn’t have to be as complicated as it seems.

  • For example, the next time you have lunch, ask yourself if you can choose the slightly healthier option. If you’re too tired to make something from scratch, ensure that you have some frozen meals ready to go, instead of picking up some fast-food.
  • Think about how you can add small bits of extra physical activity into your day too. For instance, could you walk to the store rather than driving there? Not only will you get some extra exercise, but you’ll also save money on fuel and reduce your impact on the earth too.

Get help when you need it. It’s easy to assume that you’re on your own when it comes to dealing with difficult things. However, help is often around if you’re willing to ask for it.

  • If you’re struggling at work with a range of tasks that are too much for you to handle on your own, speak to your boss and ask for guidance.
  • If you’re worried about your anxiety levels or mental health, don’t hide in your room and try to “get over it” on your own. Speak to a therapist or talk to your doctor about your options. Getting the right help when you need it can save you weeks and months of pain.

Spend time with loved ones. Want to make being kind to yourself seem easy? Spend some time with the people you love. They’ll automatically treat you with the compassion you deserve and help you to see why it’s so valuable to look after yourself.

  • If you’re beating yourself up about something, your friends and relatives can also make it easier to look at the problem from a different perspective.
  • Human beings are naturally social creatures. Spending time with others is one of the best things you can do to make yourself feel good and nurture your emotional health. It’s also a great way to prevent yourself from isolating when you’re feeling down.

Add self-care to your calendar. We often find it difficult to carve time out of our busy schedules for self-care on a regular basis. If you’re struggling to find time to look after yourself, it might be worth adding a dedicated “self-care” day to your routine. Mark it into your calendar just like a meeting at work.

  • During your self-care day, you can do anything you like to make yourself feel good. This might mean having a nice bubble bath and reading a book or watching your favorite movie. Self-care can even involve exploring things like deep breathing and relaxation.

Sleep well. Ensure that you get enough sleep each night. 7-9 hours is an opportune amount for most adults.

  • Sleep quality counts too. The better you sleep, the more you’ll be able to handle the everyday challenges you face, without feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.
  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine, a dark bedroom, and a comfortable bed. Avoid screens, alcohol, caffeine, or a heavy meal shortly before retiring.
  • Finally, when you want to give yourself an emotional, physical, and spiritual boost, grab your blankets. Some extra sleep can sometimes be a crucial part of resting and recharging in your day-to-day schedule.

Being kinder to yourself comes with a host of benefits! Do something nice for yourself each day, and soon you’ll be enjoying it as a regular part of your daily routines.

Understanding the Purpose of Meditation

Understanding the Purpose of Meditation


Many religions and philosophies advocate meditation. Meditation is also used as a tool in many activities and for self-help purposes. While all of these things might be rather disparate, the reasons for performing the meditation are rather similar.

Most of us feel we have a reasonable understanding of the practice of meditation, but many of us can’t really describe the actual purpose.

A meditative practice brings you many benefits:

  1. It’s the one time your mind really gets a rest. Your mind is constantly active. It’s thinking about ten different things every 15 seconds. It’s telling you that you need a drink of water. It’s worrying about your date next Saturday and reminding you that you don’t have enough money in your bank account to pay your cable bill.
  • Sleep isn’t any better. In your dreams, you’re largely acting and behaving the same way you do while awake. You’re still worrying about the same stuff during your dreams. Sleep is great for resting your body, but it’s not as useful for resting your mind.
  • In meditation, you create a space where your mind is essentially empty. In many forms of meditation, you focus on one, trivial thing and concentrate all your thoughts on that single item or idea. It’s incredibly relaxing.
  1. You learn how to focus. When you think of meditation, do you imagine someone sitting alone in a quiet room with subdued lighting? This is the easiest way to meditate, with no distractions. It’s like meditation with training wheels. But you could actually be meditating most of the time as well.
  • It’s easiest to learn to meditate under ideal conditions. Then, try expanding your meditation skills to other activities. You know you can really meditate when you can stay calm, happy, and focused on a loud, hot, busy, smelly subway. Don’t live near the subway? Try a long day with the in-laws.
  • Most of us focus very poorly. Imagine how much better you would feel and how much more you would accomplish if you could stay focused on the activity at hand. Plus, it’s hard to worry if you’re controlling the content of your thoughts.
  1. You can find answers. When your mind is running a hundred miles an hour, it’s difficult to find elegant solutions to your challenges. A brain needs a little space to find effective solutions to tough challenges. Meditation can provide that needed space.
  • Have you ever noticed that many of your best ideas have come while doing something that occupies your mind in a rather mindless way? Activities like mowing the grass, taking a shower, or driving down the highway with little traffic are great for solving problems. Your mind is occupied but free to wander a little. Meditation is similar.
  1. Meditation is healthy. Stress is incredibly hard on the body. Meditation reduces stress, lowers your pulse and blood pressure, and improves sleep.
  • Meditation can be done quickly. You’d be surprised how much more you can accomplish and how much more enjoyable your day is when you meditate for a few minutes several times a day. Five minutes every hour is a great place to start.

