Have you ever stepped onto a forest path, inhaled the sweet smell of nature and felt your worries melt away? The therapeutic, restorative qualities of a nature path surrounded by th calming presence of green life has always provided me with a sense of relaxation.
It was not surprising then to learn that the Nature Forest Therapy has emerged complete with training and certification.
Physical activity in the form of a 40 minute walk in the forest was associated with improved mood and feelings of health and robustness. Levels of the stress hormone cortisol decreased in test subjects after a walk in the forest, when compared with a control group of subjects who engaged in walks within a laboratory setting.
Sometimes we are not always able to walk among the trees physically. Here is a guided meditation that can help you imagine you were there and hopefully experience some of the same meditation results!
Do you ever find yourself becoming distracted as Sundays wind down with thoughts about the upcoming work or school week? As long as I remember Sunday evenings represented the end of carefree days and anxiety would start creeping in as I anticipating the upcoming school (and later work) week.
Sunday evenings were always my worst night of sleep as I’d allow my mind to race thinking about the pressures that faced me in the coming week. Instead of embracing a new week with joy I’d feel anxious or nervous and imagine all that could cause me stress in the coming days.
How freeing it is to meditate, to slow the mind, to breathe and invite calm.
Try this meditation from Boho Beautiful. It invites you to be the creator of tomorrow, to move forward leaving today behind in relaxation.
I wish I’d found meditation sooner but at the same time, I’m glad I found it – in my time!
Over the years and as I age, I find I’m increasingly less stress-resilient. Being the mother of a son who has experienced mental health issues, addiction and who has been suicidal, sometimes, it seems the world is a cruel place. My own anxiety in these moments can overwhelm me. It is then that I have turned to meditation to invite calm and peace into my life.
If you feel stress is taking over your life, maybe it’s time you give meditation a try. Invite calm and peace into your world. Even if your calm lasts only as long as the meditation, you’ll feel the benefits.
My second-oldest son is preparing to move out on his own. Of course I embrace this stage in his life, to become independent and to enter the next stage of his life. Along with the excitement of seeing my child spread his wings and move forward knowing I’ve given him the best foundation I can on which he can build his life, a part of me feels nostalgic remembering all the magical times we’ve shared.
I’ve never been one to wish any stage of their childhood away or rush to get to the next. I celebrate his ability to move forward. A part of me though feels like he’s still my little boy but I’m ready to let go. To let him live his own life – knowing I’ll still be a part of it.
Life is like that isn’t it, we let go of things and move forward. As Le-Anne Peters says in A Beautiful Letting Go Meditation, even the seasons come and go and we must let them. Sometimes we try to hold on to the old but we need to let the cycles come and go and appreciate all the experiences and situations that help to shape us in our lives.
Her meditation guides us to relax and let go. It’s freeing and calming at the same time. I encourage you to give it a try – it’s a bit longer than some of the ones I’ve provided previously. It’s 15 minutes or so that you can invest into peace of mind. Enjoy.
As a mom, my expectations of myself are almost unachievable. I want to have the right answers, I want to respond to my kids and my husband with the right tone, and the right words. I feel badly when I fail. Sure, logically I know I am far from perfect and I can’t live in regret and for the most part I’m pretty comfortable with who I am. But when I fall short of my expectations I tend to replay how I should have done things differently.
Similarly when someone hurts my feelings, the hurt runs deeply. I can recover much more quickly if they apologize or at least acknowledge it but if it goes unnoticed by the person who hurt me, it’s harder for me to let go.
Mediation can help. It can free you from the guilt of falling short of your own expectations and free others from the hurt you carry within.
For me, meditation causes me to pay attention to my breathing, to bring my focus inward and to invite peace and calm into my life. Although I’ve only tried yoga a few times, I’ve seen similar feeling result. WikiHow has an article on how to do Yoga Meditation: http://www.wikihow.com/Do-Yoga-Meditation. The article says that through stretching with yoga affects energy, “When this energy rises from the base of the spine up through the top of the head, an expanded state of awareness, called self-realization, can be achieved.”
Her Yoga for Beginners 30 Day Challenge is a great way to ease into yoga. The Day 1 video focuses on breathing techniques that may help with meditation as well.
