Life is extremely hard and we all know it. Everyday, hundreds of stressors are thrown at us; that annoying coworker, the guy who cut you off in traffic, a rainstorm ruining your bike ride plans, negative thoughts from a social media post, or THE NEWS for goodness sakes. If we didn’t try ways to ease the mind, we’d probably all turn into psychopaths.
Some of my de-stress rituals include, a cup of calming tea before bed, weekly acupuncture sessions, lavender oil on my temples and regular exercise. But even these things don’t help calm my chaotic mind. Full of endless thoughts, my mind is constantly analyzing situations, creating new ideas, or just churning over the ins and outs of life. One of the many things I’ve always wanted to try was meditation. Heck I’ve been told by TONS of people that I need to get myself in check and give meditation a go. Finally I decided to give it a try, but I wanted other people to do it with me! So I asked our social media followers if anyone would be interested in joining along, and a surprising number said yes!
Pick a time during the day that you can allot 5 minutes each day to this challenge. It can be any time of day, just pick a moment during your day that you will be COMPLETELY left alone. Set a reminder in your phone, or on your calendar, to remind you to join in on this challenge, everyday, for the next week.
Each day, for one week, we will try a different meditation technique, lasting for 5 minutes (also set a timer as you begin the days meditation). My hope is that by the end of the week, we will have found a meditation style that works for you! Who knows, maybe you’ll even want to meditate for longer than a week.
Remember: Don’t get frustrated with yourself. Meditation takes practice, and I’m sure our minds will wander quite a bit during this challenge.
Day 1: Visualization. Sit on floor or cushion with legs crossed, sitting with your back straight. Stare at the wall or a lit candle in front of you. Anytime your mind wanders away, bring the focus back to the wall/candle. Do not be frustrated, your mind will wonder. Simply return your thoughts to the wall or candle and try to clear your mind.
Day 2: Breathing. Sit in a comfortable position. Each time you inhale, you count one number, starting with 10, and then going backwards - 9, 8, 7, etc. When you arrive at 1, begin again from 10. If you get distracted and lose your count, gently bring your focus back, and begin to count down from 10 again.
Day 3: Grounding. Sit in a chair or on the edge of your bed, making sure your feet are firmly planted on the floor. Close your eyes and begin breathing deeply. Imaging roots coming from the bottoms of your feet, growing longer and longer towards the floor, until they reach the earth. Once you are deeply rooted, imagine all the darkness and negativity leave your body, traveling down into the ground. When your body feels rid of all the dark energy, visualize white light and energy coming up from the ground via your roots, and into your body, filling up the space and leaving you feeling positive and refreshed.
Day 4: Positivity. Sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. Begin thinking thoughts of kindness, understanding, and love. Generate these thoughts first towards: yourself, then towards a good friend, thirdly towards a neutral person, then on towards a negative person and lastly towards the whole universe. If your meditation time has not run out, focus the feeling of wellbeing and happiness back to yourself and down the list again.
Day 5: Listening. Sit in a comfortable position, with the lights dimmed. Choose a relaxing meditation soundtrack, something to match your current needs. Perhaps choose a song that is happy and uplifting, such as birds chirping, if you've had a negatively charged day. Or pick the sound of rainfall to relax you if your day was hectic. Make sure the soundtrack is at least the length of your meditation, or put it on repeat if it is too short. Focus on the sounds of the music, generating the type of healing your body is requiring.
Day 6: Chanting. Sit or lay down in a quiet place, preferably where no one can hear you. The purpose of this exercise is to chant the same word, amplifying it as the repetitions build. Traditionally, mantra chanting uses words such as “om” or “so ham”. However, you may use whatever meaningful word speaks to you - e.g. love, freedom, understanding, happiness. You may need to try multiple words till you find one that resonates with you. Once you do, stick with this word for your chant so that it's effect can build up. Begin saying the word out loud, and then when comfortable you may move to whispering it, and eventually begin repeating it in your mind. Repeat the word at a nice steady pace. Saying your mantra too quickly will energize you and possibly cause your mind to wander. Repeating it too slowly will have a calming effect and may cause you to fall asleep.
Day 7: Embracing. Choose your favorite type of meditation and perform the ritual for 5 or more minutes.
Personally, I plan to give all of these a second try and find one that I enjoy, and continue this challenge for longer than 2 weeks.
Hopefully one or more of these meditation techniques resonates with you! Leave us a comment below to let us know how it went, we'd love to hear about your experience!
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