Meditation isn’t just for a yogi in India sitting on top of a tree. Anyone can use meditation to bring rest and peace into their life. It can also improve your performance. Learn to meditate and enjoy a greater quality of life.

Feeling Depressed? 10 Things That Will Help You Feel Better Today

Feeling Depressed 10 Things You Can Try Before Calling Your Doctor


Just as you don’t have to call your physician for every little ache, pain, and sniffle, you don’t have to run to your doctor because you’re feeling a little depressed.

Consider trying these strategies to address your depression:

  1. Take care of your body. When your body is poorly taken care of, your mind suffers as well. One of the best things you can do when you’re feeling depressed is to put some emphasis on your body. Eight hours of sleep, healthy food, and a reasonable dose of exercise can do wonders for your mood.
  2. Spruce up your environment. Feeling under the weather psychologically? It’s time to declutter. Buy a plant. Hang some artwork that you love. Pick up your bedroom and make your bed.
  3. Get outside. Fresh air and sunshine can be just what you need when your mood is poor. Go for a long walk and just enjoy being outside. Listen to the birds or your favorite music. Get out of your head for an hour.
  4. Play a game. It could be a board game, lawn game, or video game. Play a game and have some fun. If you can do it with someone else, that’s even better. Who doesn’t like a good game?
  5. Create something. Paint a picture. Build a deck on your house. Hang a shelf in the garage. Make a website. Bedazzle your jeans. Create a scrapbook. Create something and notice how it impacts your mood.
  6. Use affirmations. Fill your mind and attention with positive thoughts and ideas by using affirmations. Make a list of 10 positive things you can say to yourself and repeat them as much as you can. Whenever a negative thought appears, try using your affirmations and see what happens.
  7. Stay busy. This one is tough, because you likely want to sit around and do nothing, but that’s likely to make you feel even worse. Use your time wisely by giving some of the other tips on the list a try.
  8. Interact with others. Avoid spending all of your time alone. At the very least, find someone online to chat with. Ideally, find someone you can see in the flesh and have a conversation with them.
  9. Remember your accomplishments. Give yourself something positive to think about by remembering all the great things you’ve done. Relive that little league homerun, graduating, or finishing your first road race.
  10. Make a reasonable plan for the future and begin working on it. Depression leads to getting stuck. One of the best ways to get unstuck is to create a vision for the future and begin working toward that. It might give your mood a great boost.

Breathing Strategies to Effectively Manage Anxiety

Breathing Strategies to Effectively Manage Anxiety


It might sound odd to use breathing to manage anxiety, but there’s a good reason why breathing techniques can be so influential. Your breathing is the only aspect of your physiology that you can consciously control with ease.

Your breathing has a great effect on your physiology. Using the power of your breath can be an effective way of managing your anxiety. Best of all, it’s free and always available to you. It’s the most effective way to mange a body that is in a state of fear which in turn creates anxiety,

Follow these strategies to use your breath to manage your anxiety:

Equal breathing. This technique has been around for thousands of years in various yoga traditions.

