When you think of meditation, what thoughts are conjured up? Do you think of sitting in a dimly lit room for 30-40 minutes focusing on your breathing or another object of contemplation? Does this idea sound daunting or time-consuming?
While it’s always a good idea to take even just a few minutes a day to focus on your mental health and wellbeing, the truth is that sometimes life gets in the way. However, all is not lost as we’ve collated a few mini-meditations to help calm the body and mind.
Identify Your Stress Responses
It’s important to recognise your physical reactions to stress such as racing thoughts, an elevated heartbeat, a stomach ache, or clenched fists. Once you’ve noticed these symptoms, focus on what may be causing your stress.
Simply noting that you’re feeling stressed may help you feel better, especially once you know that you can do something about it.
Take a Few Deep, Deliberate Breaths
No matter where you are, if feelings of stress and anxiety start to take over, take a moment to close your eyes and take a few deep, deliberate breaths.
Deep breaths reduce anxiety, slow the heart rate, and reduce blood pressure, and even just 1 deep breath will alert your mind to turn off ‘flight-or-flight’ and focus on ‘rest-and-restore’ instead. Deep breathing is an easy, yet powerful way to re-centre and regain control.
Vocalise Your Emotions
If you’re feeling stressed, angry, or anxious about NRL Premiership odds, just saying these words out loud will move some of the brain’s activity from the emotional areas of your brain to the thinking areas, having an almost immediate calming effect.
Many people may not realise this, but putting your feelings into words has an immediate calming effect on the body and mind. At this point, don’t try and rationalise these feelings, just recognise them.
Find an Activity Which Aids in Mindfulness
Mindful attention can have an astounding effect on your mental and emotional wellbeing and can be done almost anywhere.
Whether you are walking in nature, taking a bath, or sitting in a meeting, take a moment to deliberately focus on the present moment. It may be difficult at first, so start with just 30 seconds of deliberate focus and go from there.
You mind may be adept at creating disturbing or upsetting scenarios and running these thoughts through your mind throughout the day.
When these thoughts arise, you can neutralise them by telling yourself that they are just thoughts and have no bearing on reality. Take a deep breath to diminish any stress this mental blabber may have conjured and re-centre.
Focus on Gratitude
Thinking positive thoughts will have a profound effect on your mental wellbeing, but sometimes it may be difficult to find positivity especially in dark times.
Instead, take just 30 seconds to focus on what you’re grateful for, such as your health, a close friend, or your children while taking a few deep breaths.