By Savannah Howard
Blog Content Contributor
Our society has the mindset of always being on the go. People feel like they have a million things to do and not enough time in their days to do them. Or, they feel like they have to have something to do or they are wasting the day. We are bombarded with messages that tell us we are not doing enough or could be doing something better. It can be overwhelming at times and that’s why people turn to things to help them relax and keep their sanity.
Lately, a popular method of relaxation has been meditation. Meditation has many benefits including reducing stress, improving concentration, and increasing self-awareness. But, it requires a lot of patience and practice. Since our brains are always busy, it can be hard to shut them down to be able to meditate. At least, it’s difficult for me. I’ll try to sit and focus on my breathing and all that, but I just end up thinking about an upcoming deadline or all the things I could be doing. So, as for right now, standard meditation isn’t for me. But, I came up with a solution that lets me and meditation meet in the middle.
First, I figured out why I wanted to meditate. For me, shutting out the noise of the world and not stressing out about problems was my goal. I realized that I flourish in silence. I am the most productive, focused, and least overwhelmed when in total silence. Unfortunately, that’s pretty hard to accomplish when I’m constantly at work, in class, or at my home with two noisy roommates and a dog.
So, I thought about where I could go to find silence and water was my answer. Specifically, swimming. When I am swimming, I can’t hear anything except the water swirling around me. Swimming blocks out the world for me and I focus my mind on nothing but the mechanics of my body. I only think of kicking my feet, moving my arms, and taking breaths when I have to. For 30 minutes to an hour, this is my meditation.
For the days where I don’t have time to swim, or my roommates are blaring music and I can’t relax in my room, I hop in the shower. Showers are already relaxing but it’s an added bonus for me because the water completely blocks out any outside noise. I can’t hear anything in the shower. This allows for a quick meditation to get some peace of mind.
If you have trouble sitting still and silencing your brain during a standard meditation, perhaps try my way. Pinpoint the reason(s) why you want to meditate, think of some activities you enjoy that you could incorporate meditation into, and then try it. It may be hard to clear your mind and it honestly takes practice, so I would recommend focusing on what your body is doing. For example, if driving is relaxing to you then focus on pressing the brake or gas pedals, turning on turn signal lights, and turning the steering wheel.
Regardless of whether you think meditation works for you or not, the most important takeaway should be to make time for yourself and your mental health. Hang out with people that make you feel good, make time to do things you enjoy, and say no to things so your plate isn’t too full. Sometimes we are so focused on the next thing to do that we forget that our health matters too. Make yourself and your health a priority in your life.
Featured image by Savannah Howard.