  • Close your eyes and evaluate your normal breathing pattern. Notice how many seconds you spend breathing in and how long you spend breathing out. Do this for just a minute or two.
  • Now, slowly count from 1-4 as you inhale through your nose. It’s fine to breathe through your mouth if your nose is stuffy.
  • Exhale for the same 1-4 count.
  • Neither your inhalations or exhalations should be overly full. Just breathe comfortable, full breaths.
  • Keep the counts of your inhalations and exhalations the same. Repeat for 5-10 minutes.

Long exhale. This is a great breathing technique if you’re feeling panicked. It’s a very effective way to combat the effects of hyperventilation.

  • Part 1: Extend your exhalations for as long as you can. Try to squeeze out as much air as possible without making yourself miserable.
  • Then, relax and allow your lungs to naturally fill with air. You can do this by simply relaxing. It’s not necessary to actively inhale. If you’ve exhaled completely, your lungs will fill with air if you just relax. Continue for five full minutes.
  • After five minutes have passed, try this next exercise for an additional five minutes:
  • Part 2: Exhale for twice as long as you inhale. Three seconds in, and six seconds out is a good starting point. Try longer and shorter timeframes and see what effect it has.

Belly breathing. This is one of the more popular breathing techniques to enhance feelings of wellbeing.

  • Lie down and put one or both hands on your belly.
  • Take a full, deep breath (you’ll feel your belly rise) and hold it for a short period of time. How long is up to you. Start with just a count of one and extend it as you see fit.
  • Relax and allow your body to naturally expel the air. You’re not intending to exhale. You’re just relaxing and allowing nature to take its course.
  • Pause again for as long as you like.
  • Again, 5-10 minutes is sufficient, but you can always go longer if you like.

Alternate nostril breathing. This is another yoga technique that people seem to either love or hate. It’s a little more complicated, so it can be distracting. This is great if you need a distraction from your anxiety.

  • Breathe normally, but only use one nostril at a time. Gently place your finger over one nostril, and then inhale and exhale through the other nostril.
  • After you complete one breath cycle, close off your other nostril and repeat the process with the other side.
  • This process can be combined with any other breathing technique. Play around with it and see what works for you.

These are just a few examples of breathing techniques that can be utilized to minimize anxiety.

How you breathe can have a powerful effect on your body and your emotions. Learn how to use your breath to your advantage. The answer to your anxiety might already be within you.

10 Oddly Beautiful Natural Ways to Reduce Anxiety

10 Oddly Beautiful Natural Ways to Reduce Anxiety


Anxiety can take over your life without you really knowing it. It’s important to stay in touch with your inner self to maintain balance and notice when there might be a problem.

If your anxiety is severe or causes you to panic, be sure to see a health professional. However, for day-to-day anxiety, there are natural ways you can reduce anxiety by yourself.

Here are some herbs, tips, and techniques you can use to alleviate your anxiety:

  1. Passionflower is a popular herb that has been known to help reduce anxiety. For many, passionflower is as effective as some prescription drugs. It also helps with insomnia since anxiety and insomnia often go hand in hand.
  1. Self-Hypnosis. Hypnosis can be a great way to relax and get in touch with your subconscious. Self-hypnosis enables you to perform techniques on yourself instead of requiring someone else’s assistance.
  1. Proper Nutrition. Sometimes you may forget about the intense connection between how you feel and what you put into your body. Simply paying attention to getting a natural, well-balanced diet can help you reduce anxiety.
  • If eating right is difficult for you, be sure to take a multivitamin and avoid chemicals, processed foods, and caffeine when possible.
  1. Time Management. A hectic schedule can cause anxiety. Perhaps it’s time to drop some activities or manage your time in a more efficient fashion. Remember to schedule time for yourself to focus on activities that relax you.
  1. John’s Wort. St. John’s Wort has been used as a supplement for centuries. It’s a natural herb that can help with both depression and anxiety. It’s best used for mild to moderate cases.
  1. Acupuncture is an ancient art that can reduce your anxiety by enabling you to feel calm and relaxed. It involves the use of thin needles that are used to relax your muscles.
  1. Worry Time. If you feel that all you do is worry, it’s time to pick a worry time. Choose a period of the day – maybe 5 to 6 PM – where you allow yourself to worry as much as you want. Worrying is simply not allowed or tolerated during the rest of the day.
  • Every time you feel worries arise during other times of the day, tell yourself that the worries have to wait for your worry time. You’ll soon find that you won’t really worry all that much during your worry time!
  1. Studies have shown that regular exercise can reduce anxiety. Exercise produces serotonin (the “feel good” hormone), relieves stress, increases oxygen levels throughout the body, and relaxes your muscles.
  1. Pick a time each day when you can meditate. Find a quiet, relaxing place and focus on your breathing while you relax. Next, immerse yourself in visualizing that you are living the life you desire. Meditation can relax, inspire, and motivate you.
  1. Valerian Root. This is another natural anxiety herb. It’s an excellent choice if you also have trouble sleeping. Valerian root can be taken as a tea or a capsule and should be taken approximately two hours before you go to bed.

