Sometimes we can get so into meditation and mindfulness that we forget to just relax and have fun with it. This doesn’t have to be the case, and even if you normally do take your practice seriously, it’s important to take time out of your schedule to enjoy the little things in life – especially when you can fit them into your meditation and mindfulness practice! If you’re not sure where to start, here are some benefits of meditation and mindfulness that can help you move away from taking your practice too seriously and ease up on your stress levels at the same time.
1) Take five minutes
The five-minute routine is a great place to start if you’re new to meditation. It can take several sessions for your brain to quiet down, so don’t give up right away. If your mind keeps wandering during meditation, don’t worry—just bring it back each time it wanders. This will improve with practice.
2) Focus on your breath
This is probably one of the most basic meditation techniques, but it’s still very effective. The idea here is that you’re focusing your attention on your breathing, not necessarily trying to control it, just letting thoughts come and go as they will. When you begin focusing on your breath, thoughts will come rushing in—but don’t panic! Stay focused on your breathing.
3) Use your senses
Whether you’re meditating or just paying attention to your present surroundings, you want to bring as many of your senses into play as possible. Sure, seeing and hearing are great ways to go, but what about taste? Or touch? Or smell? Close your eyes and inhale deeply: What do you smell? What does it remind you of? This exercise will help direct all your focus toward what’s happening right now—which, ironically enough, is exactly where we need it.
4) Meditate without distractions
Meditation doesn’t have to be serious business. As long as you’re focusing on your breath, you can listen to music, look at a picture, or focus on the flame of a candle. The key is having focus—you don’t want outside noises or other thoughts distracting you from your meditation practice. Research has shown how important it is for happiness, memory, focus, even weight loss! If you wish to try to learn to meditate, take a moment today and try something new—like listening to some inspiring music while you breathe deeply.