I first got into meditating back in high school but back then I was elaborate with all of my routines and it was mostly to check a box on a list than to ameliorate my anxiety and promote peaceful living and general mindfulness. It wasn’t really until reading Living in the Moment by Anna Black that I really realized that I was trying too hard to perpetuate a certain image of myself and wasn’t allowing myself to be human, have fault and learn by making mistakes and being imperfect. I learned about different ways to practice mindfulness, not just through the physical act of sit-down meditation but also when going on walks, when having a conversation, when eating, brushing my teeth and just about any and everything else out there.
And being a college student, it can be incredibly difficult to find the time to dedicate to doing all of these things. Well… that’s the first myth. You can dedicate just 5 minutes to sit-down meditation but you don’t have to do much to practice this meditative behavior and mindfulness in every other aspect of your life. Here are some tips for how to do just this and promote peace in your life.
- When it comes to sit-down meditation, all you have to do is sit comfortably with your eyes closed and breathe. You don’t need to sit in lotus position, wear yoga pants and chant. But you can do that if you’d like. You just focus on your breathing — with a normal breathing pattern — and try to pay attention to your breath with a clear mind. When thoughts pop up, as they always do in our monkey brains, we just acknowledge the thought and let it pass.
- It’s nice to have a space at home used specifically for meditating but it’s not necessary. If you can, using a simple pillow or a chair in a clean and well-lit room is enough. If not, your desk at work or in biology class (before class starts) can be just fine too.
- Generally living slower is good practice so when you do have those extra minutes in the day spend it doing something good like reading, cooking your favorite healthy dish, tidying up and minimizing your life. And when you do these, it is so important to be intentional and to really focus on the task at hand and nothing else.
- When you do meditate, make sure to set a timer so you aren’t worried about going over time and aren’t constantly looking at your phone to see how much time has passed.
- If it helps, put on a guided meditation video like this one which is my favorite or even some instrumental or classical music to keep your nerves calmed and mind centered.
- Other meditation practices utilize scents so if you have an essential oil diffuser, my all means use it. And if not, maybe just dabbing some essential oil like lavender on your pillow or the carpet could really help in calming you during your practice.
- Make sure you’re drinking water or tea throughout to stay hydrated and keep your skin feeling amazing and breathable. And try not to meditate when you’re tired or after a meal.
- And the best thing to remember is that it takes time to build this practice. You’re going to get lost in your thought and that’s okay or only be able to sit for a couple of minutes at a time and that’s fine as well. Even after years of meditating all sorts of ways I find my mind to always get the better of me and I catch myself thinking about cat fur, where my cardigan is or what I’ll be having for breakfast. That’s okay.
Now get to relaxing!