In today’s world, we are more connected than ever before.
There are endless events to attend, ten different ways to contact each other – and we can video call our loved ones on the other side of the world with the click of a button.
It’s a wonderful thing – and it has led to advances that have helped us achieve great things. However, it also makes it more difficult to wind down, and ‘switch off.’
Anxiety disorder and other stress related illnesses are on the rise. The way to combat this is not necessarily to stop being social or stop doing the high pressure jobs we love.
It’s about finding ways to calm our minds and slow our thoughts, so that we can enjoy our down time. It’s about finding that state of serenity, to reset and refresh. Meditation is one of the easiest – and most effective ways – to achieve this.
Meditation is the practice of training our attention and awareness, to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally peaceful and stable state. It can be done anywhere – and you’ll only need 5-10 minutes of your time.
Here are some meditation techniques you can use to calm your mind. We have kept things general and simple – using basic examples. But if you have more questions or are interested in learning more about meditation- we can help.
Mindfulness Meditation Techniques
Mindfulness and meditation are closely linked. Most forms of meditation involve mindfulness exercise.
Mindfulness helps us to slow down our thoughts, release all negativity, and calm both our minds and bodies. When we are in a mindful state, we are fully focused on the present – so we can acknowledge and accept our thoughts, emotions, and sensations – without judgement or consequence.
Techniques can vary, but in general, mindfulness meditation involves deep breathing and awareness of body and mind – and sometimes our surroundings.
The Five Senses exercise is one of the easiest to do. Find a safe relaxing space. Set aside five minutes, close your eyes, and take several deep breaths.
Open your eyes and take notice of your surroundings – and your senses. Firstly, observe five different things you can see – list them in your head. Next, notice four things you can feel. Get creative – if you’re in an office, it might be the floor under your feet, the chair against your back, the paper on your desk, your clothes against your skin. Next, name three things you can hear. It might be a bird chirping, a car passing by – it doesn’t matter where you are, it’s likely you’ll still be able to name three different sounds. Now, notice two things you can smell – and finally one thing you can taste.
The idea is to calm your mind by paying attention to all your senses, heighten them and focus on your environment, instead of your thoughts.
If you’d like some more ideas around mindfulness, Reach Out has some great resources.
Progressive relaxation (or body scan meditation) is an exercise that encourages you to scan your body for any areas that are holding tension. The aim is to acknowledge the tension and release it.
In a progressive relaxation session, you will start at one end of your body – the feet is a good option – and work your way up.
How you release the tension is up to you. Some people choose the ‘tense and relax’ method. You begin with your toes, tense them – hold it – and release. Feel the tension leaving your body – take note of the feeling. And repeat for each and every body part as you move up towards your head.
Others prefer to visualize a wave, drifting over their body to release tension.
Progressive relaxation is a great exercise to incorporate into your bedtime routine. It slowly and steadily releases your body, helping you to drift away from your stress and relax into sleep.
Every system in our body relies on oxygen.
From cognition to digestion and our cardiovascular response – effective breathing not only provides mental clarity – it can improve your body’s immune response, and reduce stress levels.
Breathwork helps slow down our body’s acute stress response. By eliciting the body’s relaxation response, deep abdominal breathing helps reduce blood pressure. It slows the heart rate and promotes a physical sense of calm.
Breathing exercises are a good way to centre yourself and ease tension, quickly and effectively. They can be done anytime, anywhere – and you don’t need any equipment.
Box breathing (or square breathing) is the practice of taking slow, deep breaths timed to four counts each.
Begin by inhaling slowly and deeply through your nose to the count of four, very slowly in your head. Feel the air fill your lungs, one section at a time, until your lungs are completely full, and the air moves into your abdomen. Hold your breath for another slow count of four.
Then exhale through your mouth for the same slow count of four, expelling the air from your lungs and abdomen. Be conscious of the feeling of the air leaving your lungs. Hold your breath again, at the end of the exhale, for the same slow count of four before repeating this process. Focus on this intention and be conscious of what you’re doing.
We Can Help
Here at Online PsychCare, we provide a holistic approach to mental health.
This includes implementing meditation techniques and treatment, where we feel it may help.
Book an appointment if you’d like to be taken on a guided meditation by an experienced professional, who will incorporate it into your overall treatment plan.