You have probably heard so many good things about meditation but you feel your mind resisting and whispering 'it's not for you'. Don't give in to your mind, instead learn how to tame your mind by learning how to meditate. The first thing to begin your meditation practice is START.
Choose a time when you would like to meditate and set the timer (the best time is first thing in the morning).
If you have never meditated before, then start with only 1 minute per day.
Make a habit to meditate in the same place every time.
Wear comfortable clothing especially around your waist.
if you are cold cover yourself up with a blanket.
If you are tired then it's probably better if you rest first before meditating.
If your tummy is full, wait at least 2 hours before meditating.
Regarding your posture, the main thing is to have your spine nice and straight and in line with your neck and head. You can meditate seated on a chair or cushion. You can also meditate lying down, however if you are a beginner it's easier to fall asleep.
Once you are in a nice and quiet place where you won't be disturbed, begin focusing on your breathing.
Your inhale and your exhale.
If thoughts come to mind and they will, simply allow yourself to observe them without interacting with them.
Bring your awareness back to your breath over and over and over again.
Focus your attention in the here and now.
Meditation is a practice where the mind is encouraged to focus on the breath, a sound or an object.
Meditation is a practice where the mind is encouraged to relax by simply observing the thoughts without interaction.
Meditation is a practice where the mind is encouraged to become aware of any sensations, feelings, emotions, sounds.
As human beings we are creature of habits. Every morning we wake up and start the day with the same habits as the day before, the week before and even the year before. Most of us are unaware of our habits. We do them whilst we focus on something else. This is the downside of a busy lifestyle when most things are done on autopilot. Constantly rushing from here to there and then back to here, only to realise that we haven’t even been fully present neither here nor there.
So, you got the message. Life is busy, this is the norm. You can hear people frequently saying out loud “Life is busy, life is hectic”, this the slogan most people live by. Ultimately, this is the line that instils a lot of fear and panic into the human mind. Nonetheless, it doesn’t fail its repetition.
Identifying your habits it’s not an easy process, when high traffic moves through your brain carrying roughly 60000 thoughts per day. Not to mention that 80% of them are negative. So, subconsciously, we are wired to have more negative habits. However, this is not all bad, because it doesn’t have to stay this way.
Like with most changes, a new beginning starts with awareness. If you don’t like your life change your habits. Start small. Positive habits empower the Spirit within you. Negative habits strengthen the Ego.
What exactly is a habit?
A habit is a routine behaviour which sometimes may even take place unconsciously because most people avoid being present in every moment. (Remember the character Robert from “Everybody loves Raymond” – he used to touch his food to his chin before eating. The interesting thing was that he wasn’t even aware of doing it until Raymond his brother pointed it out to him). The longer we practice a habit the harder it feels to let go of the habit. We hold onto our habits, because the habits have become us, and we have become our habits. Oftentimes you hear people say: “I always did it like that”. Now, this is relevant for positive and negative habits.
How is the habit formed?
The person who introduced toothbrushing to America in the early 1900 was the American businessman called Claude C. Hopkins. How did he do that? Charles Duhigg explains this in his book “The Power of Habit”. He wrote: “Hopkins created a toothbrushing habit by identifying a simple and obvious cue, delivering a clear reward and most important by creating a neurological craving.”
Why do habits emerge?
The human brain has evolved immensely with time and hence is looking for shortcuts to save energy. Scientists say that this is the cause why we have habits. It’s easier for the brain to create habits almost out of everything, because in this way the mind is free to travel into the past and into the future and then back to the past. Once a habit is form, there is no need to involve the brain in decision making.
Does a habit disappear?
According to science habits never really disappear. They are deeply ingrained into our brain and that’s a brilliant, because it would be terrible if we would have to relearn how to drive after every holiday.
How to become aware of your habits?
One way to notice your habits is to practice mindfulness. Choose one day per month when you are less busy and pay close attention to your daily routine. Start writing everything down beginning with your morning routine, lunch behaviours, dinner patterns and anything else in between. Do this exercise with an open mind and open heart. Leave behind any judgement or self-criticism. Perhaps start with an intention like “I would like to improve my life and become aware of my habits”.
How long until a habit becomes automatic?
According to a 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit. On average the study concluded it takes 66 days for a new behaviour to become automatic.
Why do we need positive habits?
We not only need positive habits but a positive attitude towards life in general. The pillars of a happy and healthy life are healthy and positive habits. Your habits are who you are 90% of the time. Imagine this: if you are into the habit of exercising every day for the next 5yr, then you are going to look very different from the person that would rather lie on a couch and watch the telly for the next 5yr, right? Ask yourself a few questions like: Is this my best life? What do I really want from this lifetime? I know I can do better than this, what do I need to change my habits? The more awareness you create around your habits the more you will want to change them. Good and positive habits allow you to reach your goals. Warning! You don’t have to transform all your habits at once. Start with one habit and work on it until it’s transformed in the way you want it to.
Self-care tips for introverts
As an introvert, you differ from extroverts in that, more often than not, you wind up feeling drained from social situations. However, being an introvert doesn't necessarily mean you experience anxiety in social settings. It's just that introverts thrive by being occupied by their thoughts. Therefore, self-care methods for introverts may look a little different than those for extroverts.
Nothing Compares to You
You shouldn't feel less of a person for not enjoying social events as much as others. You're stunting your progress if you compare yourself to others and spend time wishing you were different. Instead, try celebrating yourself and understanding that having time alone energizes you, for it can inspire confidence.
A Few Boundaries Lead to Freedom
If you're like most introverts, you may find that people try to coax you into social occasions, and you may have difficulty saying no out of guilt. It would be best if you learned to say no without feeling bad. Weigh which events are the most important to you, and attend those, but decline others. This practice helps introverts avoid personal burnout while maintaining a healthy social life.
Getting Out and About in Ashford, England
Exercise is essential to self-care and can be challenging for introverts who find bustling gyms stressful. To get some fresh air and needed movement, take up hiking or bicycling as a solo activity that limits distractions and allows you to focus on your workouts. Physical routines make you feel recharged and destressed. There may be times when you're unable to do your fitness routine. When that happens, taking a brisk walk at lunch, parking further away from the building, and taking the stairs can help you work in some physical activity.
Let Loose With a Creative Outlet
Creativity allows you to express your inner thoughts and emotions to gain introspection on your present state. Self-care activities, such as arts and crafts and music, have also been known to aid in preventing stress-related illnesses and are proven to lower blood pressure. If you want to try writing as an outlet, keep a journal for your hopes, dreams, emotions, and goals. Some prompts for your journal can include:
While most are affected by the state of their home environment, introverts are more susceptible to the stress induced by a cluttered home in disarray. One way to relieve stress is to take a day each week and declutter your home. When you're done reorganizing, removing, and cleaning, you'll find that it's a huge relief and reduces your stress significantly. In addition, the state of a home reflects on the resident, so decluttering gives you a better impression of yourself.
You can also take steps to refresh your home; even just a few small changes can make a huge difference. Try purchasing some new throw pillows for our living room or make use of pendant lighting for your bedroom or home office. Pendant lighting can easily add a little drama to your spaces without forcing you to spend a lot of money in the process. Whatever you decide, ensure that it’s something that will bring you personal joy and comfort.
Introverts Need Self-Care, Too
Introverts can practice self-care by setting clear boundaries with extrovert friends and family. As an introvert, celebrating your uniqueness and clearing the clutter from your home and mind are good self-care practices to adopt to live a stress-free and productive life. For access to more resources, visit Ashford-based Headcorn Natural Health Centre.