For me, meditation is for when things get tough.
This month has been – oof. I have managed to reach levels of anxiety that I haven’t seen in years and it’s throwing me off my game. It felt like in the space of the last 30 days so many things have happened. My partner had back surgery. I had to go to court (just to officially change the jurisdiction over my brother’s guardianship. Nothing scary but it felt scary). It was my first time in a real courtroom.
The day before court, I was like “I am going to take a relaxing, hot bubble bath to help soothe my anxiety.” annnd then I dropped my phone on the bathroom floor and the screen shattered (completely ignoring the magic powers of my heavy duty phone case that has survived hundreds of drops.) Our AC went out and we’re having it replaced but that involved multiple phone calls and estimates. Thankfully it looks like the hot days are over for now. And through all of that my husband’s father passed away. They had been estranged for a long time but you know how grief is.
Navigating all of those things has been hard for me.
It’s been overwhelming and stressful and I’ve honestly struggled to cope. So I turn to meditation.
For the many, many, years that I’ve been meditating, I have always wanted to be the type of person who has a regular meditation practice. But I am not that person. Meditation is something that I do when my anxiety levels are maxed out. And you know what? That’s okay! Having a regular or daily practice would be great (and super beneficial) but it’s also okay to just meditate when you need to.
Let’s talk about all of the ways you can meditate.
“Meditation is an umbrella term for the many ways to achieve a relaxed state of being. There are many types of meditation and relaxation techniques that have meditation components. All share the same goal of achieving inner peace.” – Mayo Clinic
Many people understand meditation to be sitting quietly, breathing, and/or chanting “Om”.
For people who have brains that are difficult to quiet, there are so many other great ways to achieve that state of calm!
Guided meditation involves listening to a soothing voice talk you through the relaxation process.
Guided imagery/visualization helps you build relaxing places in your brain. You can even build a mental place where you go to meditate like a field at sunrise or a tiny, cozy, cottage.
You can meditate and listen to nature sounds or your favorite kind of music.
You can meditate when moving your body. Dancing, walking, yoga, or Tai chi.
Simple mindfulness by noticing the things around you.
A body scan meditation is when you bring your awareness to your body and focus on the feelings and sensations that you’re experiencing.
Meditative journaling while just writing down all of the thoughts that are in your head without thinking about them or worrying about whether it makes sense or how good your grammar is.
Prayer or mala beads or holding/moving small things in your hand can give you a focal point for your attention and allow you to relax mind and body.
Lately, I’ve been using the Oculus Virtual Reality headset to meditate. There are some great apps/games that have relaxing nature scenes and calming music and even guided meditations.