I started meditating several years ago and have found the practice to be extremely helpful in keeping stress and anxiety at bay. A few months ago, while reading Wishes Fulfilled by Dr. Wayne Dyer, I started adding bedtime ‘I AM’ affirmation meditations to my routine. As I go to bed each night I close my eyes and recite my chosen affirmations, sometimes aloud but most often silently, until I fall asleep. Since starting this practice, I’ve been able to connect my rougher mornings to forgetting to meditate myself to sleep the night before. My dreams are also more vivid on nights I fall asleep meditating. Dr. Dyer mentions this practice in his book Wishes Fulfilled and explains that putting positive affirming ideas into your subconscious prior to sleep, when any tendency for negative thinking is turned off, can have a major impact on your attitude and life.
Not only do I perform the ‘I AM’ meditations at night, but I also meditate daily in one form or another. Regular meditation keeps me focused on my goals and what I am trying to achieve for my future. I believe the practice of meditation also builds confidence. I am centered and at peace with myself which doesn’t allow room for negative or fearful thoughts. I am often asked if I am afraid to leave and travel alone, or if I worry things won’t work out as I have planned them. I am not and do not. I am completely confident in my decisions, and allow the choices not yet made to come to me as they are meant to. Many times I get inspiration through my dreams.
Sometimes when I’m at work, I will sneak away to a quiet back room for 5-10 minutes of silent meditation, which is enough to get me through a tough afternoon. I’ve also had days I could not leave me desk, and will close my eyes, try to block out the sounds around me, and breath deeply in and out for a minute or two. All are effective to various degrees and I will tell you this, I am a much calmer person when I meditate regularly, and it definitely enhances my creativity.
I highly recommend meditation in some form and would like to share a few ways you can start today, using some of the practices I use. If it’s not your thing, that’s ok too, but I encourage you to try it daily for one week. Most people find it impacts their mood, attitude, and makes them calmer. I mean, one week of meditation never killed anybody and if nothing else it is super easy mentally recite a few affirming mantras as you lie in bed and fall to sleep.
Calm has a wonderful website as well as a phone app that has options for both timed and guided meditation, depending on your mood. When I first started meditating, I found the guided meditations helped keep my mind from wandering, though at times it still did and does. When you notice this happens, just redirect you mind on the meditation and don’t stress it. Practice will improve your focus. I use this app pretty regularly and I like to set a 30 minute timed meditation on my computer as I go to bed for the night. I set a nice calming nature sound and always fall asleep repeating my ‘I AM’ affirmations well before the end of the 30 minutes. It has definitely helped me fall asleep easier and faster.
I have been interested in Transcendental meditation for years and have recently been trying to find a teacher/guide to instruct me in the proper methodology. This form of meditation really requires learning from a trained instructor to reap the full benefits. Though I don’t currently practice it, I feel it is worth of mentioning since The Mayo Clinic and The Cleveland clinic, among others, have found this specific form of meditation the most effective for lowering blood pressure, stress, depression, and anxiety.
There is yet another form of meditation that people are often surprised by. It’s actually a creative meditation. Coloring. As in coloring books. The Huffington Post wrote a nice article this summer on the topic that inspired me to buy my box of colored pencils and print out some designs from this site. I’ve been eyeing this set of books as well, but they are almost always out of stock lately. Admittedly, coloring is more time consuming than taking a few minutes to meditate (at least for me) so I don’t find myself indulging much. With my preparations for travel, building several sustainable streams of income and working a full-time job, taking 10 minutes to meditate is just simpler for me right now. I can see myself doing some mad mandala coloring once I’m on the road though.
Finally, there is another form of meditation I practice that is extremely personal and healing for me. Not everyone gets it, but those who do will understand completely. The very best therapy or meditation for me is just being in the forest, on a trail or path, preferably near water or on a beach, connecting with nature. Indian Beach (my favorite beach in the US) in Ecola State Park was my go to escape when I lived in Portland. Since I didn’t have a car when I lived there, if I couldn’t make it to the coast, I would go to Council Crest or Tualatin Hills Nature Park. Both have forested hiking trails and are easy to get to by bus or train. I don’t have anything like that here in Phoenix and it is a great loss to me. I intend to make up for it when I hit the road in 2016. I’m completely convinced that nature can cure any mental malady.
I’m not sure if blog posts like this are of interest to anyone, but this is one of the things that keeps me aligned with my goals, so I thought I would share. Hope everyone had a greet week and the Christmas plans are coming together nicely!