To conclude our #Meditate4MentalHealth month-long campaign on our social media we asked our network to share their perspectives on the practice of meditation and mindfulness and how it helps their mental health.
We truly believe in collaboration and recognize everyone is a teacher, so it was really cool to learn about all the different practices and honest opinions about meditation, which can be challenging! Maybe there are some that resonate with you. Here’s what was shared with us:
How do you practice meditation?
“I try and often fail, but I use Insight Timer app guided meditations and the timer for 6 minutes when I can. I also like mantra meditation”
“I have three favorite practices: one is to simply inhale to a count of 5, pause for 5, then exhale for 5 and I set my cell phone to chime for 10 minutes. The second is to exhale and imagine I am slowing releasing stress and tension and breathe down to the earth, repeating as many rounds as is necessary to feel a deep calm settle in. The third is to picture a quiet, safe space that I really enjoy, filling in every detail of that place as a I slowly withdraw attention from everything else — usually I picture myself sitting under a blooming apple tree on a quiet pleasant day.”
“Sometimes I sit up and sometimes I lie down. