At times, our busy lifestyles can be too overbearing for our mental health – leaving us feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Instead of indulging in unhealthy habits, a safer way to cope with stress is by meditating.
Popular for its therapeutic purposes, studies have shown that meditation is effective when it comes to reducing stress, lowering anxiety levels and improving overall mental health.
But what exactly is meditation?
The word ‘meditation’ derives from the Latin term meditari, which means “to ponder or reflect”. This makes the act of meditation as simple as being present and coming into awareness with your thoughts.
Do I have to sit cross-legged with my eyes closed?
It’s not the only way to meditate. Plus, let’s face it, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, so here are a few meditation techniques you can try instead:
- Take a meditative walk
No, it’s not aimlessly walking around and bumping into things with your eyes closed – it’s the opposite really. Find a pace that suits you and pay attention to your surroundings (with your eyes wide open). Start observing how your body feels and become more aware of your thoughts – don’t forget your posture. For even more therapeutic relief, head outdoors and enjoy the beauty of nature!
- Use writing as a meditation tool
It’s not easy to consciously focus on the present and be aware of your thoughts, some might even find it overwhelming to do so. By writing, you’ll be able to clear your mind and write down any thoughts circulating in your head. It’s similar to journaling, but the key here is to write without any form of judgement. It can also be helpful when you need to self-reflect.
- Meditative breathing exercises
Many meditation techniques use the breath as a focal point. When you inhale and exhale through your nose, notice how your diaphragm moves with each breath. Continue focusing on your breath and shift your awareness to how your body feels, and before you know it – you’re in a meditative space! The best part of it all is that you can literally do it anywhere at any time – be it during a morning shower, waiting for the LRT or even at your office desk.
- Lying down guided meditations
If the conventional meditation style feels too restricted, or you just don’t have the energy to be concerned about your posture, try lying down! Lie back flat on the floor, hands rested to your side (or on your stomach) and gaze towards the ceiling. Then, gently close your eyes and focus on your breath. If this feels too comfortable, and you feel like you’re about to dose off, put on your earphones and listen to any guided meditation audio.
If you’re still unsure and don’t know where to start, check out these short and simple guided meditations and incorporate them into your day. A little goes a long way, and before you know it, you’ll be a meditation guru!
Journaling will always be therapeutic, even as a thirteen-year-old writing “dear diary” followed by a fairly rude rant about how your parents won’t let you get a tattoo. It provides a safe space (lock included) for you to share your experiences and sit in the therapist’s chair as you reread your thoughts and feelings.
If 2020 has left you feeling overwhelmed – stressed from working at home, anxious about social distancing and saddened by the world news, journaling is a good place to let it all out Here’s how you can start:
- Download A Journal App
If you’re still not sold on writing things down – type it out. Since we’re always on our phones, self-care has become digital with mindful apps to make better use of your screen time. For beginners, we recommend downloading the journal apps Reflectly or Daylio. These make journaling super easy by asking you questions about your day, even encouraging you to use emojis – think of it as a judgement-free Facebook status.
- Follow Journal Prompts
Don’t know what to write? There are plenty of journal prompts available online to get the ball rolling. Usually in the form of questions, these short statements are set to inspire self-reflection. Here are a few to help you explore your definition of “self-love”:
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You can also sign up for our Self Care Club to receive weekly journal prompts!
- Practice Gratitude
For a more positive mindset, use your journal to list down what you’re grateful for. Do this daily and you’ll notice a shift in your perspective as you start seeing the glass half full rather than half empty. Not only will you experience less negative emotions, but by counting your blessings – you’ll become more satisfied with life too. Happy mind, happy life.
- Participate In Journal Challenges
Turn journaling into a habit by participating in journal challenges. These span from a week to a month with a list of helpful writing prompts for you to follow. Learn more about journaling from YouTuber, Lavendaire, and spread out her 30 prompts for self-discovery throughout the month:
By focusing on yourself for at least five minutes a day, you’ll be able to find solitude and clarity in the midst of a chaotic year. Writing down your emotions will make it easier for you to understand them and pinpoint the problem – allowing you to come up with healthier coping skills and better solutions. We should all strive to be more self-aware and accepting of ourselves, so pick up a pen and start journaling!