An article in Reader’s Digest Best Health, How to meditate in yoga says, “The first step to successful meditation is practicing it often. But even in a class where the yoga teacher sets time aside for meditation, getting the hang of how to meditate can be quite challenging, whether you’re a beginner to yoga or you’ve been taking yoga classes for a while. Considering that serious yogis spend a lifetime honing the art of meditation, there’s no sense in pressuring yourself to perfect your own meditation technique after just a few sessions.
I like the approach of this as it is congruent to my approach of easing into meditation as well. I hope you’ll find these resources inspire you to see for yourself if you feel similar benefits when meditating and when trying yoga!
The quiet, calm peaceful feeling I enjoy with meditation can also, for me, be found in prayer. I find they are so similar they almost intertwine. As always, I write only from my own experience and don’t profess to say what will work for others.
Praying the rosary takes time. Like meditation, you get out of it what you put in. I find, like meditation, praying the rosary centres me and gives me peace. A Novena is a series of rosaries for a particular intention. The rosary novena to Our Lady of Pompeii has been a powerful prayerful mediation for me.
Directly related or not, during praying this novena I have become employed and witnessed a family member make a dramatic positive change in his life.
The author, Jon Krop, included a quote that resonated with me: “Discomfort avoidance is the common thread that binds all anxiety problems together.”— John Forsyth, Ph.D., and Georg Eifert, Ph.D., psychologists specializing in anxiety.
Often articles and books present information that is not necessarily new but act as reminders or sometimes are presented in a way that particularly resonates with you at the time. Of course, I’ve read that it’s not the situations you encounter that cause stress but your reaction to them. I’ve read that we create our stress by our thoughts about things and not by the reality of the situation. I’ve experienced myself an increase of stress or anxiety when I’m anticipating a situations and trying to avoid it. Usually facing the situation reveals it wasn’t that bad afterall.
I encourage you to read this article. The section on taking a mindful pause can be particularly useful in managing stress, anxiety and finding calm. Here’s an excerpt:
Basically, the mindful pause is a great “spot treatment” for times when you feel stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed but have lots to do.
It involves taking 30 seconds to tune into your own body, and you can do it anywhere. You can be sitting, standing, lying down, whatever. Plus, no one will even know that you’re meditating. When you’re spinning out into an anxiety loop, sometimes you just need to interrupt the process. Inserting a pause gives you the opportunity to collect yourself.
If you’ve ever experienced the feeling that you have creativity locked inside you, I suggest meditation. Meditations can unlock your creativity, encourage you to let go of the self-judgment that sometimes blocks you from allowing your ideas to flow.
Fear of the judgment of others can also be a block to creativity. It’s so important to clear the blocks and open yourself to freeing your ideas and letting them flow.
Filling yourself with peace and love can help cultivate the energy inside of you. Once you can let go of your expectations and just allow your energy to be and to flow, creativity may follow. It can be difficult to let go of fears, judgment but pushing this out of the way and allowing love to guide you may release your ability to create.
Creativity isn’t exclusive to art or writing but it’s also about creating the relationships you seek and the life you want. Creativity can be how you choose to view a situation, how you find solutions and how you manage day-to-day challenges.
Do you ever find yourself resisting starting something that makes you uncomfortable? Is it tough to jump in to the deep end of something new?
Asked to create a video, I felt that fight or flight instinct kick in. I allowed myself to feel nervous, to resist, wishing I didn’t have to do it and then I decided to ease in gently by using screen capture software. It was very challenging. It didn’t seem to work and even as I wait for the video to upload to YouTube, I’m unsure if it will work.
It’s kind of like that with Meditation. You just gently ease into it and hope that it works. If it does nothing more than carve out some quiet time to relax, isn’t that worth it?
In this video I talk about finding meditation resources including a book called Quiet Mind, A beginner’s guide to meditation. In this book I learned about Tonglen Meditation. It is said that “in tonglen practice we are cultivating the same tenderness of heart that started the Buddha himself on his journey to awakening.”
Tonglen is about breathing in heavy, dark energy and breathing out light, refreshing energy. I have found this meditation makes you feel like you are contributing something positive even when you might feel powerless.
I hope you are getting more comfortable with meditation. Why not go on YouTube and enter Tonglin Meditation. If you find a good one that you enjoy, please share it in the comments.