Breathe in. Breathe out. Jaw clenched tight, shoulders feeling like they are sitting somewhere near your ears, the uncontrollable urge to bite the head off the next person to merely glance in your direction; we’ve all been there, you are STRESSED!! Now you know what you need to do, but seriously, who has the time to relax? “Life is busy, there is work, kids, families, finances, dramas to worry about” I hear you say. Well I say, are those things going to still be there, doing the same things even if you stop, switch off and reset for five minutes?
Relaxation is so important for both your physical and emotional wellbeing. Once you have taken some time to relax, your heart rate and blood pressure will decrease and your cortisol (stress hormone) levels will lower in your body. You will also have the capacity to think a lot more clearly and your attention span and focus will improve. Another positive is that you will also be less likely to have a complete emotional meltdown at an absolutely inappropriate time… never a pretty sight!
So how do I do this “relaxation” you ask? First of all you need to just !!STOP!! Good. That’s the hardest part done. Now the next part of relaxing is completely individual, it could be going for a run or blasting your favourite tunes on your iPod or indulging in a massage, whatever floats your boat, though if you have major time restrictions, meditation is a fast and effective way to relax.
Now if you’ve ever tried to meditate before, you’ll know that it does take a little bit of practice to be able to stop thinking about all the mundane things that pop into your head. My personal faves are “What am I going to make for dinner?”, “Did I turn of the iron this morning?” or “I wonder how much longer I have left of this meditating business?” The key is to stop and refocus whenever you feel your mind wander.
I have created a simple 5 minute meditation guide for you, should you be inclined to give it a go (and you absolutely should!)
Bonnie’s Super Simple 5 Step 5 Minute Meditation
Firstly, find a comfortable, preferably quiet place to begin your meditation. For the best results you should be sitting either on the ground or in a chair with your feet planted firmly on the ground, unsurprisingly this is called “grounding” yourself.
Next, you need to set a timer, I like to just use the one on my phone, but any old timer will do. This way you don’t need to be thinking “I wonder how long I have left?” because your timer will let you know when your time is up.
Have a look at your posture, your back should be straight yet relaxed, no tensing up.
Now close your eyes and focus on your breathing and nothing else. Try to make your breaths deep and regular. Your biggest obstacle in meditation is your mind, so whenever you notice your thoughts wandering, just bring your focus back to your breaths.
That’s it! Keep at it until your timer goes off. Also know that your first attempts at meditating will likely consist of constantly stopping to bring your attention back to your breathing. This is normal and will definitely get easier the more you do it.
So off you go now, go and get your meditation on! Say it with me “Breathe iiiin… Breathe ouuut…”