If you’re like many people, especially those new to meditation, the mere thought of sitting alone in your meditation space for an extended period can be terrifying. At the onset, it’s easy for your thoughts to run wild and therefore defeat the whole purpose of a meditation session. This can be curbed, however.
If you struggle to master meditation, there are helpful ways you can train your mind to stay still in order to promote a sense of happiness, contentment, calm, and overall wellbeing. Below are 5 mindfulness activities to help you achieve a state of calm.
Communicating with Passion
When our defenses are triggered e.g. during an argument, practicing mindfulness can become hard. But we can help this once we learn to strengthen our ability to remain calm and compassionate about these situations instead of reacting. Rather than focusing on the “faults” with the person or situation, we are more mindful of what is running through us.
To communicate mindfully and compassionately, practice the following:
Consciously pause when your defenses are running high in conversations or situations. This helps you reconnect with yourself before you continue engaging or decide on an action.
Concentrate on sharing your direct experience as you note the emotions and sensations present alongside your intensifying defenses.
Choose to listen open-heartedly. While we can improve how well we truly listen to the experience of others, it does not mean you should encourage or welcome abuse. When you listen with an open heart, you will encourage the same mindful listening from others.
Improve Your Breathing
Breathing is a major way to achieve a state of calm. Done correctly, breathing can improve mental, spiritual, and physical health. It rids your body and mind of pent up energy, limiting beliefs, and emotional blockages. What’s more; science even suggests that there are benefits you can enjoy from incorporating these breathing techniques.
Deep abdominal breathing, for example, encourages complete oxygen exchange – the healthy trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. This technique can also slow the heartbeat and stabilize blood flow, – lessening anxiety and stress.
One way to increase your contentment and, in turn, achieve a state of calm is by mindfully noting everything you’re grateful for in the present. You can practice this with your eyes closed or open as you observe your environment.
Note all the big and small things, note the tangible and intangible. Consider things like;
- The weather
- Your hot morning coffee
- Sunshine and rain
- The breath in your lungs
- The air around you
- Refrigeration and heating
- The roof above you
- The companionship, the kindness and the generosity you enjoy
There are literally tons of things to be grateful for. When you first begin this practice, you might want to make a written list of all the things you are truly grateful for. Add as many as you remember to it throughout the day, and soon enough, this practice will come naturally to you as you go through life.
Do Something You’ve Been Putting Off
Continued resistance will eventually create stress. Is there something you can do today that you’ve been putting off for a long time? Is there someone you need to call, an errand you should run or a long-overdue bill to clear? Now is the time to do it.
And no, this isn’t about doing it for the sake of ticking that checklist; It’s mostly about releasing the burden such task places on your mind. Carrying out a task that has been nagging at you means you no longer have to worry about it anymore.
Good old writing! It works every time, and it’s simply the practice of constantly putting down your thoughts on paper for a set period of time. While at it, you do not have to bother about spelling, grammar, or even a particular topic. You also need not structure your paragraphs or concern yourself with the complexities of writing.
The whole idea of this exercise is simply to encourage a stream of consciousness, where you allow your thoughts to flow freely flow onto the pages.
Studies even support it, according to research published in the Journal Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, people who wrote about stressful, emotional, or traumatic events saw improvements in their overall health.
This is an excellent mindfulness activity if you’re short on time. Just like the participants involved in the study, spending about 15 to 20 minutes penning your thoughts daily can make a world of difference in the long run. Once you let those thoughts out, you can achieve and enjoy a state of calm.
Other mindfulness activities to achieve a state of calm include; telling yourself something nice. There’s enough negativity out there and the least you can do is break that toxic circle of negative self-talk by thinking and telling yourself a few nice things about you.
Another activity you can integrate into your life for a better state of calm is visualization. This is simply guided imagery, and it is a variation of traditional meditation that involves imagining a calming scene; one that makes you free to let go of all the tension, anxiety, and the negativities.
Visualization sessions happen in your head so choose any setting you find most calming to you. It could be on a sunny beach, the woods or a park. Just any place you prefer, remember, it’s all in your head; you’re not paying a dime for the experience. However, you can choose to practice it with the help of an app guiding you through the imagery. You can also visualize in silence or use a soothing sound that blends with your preferred setting.
There are so many other mindfulness activities to help you achieve a state of calm. These are just a few of them, but if you practice regularly, they will help you achieve the highly desired state of calm for better meditation and improved mindful living.