Meditation can provide health benefits ranging from stress reduction to improved concentration. However, I’ve not mastered levitating and with the chaos of two little kids, I doubt that will happen anytime soon! There are some simple ways to meditate though that don’t require a ton of time and don’t require silence. That’s good because our house is generally a den of voices, singing, classy musical instruments (mainly the bottom of oatmeal canisters), and crying. Plus, there’s the added bonus of all that silence during traditional meditation just being a good time for me to go to sleep and fall over, which I would like to avoid!
So how does it work? Well, there’s no lotus pose with legs akimbo and hands on your knees required, which is handy because my legs don’t enjoy that at all. Instead, you can sit in your favorite comfy chair. Try to sit in such a way that your head and neck are relaxed, resting your hands in your lap…or on your knees if you go in for that.
Quiet isn’t required. In fact, mindful meditation allows you to embrace the sounds that surround you. Instead of them being a distraction, you can imagine them away or be grateful for what they represent. For example, the sound of your dishwasher running means you’re not scrubbing pots and pans right now. Check off those items by expressing gratitude for them when you meditate. The air conditioner running might mean you’ll be paying Ameren soon, but it also means you aren’t melting into a puddle of goo while sitting in your comfy chair.
If you do have the luxury of quiet, great. Either way, once you’ve accounted for the noise or lack of it, you can start to mentally relax your body. You do this by focusing on each part in turn. Take nice even breaths and think about your head; eyebrows furrowed? squinting? teeth clenched? Release all the tension that you identify as you exhale. Move down your body to your neck, shoulders (I’m amazed at how many times I find mine riding up around my ears!), chest, back, etc. If you need to wiggle a little to determine if your muscles are tensed, that is okay too.
That’s it! You’ve now officially meditated. You can take it further by trying to clear your mind, relaxing your muscles, and controlling your breathing. Those tend to take time though, so don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t happen the first time around.
There are also apps that you can get that take you through guided meditation. Those might help you focus and make you feel a little less foolish if you’re hesitant to get started. Research on the benefits ranges from helping kids with autism to alleviating symptoms of Crohn’s disease to reducing fatigue. Even research that shows moderate effectiveness makes me lean toward giving it a try on a regular basis because the reality is…what have you go to lose. I have zero chance of straining a muscle, and I might sleep better. Let me know how it works for you.