In this day and age, we are exposed to a multitude of factors that contribute to our anxiety and stress levels. Technology, schedules, demanding work commitments, always needing to be ‘on’, wanting to be a great mother, wife, friend… the list goes on. I think it’s more important than ever that we take time to tune into our bodies and focus on just being present.
When I started incorporating meditation and mindfulness into my life, I noticed a huge improvement on the days I felt more susceptible to anxiety or stress and I think it’s something we should not be embarrassed or ashamed about speaking of or reaching out for help for. At the end of the day we’re only human and we’re all the same…
Some of my meditations tips and tricks that I love and find effective include:
1. Deep belly breaths
I never underestimate the power of taking long, slow and controlled belly breaths. This has been so powerful on some of my most challenging days! It’s instantly calming and helps me get back to feeling present and in touch with my body. Simply breathe in deeply, filling your lungs and belly with air, then slowly release. Repeat.
2. Box breathing
This beauty has been a technique I’ve used for a couple of years now. It’s simple but oh so effective. It involves breathing in for 4 counts, holding the breath for 4, releasing for 4 and holding on the bottom again for another 4 counts. I repeat this ‘box’ rhythm for as long as I can, and it has an incredible effect on how my body feels. My heart rate drops and I feel a lot more at ease. I can even do this while I’m sitting in traffic.
3. Active meditation
I practice this if I don’t have time to sit in a quiet space and meditate with no distractions. I can incorporate ‘active meditation’ while I’m walking Dom in the pram, practicing yoga, brushing my teeth or simply walking down the street. It involves being completely aware of my surroundings and not letting the mind wander anywhere else. I focus on my body and where it is, the sounds, smells, and textures of objects around me. I can do this for up to 30 minutes at a time.
A great way to get more bang for your mediation buck is to practice ‘grounding’ while you’re meditating. I lay outside on my balcony or when I can on the earth in the park or at the beach. This immediately makes me feel safe and connected and there are studies that discuss the relationship of the electromagnetic fields in our body during this process.
5. Sand bag muscles
While I meditate I aim to drop all the tension from my body so that I’m not holding on to anything and giving my body a space to repair and restore. On every exhale I imagine all of the muscles in my body being heavy like bags of sand, dropping toward the earth. On every breath I feel heavier and notice this makes me feel so much more relaxed and at ease.