4 Simple Ways to Meditate

An excerpt from Ken Seeley's book ‘Face It and Fix It’

Truth be told, I don’t really believe in one set form of meditation. What works best to slow down the racing mind of one denier may not be as productive for another denier. I had one client in particular who was completely anxious trying to meditate in complete silence yet felt entirely stress-free once she began chanting her child’s name over and over again. For her, it was soothing to focus on someone who meant something to her. That’s why I think it’s important to find the right form of meditation that works best for you.
Once you’ve set the right atmosphere, sat yourself down, and shut your eyes, you need to choose something to focus on. Here are the top four easiest—and most effective—things you can choose. Each time you meditate, pick one and stick with it for a week before moving on to the next one. Once you’ve tried all four, decide which one left you feeling most relaxed, then continue to use it.

Your Breathing

Begin breathing in through your nose as slowly and as deeply as you can. Hold your breath for one to two seconds, then slowly exhale out through your mouth. As you inhale, try not to let your chest rise, but let your stomach expand instead—your breaths will be much deeper, and you’ll take in more oxygen. As you exhale, try to force your lungs to empty by gently pushing out as much air as you can. Pause, then slowly begin to inhale once again.
With each breath, try focusing on the air as it flows in through your nose and out through your mouth. Here are some tricks to help you clear your head:

•    Focus on your inhalations for a few breaths, then focus for a few breaths on holding your breath, then focus on your exhalations for a few more breaths, then finish by focusing on your exhalations to empty your lungs. Repeat the cycle.
•    Don’t count your breaths—just concentrate on what you’re feeling as air enters your nostrils, how your lungs feel as you hold in your breath, and how your lips feel as each breath leaves your mouth.
•    Try placing your hand over your belly to give you another thing to focus on. Concentrate on your belly as it rises and descends with each and every breath.

A Thought or Object

Instead of letting your mind race with random thoughts, give it one specific thought to chew on. The thought shouldn’t be a problem, an issue, a memory, or anything that will drum up emotions and other thoughts, but a simple thought or object that you can picture in your mind and concentrate on.
If you choose a thought, try to make it one word that symbolizes something positive, such as peace, hope, or love. If you choose an object, make it something simple and serene, or something that makes you feel good, such as a flower, a waterfall, or a blue sky. As you continue to meditate and your mind begins to wander, refocus on that thought or object to help clear your mind once more.

Your Body

Start by focusing on the toes of your left foot for a few deep breaths. Then begin to work your way up the left side of your body, focusing on each part of your body for another few deep breaths, until you reach your head. For example, after focusing on your toes, move on to your foot, then your ankle, shin, knee, thigh, hips, chest, shoulders, neck, face, and hair. Once you’ve reached the top, reverse the order and descend down the right side of your body until you reach the toes on your right foot.
Next, work your way back up your body, only this time focus on body parts that are behind you, travel up through your body, then into your arms. For example, after focusing on the toes of your right foot, move onward to your heel, your calf, the inside of your knee, thigh, butt, lower back, shoulder blades, upper arms, elbows, forearms, wrist, palm, and each finger. Then reverse the order by going back up in your shoulders, across into your left arm, then back down your body until you end up right back where you started—focusing on the toes of your left foot.

A Mantra

Some people prefer to prevent their mind from drifting by thinking about or saying a specific word or short phrase, then repeating it over and over and over again, either aloud or in their head. Any word or phrase that works for you will do, but it should be something that’s easy to say and doesn’t stir up any negative thoughts or feelings. (Your ex-spouse’s first name may not be the best choice, for example.)
The mantra I personally use is “Om Namah Shivaya,” which means, “I bow to my inner self.” If you’re uncertain what mantra to use, these suggestions may help:

•    Pick a sound that doesn’t make any sense but easily rolls off your tongue or is easy to hum.
•    Have someone you care about choose a word, which might have more meaning for you than something you pick yourself.
•    Go on the Internet and do a search for popular mantras. Depending on which style of meditation you find, many mantras have special meanings, so you may find one that relates perfectly to you.
•    Stick with the classic “Om.” It’s not only easy to say but timeless as well.

Regardless of which type of meditation you choose, the mantra you whisper to yourself, or the kind of thing you decide to focus on, the best piece of advice I can offer is to just listen to and trust your instincts. Don’t be afraid to try all of the options I’ve offered in this chapter before deciding which one leaves you feeling the most relaxed, energized, and focused. Your body and mind will let you know when you’ve found what works best for you.


 


Face It and Fix It: A Three-Step Plan to Break Free from Denial and Discover the Life You DeserveAn excerpt from the book "Face It and Fix It: A Three-Step Plan to Break Free from Denial and Discover the Life You Deserve" by Ken Seeley with Myatt Murphy. © HarperOne. Reprinted with Permission

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