Burn a candle and focus on the flickering flame as you meditate. Play calming sounds or just focus on your favourite sound, it will help. Counting deep breaths is another way to steer away distraction. Take 4-6 deep breaths or even more. Focus on one thing you are grateful for as you slowly push one mala bead at a time with your thumb and middle finger.
For the past 2 weeks, my days have been tireless and longer than usual. I’ve found myself just running from dawn to dusk tackling my day and running off adrenaline. The moment I get home, I feel drained, depleted and realize that my entire day was one big fat blur.
At some point in our lives, we all feel this way. Our schedules are maxed, time is limited, and our to-do lists are extra long. Squeezing in another commitment is nearly impossible. As we run-run-run and tick off the checklist, we are also losing touch with being present as the days pass. So, one thing that has helped me stay sane is scheduling time (yes, I actually put this on my calendar) to sit still and breathe.
Meditation helps to slow down a racing mind, calm the nerves, be more productive, live longer and fuller lives. The list goes on. But, this artful technique to induce consciousness and train our minds is not an easy feat. Our so-called “monkey minds” are hard to tame. It has taken me over 5 years to attain a calm and peaceful state in my meditation seat.
I have tried them all, but found these 4 techniques the most effective (and enjoyable) to help me get out of my own head and slow down.
1. Watching The Dancing Flame
I learned this technique during my yoga teacher training. Burn a candle and watch the flame flicker. Not only is it beautiful to watch, but also very calming and instantly relaxes you.
2. Focusing On Sound
Sound association transports us to a fond memory. My favorites are sounds of the ocean and rainfall. These sounds take me to a serene space that relaxes my mind and removes all worrisome thoughts. There are several great apps with a wide selection of calming sounds like a waterfall, rain drops, and crashing ocean waves. Music is a great way to tune you out.
3. Counting Breath
Close your eyes, inhale deeply through the nose for 4 counts and exhale slow and full for 6-8 counts. Repeat this procedure. A very common and simple technique, but it does take more focus as your mind can easily steer away. If it does, no worries, just stop and start again.
4. Mala Beads And Gratitude
Sit comfortably with your mala beads and think of one thing you are grateful for. Focus on that gratitude as you slowly push one bead at a time with your thumb and middle finger. Retrace the beads when you complete the string as many times as you’d like.
I know it may sound counterproductive to schedule yet another commitment in your day, but remember that meditation is essentially resting the mind. So, even if for just 2 minutes you capture the moment of being still and centered, you have achieved a different state of consciousness that is outside your normal waking state or in this case, a frantic holiday state.
This rest will help you find clarity and be more present as you chug away into your day.