Whether you choose a natural herb, activity, or life change to reduce your anxiety, you’re making a good decision when you opt to go with a natural solution to your problem.

Journaling and Writing for Personal Growth

Journaling and Writing for Personal Growth


Journaling is a powerful tool that few people take full advantage of. It can seem like a silly waste of time to some. However, journaling provides a ton of benefits and a surprising number of highly successful people make journaling a daily habit.

You can learn a lot about yourself and gain a lot of insight into your life. There’s something magical about writing that thinking alone just doesn’t have.

While you can type your journal into your computer, most people find it more effective to use actual paper and write.

Use these tips to take advantage of journaling to gain insight into your mind and your life:

Review your day. Take a look at your day and make some notes.

  • What happened?
  • How can you use this in the future?
  • What did you learn?
  • What mistakes did you make?
  • How can tomorrow be better than today?

List progress toward your goals. Think about your goals and list the progress you made toward each. If you failed to do anything to make progress toward one or more of your goals, note that, too.

  • Be proud of the progress you’ve made.
  • Become more determined by the progress you failed to make.

Address your fears. Write about your fears. What are you afraid of? Why do you think you’re afraid of those things? How do your fears impact your life? What is your plan to address those fears?

Choose one way to enhance yourself. Pick something you want to work on and work on it. Write about it in your journal. Perhaps you want to lose 10 pounds or strengthen your communication skills.

  • Choose something that would enhance your life and write about your thoughts, plans, and progress.

List your goals each day. Writing down your goals each day is a powerful way to stay focused on them. Write your 10 most important goals each day and notice how they evolve over time.

List five things that make you feel grateful. What are you grateful for? Make a list of several items each day and notice how your perspective on life changes.

Write about the obstacles in your life. What’s standing in your way? List the obstacles in your life that you believe are blocking you from happiness or achieving your goals.

Make a plan for the future. Aside from your specific goals, what does your dream life look like? How are you planning on getting there? Think about it and sketch out a plan.

Write about what is causing you to feel negative emotions. What is getting you down? What are the situations, people, habits, and beliefs that are causing you the most grief? Why do these things bother you? What can you do about it?

List the best thing and the worst thing that happened today. What are these two things and what was so great or terrible about them?

Use journaling prompts. There are literally thousands of journaling prompts online you can choose to use at any time. Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • Make a travel bucket list.
  • List five things you appreciate about each member of your family.
  • Describe your ideal day.
  • If I could speak to my teenage self, I would say…
  • I wish that others knew I…
  • I wish I could say no to…

Journaling each day can take some time, but it’s time that’s well spent. Develop a routine that incorporates journaling into your life. It won’t be long before you begin noticing the benefits. Do what the most successful people in the world do and write about your thoughts and your life.


Healing Meditations Inspired by Band-Aids

Healing Meditations Inspired by Ban-Aids


It’s nearly impossible to get through childhood without a few scraped knees and skinned elbows. Just like you apply a Band-Aid when you get an injury to your skin, you probably have defense mechanisms you use to deal with other kinds of discomfort.

Your meditation sessions can be an opportunity to explore these habits and find out whether they’re working for or against you. Try these 4 ideas to help you get started.

