While working in an intense outpatient program, I came across many different types of people who came from various walks of life. These people gathered together with the common goal of maintaining mental wellness and abstinence from their addictions.
Regardless of the personality types in the group at any point, we began every day with a meditation.
The word meditation sometimes elicited a negative response from uncertain clients- many times I was met with “I don’t do that” or “that’s not really my thing.” This prompted the exploration of what exactly it means to meditate.
In these few weeks of learning to meditate, I always implemented my personal definition of the practice: focusing on your intentional thinking and making sure your head and feet are in the same room. By making meditation seem simpler and easier to complete, the pressure of “doing it right” tended to dissipate. The important part is spending time with your thoughts and enjoying the calmness, not meditating perfectly.
Following that definition, there are multiple ways to incorporate small amounts of meditation while living your life as you, probably, already do.
Driving: If you’ve ever met someone who loves taking drives, you’ve met someone who uses that time to be with themselves. You can meditate while driving by just focusing on your thoughts and practicing your breathing, use that time to set your intentions and to check in with your body. There are plenty of motivational speakers or guided meditations that can be listened to and focused on during drives lasting anywhere from five minutes to an hour.
Cleaning: Is cleaning considered a chore? Yes; however, to some the act of cleaning is more meditative than you may think. Remember the show Orange is the New Black? There is a quote in that show along the lines of “you think of the bad thoughts as the dirt, then you mop them away.” That is how you can shift cleaning into a meditative activity. Whether it be washing your car or doing work around your home, use this time to connect with your thoughts and use the movements as a way to soothe. Copying the character from the TV show, cleaning can also provide a strong visual meditation. Not only are you giving yourself the pleasure of a cleaner environment, the time and concentration implements many factors associated with mindfulness-based meditations.
Movement: The first thought when mentioning movement-based meditations is exercise, right? While exercise definitely falls into the category, it is not the only way to implement movement as means of meditation. Running, walking, swimming, dancing- you get the picture. Any method of moving your body paired with intentional and focused breathing is a way of meditating. Combining the movement of your body and the focus of your mind creates an experience that calms the soul.
Setting Intentions: My final example of easy, daily meditation is simply setting an intention for your day and focusing on it for short amounts of time throughout the day. An example could be “I intend to be kind to others and myself.” By deciding on this intention in the morning, spending a few minutes really focusing on it while practicing conscious breathing, then coming back to it throughout your day- boom! That’s a form of meditation.
The more you look into meditation, the more you learn that it is so unique to the individual and incredibly personalized. While these are just a few examples that I use and have seen successfully implemented by past clients, there are many, many more.