2016 Positive Thinking for Beginners

Meditation for Beginners

Meditation was completely alien to me when i began my journey, but once i discovered how good it felt to relax my muscles and calm my mind it very quickly became an important part of my day.

Relaxation is becoming lost art. In this world of busy, busy, busy.

Most of us have either lost the ability to relax or feel we that don’ t have time for it. If you fit into either category, then this is for you.

We may feel we are having down time when we watch a movie or the TV but are you really relaxed or are you thinking about the dinner you need to cook or the washing that needs to be done, that email you need to send or the comment that upset you at work? Our minds do not always allow us to relax.

 

Our muscles get tight and tense because our minds and nerves are stressed and frayed. The mind and nerves cannot relax whist the muscles are tight. To break the cycle, we have to work on the physical first and as the muscles begin to relax and let go so does our mind and our nervous system.

Trying to think clearly in a cluttered and busy mind is like trying to focus on and complete one task when your desk is covered in books, piles of papers, pens, notes, stationary and piles of junk.  Before you start work you would clear the junk away and tidy up the stationary to give yourself a good clear work space.  Meditation is a way of doing the same thing for your mind.  So if you ever find your mind is running wild with any thoughts though particularly negative ones, a great way to quiet your mind is to Meditate.  Now, if you have not meditated before it can seem a bit silly to sit still with your legs crossed, doing nothing, what is that going to accomplish?  Now don’t scoff... yes...  I am aware that for some people it’s just a lot of mumbo jumbo.  Even if that is what you think right now I would just like you to give it a try for a week or two, if you do it right that may be enough to convince you to keep going. 

There is no right way or wrong way to mediate.  There is only the right way for you and once you find it, the will be no stopping you. 

To still your mind, and focus on 'nothing' or just one thing allows you to have control over your thoughts.  Once you have control over your thoughts you have to power to make them all positive. 

Meditation does not have to be done in a sitting down, crossed legged or lotus position, you can do it when you lay in bed at night, first thing in the morning, you can do it running through the streets or walking in the park.

First things first… start by getting yourself comfortable.

Make sure the clothes you are wearing are comfortable and loose, tight or uncomfortable clothes will distract you and make it harder for you to fully relax.

The traditional meditation style to start with is to focus on your breathing.

 

Start by getting comfortable, make sure your clothes are comfortable, no tight waistbands or cuffs, wear something loose and comfy.   Then sit on the floor preferably on a large comfortable cushion, or you can lay down if you prefer.  For those of you sitting up, cross your legs if you can comfortably, keep your back straight and relax.  Wiggle about a bit to make sure you are really comfortable.  When you are ready, without changing your breathing...listen to it... focus on it...

 

Breathe in, Breathe out, Breathe in, Breathe out, Breathe in, Breathe out, Breathe in, Breathe out, Breathe in, Breathe out, Breathe in, Breathe out, etc.

 

As you do this you will notice your train of thought drifting to other things, that’s ok, it is normal, as soon as you notice that you are thinking about something other than your breathe just acknowledge the thoughts then bring yourself back to your breath.  You will no doubt find yourself doing this quite a lot to begin with, don’t worry that is perfectly normal, as I said it is not as easy as it appears.  Just be gentle with yourself and steer your thoughts back to your breath each time.  As you practice this every day it will start to get easier and you will stay focused for longer without the other thoughts interrupting you.   

Progressive Relaxation Technique

This is a process of deep breathing and tensing muscles throughout your body,

do not hold the breath or muscles any longer than is comfortable for you.

 

 

  • Focus on your toes, give them a wiggle. Now as you take a deep breath in, tense the muscles in your toes and your foot, hold for a moment or two and gently and slowly release the muscles as you gently and slowly release your breath. Feel the tension leave your feet though your toes.

We are going to continue with the same process working our way up your body.

  • Focus on your calves, inhale as you tense the muscles – hold – and gently release both the breath and the calf muscle releasing any tensions.

  • Next is your knee and thigh muscles, do this by straightening your legs. Use your breath as you tense the muscles and hold before slowly exhaling and letting the muscles relax.

