Meditation is one of the most useful and effective methods of dealing with stress and anxiety. However, it is not something that everyone enjoys doing. That has a lot to do with how we perceive and what we define as meditation.
A lot of people associate mediation with sitting cross-legged on the floor in yoga pants with pinched fingers humming, “OMMMM,” and surely that is a form of meditation, but it is not the only way. The purpose of meditation is to clear one’s mind completely and to find one’s center, so when it is time to focus the mind is clear, rejuvenated, and ready to cease the day. The goal of meditation, in short, is to empty your mind so it is free from clutter.
There are lots of ways to do this. You could meditate in the traditional sense, by sitting and chanting, doing yoga, listening to chants or hymns, and following guided meditations--many of which are available on Spotify, Audible, and YouTube. My sons, for example, love to listen to guided meditations by New Horizon Holistic Centre on Spotify before bed. However, everyone is different and so these methods do not appeal to everyone.
If you are someone who just can’t get into the traditional methods of meditation, start by making a list of things that you enjoy doing. Do you like to read? Do you like to write, make art, dance? What is something you would enjoy doing every day?
Now that you have made your list, pick your top few, then try to think of a repetitive action you could do just as well today as you could tomorrow, or even next year. If you like to dance, your repetitive action could be following a specific dance routine. If you like art, you could color mandalas or other coloring pages. If you like to be outside, taking walks could be your repetitive action.
Now pick one action you can enjoy doing for 15 - 30 minutes every day, uninterrupted. This is now your personal meditation. My meditative task is to double crochet rows with rainbow yarn. During this time it is important to disconnect completely from everything else. Turn off your phone, turn off the TV, do not attempt to multitask by working on something else during your meditation. You must become fully immersed in your action for it to truly work as a meditation.
Once you have decided on your personal meditation, make sure you pick a peaceful place to meditate. It is best not to do your meditation in the same place that you work. This may make it difficult to focus, because you will be distracted by other tasks you have to complete. Set up an area specifically for your meditation. This can be something you can take out and put away such as a mat or pillow. Or it can be something more permanent such as a favorite place in the park or a seat situated by a sunny window. Make sure your setting is comfortable and consistent. I like sit outside if it's nice, otherwise I sit on the side of the couch I don't usually sit to do my work. It really can be just as simple as that.
Soothing music, instrumental music, nature sounds, chants, and hymns may enhance the meditative experience, as long as they do not distract from your task. Lighting a scented candle or burning incense or oils may also aid the experience as long as they are not too overpowering. I love Lavender for this purpose, but my favorite scents are ocean themed candles. Find aromas that make you feel good.
Try to complete your meditation at the same time or times each day. It can be helpful to start and end your day with your personal meditation. Following up with a journal entry may also aid the experience. I only do my meditation once a day, first thing in the morning to get my day started. I like to follow up with a "To Do List" in my journal right after so I am focused on my goals for the day.
After about a month of your personal meditation, you may start to feel restless or bored. That is okay! Just start the process over and pick something new. You do not have to feel obligated to stick to one thing. Remember, the purpose of meditation is to clear your mind. Adjust as you need to in order to meet that goal.