Meditation: Boring? It Doesn’t Have to Be!
September 21st, 2016 by Lauren Tharp
There are numerous health benefits to meditation! From better emotional and mental well-being to an increase in your immune system. You’ll have lower blood pressure, remember things more easily, and lower your anxiety. Heck! Regular meditation can even fight off the symptoms of PMS!
But it’s just so dang…boring.
It’s okay if you feel that way – a lot of people do! (Including a few of the FabFitTravel team members!).
However, if you’re among the people who find meditation “boring” – and are therefore missing out on its numerous health benefits! – it could just be because you haven’t found the right kind of meditation.
That’s right! There are different types of meditation! Here are seven of our favorites to get you started:
1. Traditional (“Zen”) Meditation
When people hear the word “meditation,” this is usually the type they’re thinking of.
Start by sitting on the floor in a lotus position or cross-legged. Or, you can use a chair if you aren’t that flexible yet. The main point is to keep your back as straight as possible.
Next, your eyes should be downcast, almost closed, focusing on the floor about two feet in front of you.
And then you think about…nothing.
The goal of this type of meditation is to clear your mind completely. It’s a lot harder than it sounds! In fact, for beginners, we recommend focusing on your breath – slowly breathing in and out – before you try to empty your thoughts completely.
2. Mindfulness Meditation
This is very similar to traditional meditation, but a bit more “user friendly.” It’s one of our favorites here at FabFitTravel.
The basic positioning is the same as traditional meditation. Sit with your eyes closed or mostly closed and your back straight – you can use a yoga pose or a chair, up to you.
From there, you focus on you; but not just any “you”: The you in that moment.
How are you feeling? What do your legs feel like? Your arms? How are you breathing?
Start by thinking about your feet and work your way up your body, acknowledging every body part, until you get to the top of your head.
With this meditation, if you get distracted, it’s okay. It’s allowed! You just acknowledge that you got distracted – take note of it as one of the things you’re feeling in that moment – and gently guide your mind back to your meditation.
We like this one because it’s more forgiving than some meditation practices. We’re busy women and our minds often drift to our work or what our children might be getting up to in the next room. Mindfulness meditation allows you to have those thoughts without feeling guilty about them. You simply think, “Okay. I got distracted. That’s fine. Now back to what my toes feel like in this moment…”
3. Compassion Meditation
This one is sometimes referred to as “loving-kindness meditation.”
Settle into a comfortable position and start by focusing on your breath. For ten seconds, think of nothing but the slow in and out of your inhales and exhales.
Then, think about someone you absolutely, truly love. Let the image of that person fill your mind. Let those feelings of love wash over you.
Next, think of the love you have for yourself. You’re pretty darn great! Acknowledge that.
Next, think of someone neutral in your life – someone you neither like nor dislike. This could be the person who bagged your groceries at the supermarket. Your last Uber driver. The guy you saw jogging down the street. Now, imagine what struggles that person might have in their lives…and feel compassion for them. Open up your heart to this stranger.
Next, think about someone you consider an “enemy.” This one will be tricky, but try to imagine how that person has suffered in their life. Work up feelings of empathy within yourself for those struggles. Feel compassion toward this person you’ve grown to hate.
Finally, think about all of the people you share the world with. One of our FabFitTravel ladies likes to say, “We’re all tentacles on the same octopus!” and we couldn’t agree more. Think about how everyone on earth has something in common with you – even if it’s just the fact that they’re fellow human beings – and feel compassion toward them and their plights.
4. Mantra Meditation
This is very similar to traditional meditation with the added chanting of a “mantra.” And, yes, that mantra can be that traditional “om/ohm” sound.
You could also use “Om shanti shanti shanti” (Om peace peace peace) or the Pali phrase “Sabbe Satta Sukhi Hontu” (May All Beings Be Happy).
However, if these traditional phrases just sound like noise to you and don’t resonate with you, then a more modern mantra/affirmation might be more up your alley. Try chanting:
- My mind is quiet. My mind is at ease.
- I am free from stress. I am free from worry.
- Mental serenity is mine.
- I have a peaceful mind. My mind is at peace.
Or, of course, you can make up your own chant. Pick something calming that relaxes you and makes you feel like you’re working toward a higher goal.
5. Contemplative Meditation
Traditionally, this one is done with a Bible. You pick a Bible passage and focus deeply on what it means to you.
However, you can do this with almost any book you love/resonate with. The point isn’t so much the passage you’re reading as it is you in that moment, reading that passage, and the deep level of focus you can obtain from doing so.
6. Sound Meditation
This is another great one for beginners! Sound meditation allows you to listen to music or white noise and focus on that rather than what’s going on in your head.
The music that accompanies sound meditation is traditionally very calming: flutes, classical music, etc. However, we realize that can be boring – and even distressing! – to some people.
Luckily, scientists have discovered that it’s more beneficial to listen to your favorite music. Listening to music you love is beneficial to your heart health and your mental well-being. And we think those benefits could easily be incorporated into sound meditation.
So, yes, if Bach or Enya isn’t your thing, you totally have our permission to put on some nu-metal or Motown in the background while you meditate. The point is to focus on the sounds of the songs and how they make you feel.
7. Guided Meditation
Guided meditation is potentially a combination of every meditation we’ve stated above. In guided meditations, an instructor (guide) gently helps you through your meditation process. They’ll sometimes play music for you, or give you a mantra to chant, or even tell you what to focus on.
We love guided meditations and will sometimes include them in our yoga on the beach practices, included in our FabFitTravel destination vacations!
The main point is: Meditation doesn’t have to be boring. There are tons of varieties to choose from (WAY more than what we’ve included here! Google some!!) and the health benefits from starting up a daily practice are exponential.
We challenge you to choose one of the meditation practices we mentioned and give it a try today!