Seek Temporary Cover

A Band-Aid provides an effective short-term solution. In fact, it’s a myth that wounds heal faster when exposed to fresh air. You can throw away your bandage once you’ve healed.

  1. Focus on one growing concern. Do you see trouble brewing ahead? Maybe you’re making minimum payments on a credit card and the balance keeps growing.
  2. Identify resources to solve it. You probably wound up in this situation because you lack the information or skills to fix things on your own. Figure out where you can find more knowledge and expertise. You may want to talk with a financial counselor.
  1. Take a long-term perspective. Consider the benefits of caring for your future self. Live in the moment, but save part of each paycheck.

Clean the Area First

You need to wash away dirt and impurities before you break out the Band-Aid. Otherwise, you’ll trap in contamination that will slow down the healing process.

  1. Select one relationship. Choose your spouse or a co-worker. What do you like and dislike about the way you interact with them?
  2. Come up with three actions. List a few things you can do immediately to strengthen your connection. Get home for dinner more often or share your binder clips when the supply cabinet runs out.
  3. Go deeper. This will clear the simple obstacles out of the way. Now you can be patient and tackle tougher issues, like building up trust or appreciating people with values different than your own.

Have Fun

You can enjoy life even when you’re sporting a few bruises. Kids like to show off bandages decorated with farm animals and action heroes. As an adult, you can turn your missteps into entertaining stories.

  1. Relive an embarrassing moment. Think about the time you knocked over a store display or spilled coffee on an important client. Ask yourself if you still feel angry or upset.
  2. Emphasize the humorous aspects. Learn to laugh at your mistakes. Figure out what they can teach you and move on.
  3. Share your story. Go one step further and let someone else in on the joke. Call your best friend or talk about it the next time you get together for coffee.

Pull It Off Quickly

Mothers and scientists agree that tearing off a Band-Aid with one strong tug hurts less than dragging out the process. You spend less time pulling on sensitive skin.

  1. Examine something you’ve been suppressing. You probably have at least one thing that you try to avoid thinking about. Is your car leaking fluid? Would buying a new transmission wipe out the money you put aside for your summer vacation?
  2. Prepare to take rapid action. Face your worries head on. Call your auto mechanic today to get it checked out. Maybe you can adjust your budget to pay the bill. Perhaps you’ll find out that it’s something less serious.
  3. Relish the feeling. Let the relief you feel after this experience motivate you to be more direct. Prompt action is usually the best remedy.

Bandages serve a purpose, but you can go beyond just covering up your injuries. Use your meditation sessions to mend old wounds and prevent future injuries, as well.

15 Ways to Be More Comfortable During Meditation

15 Ways to Be More Comfortable During Meditation


Meditation is good for your mind, but sometimes your body needs a little tweaking to get it to cooperate. These are steps you can take before and after meditating and during your session to relieve physical discomforts and make it easier to concentrate.

Steps To Take Before and After Meditation

1. Stay active. An active lifestyle and regular workouts will keep you in top shape for all activities including meditation. A supple body encourages a supple mind. Exercise also plays a big role in maintaining an ideal body weight that helps you to feel more at ease all the time.

2. Train for flexibility. Simple stretches help prevent stiffness and aches. Warm-up first to prevent injuries. Hold static poses and gradually extend your range of motion.

3. Eat light. Heavy meals tend to cause drowsiness. Select foods that are easy to digest and try eating smaller and more frequent servings.

4. Limit alcohol and caffeine. Depressants and stimulants affect both your body and mind. Take prescription medications as directed, but limit other substances that can make you foggy or jittery.

5. Dress down. Wear clothing that feels good. Garments that are soft and loose will protect you from feeling itchy or pinched. Bring along a sweater you can take on or off depending on the room temperature. Kick off your shoes.

Steps To Take During Your Meditation Session

1. Scan your body. Start out by checking in with your body from head to foot. Breathe deeply through your nose. Become aware of any spots that are tense or uncomfortable. Imagine your breath is healing them.

2. Minimize saliva. Our mouths produce saliva all the time but it can feel more conspicuous when you’re meditating. Pressing your tongue lightly against the roof of your mouth inhibits any excess.

