Because meditation practices are prominent parts of many spiritual practices, many people believe that meditation has religious implications. While it is true that meditation is often used this way, it’s not true that meditation has to be a spiritual or a religious habit. At its core, meditation is a physical activity.
A highly trained athlete becomes incredibly attuned to their body. The strongest men and women in the world not only build exceptional power with their muscles, but they also learn to execute a motion that seems simple, like a squat or a bench press, with such perfection that they maximize the potential of their bodies.
They think about their foot placement, their grip placement, their core, their back, their center of gravity, and they may visualize how they are generating their power to create a smooth and efficient motion.
Meditation is not so different. It helps you to become more attuned with your present so that you can make your mind stronger. Just as proper lifting technique makes all of your exercises safer and more impactful, so do the benefits of meditation ripple throughout the rest of your life.
Let’s start simple with a way to calm your mind and reduce stress.
Simple Relaxation Meditation in 6 Steps
The goal here is to clear your mind of all thoughts—to turn off the mental merry-go-round that’s feeding your brain and body with tension and creating a negative mental state.
Step 1: Set aside 10 to 20 minutes. Good choices might be in the morning before breakfast or just before your evening meal.
Step 2: Find a cozy spot—a quiet, serene place where you can be alone with your thoughts without interruption. Make sure to turn off any electronic communication devices. Silence is the overriding principle.
Step 3: Sit up straight on the floor, in a comfortable, relaxed position with your legs crossed. Alternatively, you may sit in a chair with your feet flat if sitting on the floor is difficult or uncomfortable for you. Place your hands together in your lap, with your right hand resting on your left, palms up. Begin taking slow breaths using the abdominal breathing technique.
Step 4: Close your eyes and let any tension release. Imagine that stress is seeping out of every pore in your skin. Starting with your feet, relax your muscles all the way to the top of your head.
Step 5: Now let’s turn off the internal dialog in your brain and stop the thought process. Slowly repeat a word or phrase that you find calming, such as love, quiet, peace, or a spiritual word that creates a serene state. Don’t let other thoughts such as memories or events enter your brain. Just keep repeating that one word or phrase (your mantra) silently. This will help keep distracting thoughts at bay.
If thoughts come to you—which will happen until you perfect the technique and it becomes a Habit of Health—just repeat the word relax, take a deep breath, and let the thought go as you exhale. Then return to your mantra.
Step 6: Once you’ve continued your internal chant for the length of time you’ve selected (long enough to reach a state of relaxation and calm), sit quietly for a minute or two. As you come back to your normal state, merge with the calmness of the meditative state and take one last deep inhalation. Hold your breath for about fifteen seconds, exhale, and relax.
Build the Habit
You’ve just created a new state of composure and control. Set aside 10 minutes a day to repeat this practice. In just a few days, you will start to feel more in control of your thoughts and less affected by the chaos of the world around you. You will start to think more clearly and with less anxiety. And that’s