3 ways to meditate effectively
By definition, the word meditate means to "think deeply or focus one's mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation." Yet, anyone who's ever meditated knows the act of meditating is so powerful, merely putting it into words doesn't do it justice.
Over the past few years, I've meditated more frequently due to the rigors and stress of life. Often, I sought an outlet to gain clarity and free my mind of its worrisome nature. With the right frame of mind, meditation can work wonders. Throughout that time, I attempted various meditation techniques and aimed to find the best one that worked for me.
In my experiences, these are 3 of the most effective ways to meditate:
Breathing: Without a shadow of a doubt, the most critical aspect of meditation is breathing. Meditation without breathing is asinine. Meditating requires you to focus on, control, and change your breath's rhythms. As humans, we only use 30% of our lung capacity. Meaning, every day, 70% of our ability to breathe goes unused.
There's almost a mystical or magical aspect of breathing. Naturally, when you take a deep breath, your heart rate slows, and more oxygen enters your bloodstream, allowing you to feel a sense of calmness. If your mind ever starts racing, and you feel anxious, a deep breathing session is the best way to go.
Being alone: Another crucial facet to meditating is isolating yourself. We are continually planning and completing tasks throughout our busy, hectic lives. That to-do list on your nightstand keeps on growing, and it seems every time you cross an item off, you add another. We've all been there. However, with the rapid pace of life comes sensory overload. Your boss asks you to complete another project, your kids ask you for a snack ten times, or your friend wants you to help them with something. All of these scenarios equal sensory overload.
You are one person, and you can only do so much. Give yourself time to be alone. Being alone is typically the most overlooked way to meditate. There's beauty in being solitary with no distractions and nothing but your thoughts. Contrarily, many people don't like to be alone for this very reason. It forces the situation of you looking within to find your peace through value, prioritization, and anything else you've likely swept under the rug for the sake of others.
Mindfulness: Lastly, another effective way to meditate is mindfulness, which likely occurs when you are alone and breathing deeply. Mindfulness, in short, means to be mindful of the things that go on around you. It's about controlling the disorder of the mind by completely letting go of thoughts.
Instead of attempting to control every thought you have, mindfulness and mediation are about letting your thoughts come and go. Plenty of people, myself included, are always getting in our own way. We plan every second of the day, are upset when plans fall through and believe next time will be different. It's these very thoughts that lead to stress emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
Mindfulness is about much more than yourself, too. It's about being mindful of others, of noise, of anything disrupting your peace. Enter a quiet room, shut your eyes, breathe, and listen. I guarantee that because you are always on the go and never stop to "smell the roses," you will notice something you usually wouldn't, whether a sound, smell, or any other thing you can sense. It may be birds chirping, or the smell of outside air coming through a crack in the window, but it's these small things we take for granted and when we take off the fast-paced glasses through which we conduct our daily lives, we allow ourselves to notice them.
The 3 ways to meditate effectively include breathing, being alone, and mindfulness. But you'll see the absolute best way to meditate is to incorporate a combination of all three. Each aspect flows together and makes the others simpler. In some ways it's like yin and yang, you can't have one without the other if you truly want to get to a place of peace. You need to breathe deeply every day, sometimes you need to be alone, and if you have both of those things, you will be more mindful of yourself and those around you, culminating in effective mediation.