3. Rest your arms and hands. Bend your elbows and place your hands in your lap cupped together with the palms upturned. If you prefer, you can rest them at your sides.

4. Lower your shoulders. Stress often shows up in raised shoulders. Gently lower them and press them back. This will bring your chest forward and make it easier to breathe deeply.

5. Lift your head. Hold your head up and slightly forward. This will take pressure off your neck.

6. Support your feet. Uncross your legs and place your feet flat on the floor if you’re sitting in a chair. If you’re sitting on the floor, center them in front of you.

7. Relax your eyes. Avoid eye strain and visual distractions by softening your vision. You can close your eyes or keep the lids barely open. Allow yourself to remain aware of your general surroundings without honing in on any individual item.

8. Shift positions. It’s okay to move anytime you feel stiff or uneasy. Settle into a new position and resume your meditation. Retrace your recent thoughts if your attention gets pulled away temporarily.

9. Get a chair. Unless you grew up in a monastery, sitting on the floor for long periods may be difficult at first. Pull up a chair. Pick a style with a flat seat and straight back that allows your feet to reach the floor.

10. Walk around. Walking meditation is great for beginners or as a supplement to your seated practice. When your body needs a break from sitting, you can continue your thoughts as you pace indoors or out.

Staying fit and maintaining good posture will enrich your meditation practice. When your body is comfortable, you’ll be able to sit longer and experience fewer distractions as you develop greater peace of mind.

Ways to Enhance Your Meditation Practice

Ways to Enhance Your Meditation Practice

Ways to Enhance Your Meditation Practice

Meditation can be an effective way to reduce stress, achieve clarity, and attain a mentally calm state. It allows you to view the world from a perspective that isn’t tainted by your personal beliefs and past experiences.

Meditation is simple but challenging to do well. It wouldn’t hurt to have a few tricks up your sleeve. There are several things you can do to enhance your meditation practice and receive greater benefits.

Try these ideas for ways to enhance your meditation practice:

Be consistent. Have a time and place that you meditate each day. If you want to maximize your skill at meditation, make it a permanent part of your schedule, like brushing your teeth. You always brush your teeth at the same time each day. Do the same with your meditation practice.

  • If possible, have a meditation-specific location where you meditate. This can be a spare room or a corner of the house that you can set aside for your practice. Make it comfortable and inspiring.

Have at least one longer session each week. While you can receive great benefits from meditating for as little as five minutes, there’s something magical that happens when you sit for an hour or more each day.

  • Have a session or two each week where you add five minutes each time until you’re up to an hour of sitting time. Feel free to go even further if you have the time.

Avoid expectations. You’ll have good days and bad days when meditating. There are days you feel that you could sit there for hours. There are other days when your mind is running wild, and it feels like you have no control. Both are fine. Just be aware and sit with whatever is happening.

Avoid meditating when you are fatigued. With enough practice, you can indeed fall asleep in the sitting position! If you’re extremely tired, you’d be better off taking a short nap and meditating at another time.

Meditate throughout the day. Sitting on your cushion under ideal conditions isn’t the only place to meditate. It’s just the easiest.

  • The real trick is to be able to meditate while sitting elsewhere, like in a hot, noisy, smelly bus. Can you focus on your breath and fully experience your surroundings under those circumstances?

Meditate on an empty stomach. It’s harder to meditate when you have a big meal digesting in your tummy. You feel tired and sluggish. Your best meditation sessions will occur when you’re alert and able to concentrate.

  • Try not to meditate when you’re excessively hungry either.

Minimize interruptions. Shut the door and let everyone know that you want an hour of peace and quiet. Turn off your phone. This is your time. Take control of it.

Try meditating with a group. If you only meditate with a group, try meditating alone. Most people have a definite preference but give the other option a try from time to time. It’s a different experience, and you’ll gain a different perspective. You might even make a new friend or two.

Whether you’re just learning to meditate or a seasoned pro, you can enhance your meditation practice further. Meditation is one of the best ways to relieve stress and increase your enjoyment of life. Consider how you can strengthen your ability to meditate and reap the greatest benefits from your meditation practice.