  • Now for your buttocks, deep breath in as you contract the muscles in your buttocks – hold for a moment or two and release, slowly and gently. Feel the tensions disappear.

  • Tense up all the muscle groups in your legs and buttocks – hold – and slowly release.

Take a moment to notice how relaxed your legs feel, can you notice the difference from just a few moments ago? Great! Now let’s work on your upper body.

  • Focus on your tummy muscles, slowly inhale and tense those muscles and hold for a few moments before gently releasing both your breath and your tummy muscles.

  • Now for your back, gently arch your back slightly and tense the muscles remembering to breath in as you do so. Again, hold for a moment or two and the gently release.

  • Give you attention next to your shoulders, tense them by pulling them gently up towards your ears and squeeze these muscles firmly, remembering to take a slow deep breath and hold before releasing. Feel the tension fall from your shoulders. Repeat.

  • Gently and very slowly turn your head from side to side twice, feeling the muscles loosen and relax.

  • Tense the muscles in your face, screw your face up like a prune whilst taking a slow deep breath, hold and release. Feel your face relax and soften.

Nearly done, just your arms to go. As you do this think of all the tensions you have already released, imagine any leftover tension is working its way to your arms as we work our way down the arms we are going release any leftover tension through our finger tips.

  • Let’s tense up the muscles on your upper arm, take a deep breath and pull your arms up to make those biceps pop! Hold and gently release.

  • Now for your lower arms, just bend your wrists inward (like you are trying to touch your inner elbow,) hold your breath and tense muscles for a moment or two, again gently release.

  • Think of all the tensions that need to leave your body and visualise them in your hands, gently make a fist with both hands, take a full deep breath and hold and think of all the tensions you are holding in your hands. When you are ready, gently and slowly begin to exhale whilst you unfurl your hands, releasing all the tensions you have been holding onto. Visualise them flooding out of your fingers, leaving your whole body relaxed.

Take one or two deep slow deep breaths as you notice how relaxed feels to you.

Take a few moments to enjoy your relaxed state before opening your eyes, or drift off into a relaxed sleep.

Walking Meditation

 

If you still find it hard to sit still whilst meditating, or find it hard to focus, you could try walking or running, although you have to think about where you are going, many people who run love it because they ‘switch off’ whist they are running and manage to forget about the bills that need paying, the dinner that needs to be cooked, the washing that’s still in the washing machine that they forgot to put on the line this morning.  Their only focus is the rhythm of their feet pounding on the pavement and the possibly the music in their ear.  It’s a very effective way of providing a positive experience that is good for both your body and mind at the same time.  Walking can work as well but you have to get into a good rhythm, slow dawdling will unlikely get you the focus we are looking for to clear your mind.

 

Turn you next walk into a mindfulness meditation by turning your attentions to your environment, instead of letting your mind go over the events of the day, or planning for tomorrow.  You can do this regardless of where you are walking, it doesn't matter if you are in the countryside, suburbia or the middle of a big city, there is beauty in every environment.

 

As you walk take the time to look at and acknowledge the sights around you:

 

  • notice the size and shape of the trees

  • the flowers in bloom, notice the colours, the shape of the petals

  • the buildings or houses, do they all look the same or are they unique?

  • the clouds in the sky, are they billowing cotton candy ones or wispy ones?

  • the colours around you?

 

 

The sounds, what can you hear?

 

  • are there birds chirping or crowing?

  • children laughing?

  • raised voices ?

  • a squeaky toy?

  • dogs barking?

  • the traffic whizzing by?

  • the train going by in the distance?

 

The smells, what can you smell as you take your walk?

 

  • does the air smell fresh and clean?

  • is there a damp smell left after the rain?

  • can you smell the freshly cut grass?

  • the BBQ cooking from the house down the street?

  • the animals in the field?

 

Also notice how you feel:

 

  • can you feel the sun on your skin?

  • the breeze through your hair?

  • is the air damp from the rain?

 

As you focus your attention on all of the things around you using as many of your senses as you can you are keeping yourself right in the present moment.

Try each of these meditations and discover which one is for you, or you could download a guided mediation and let that help calm your mind.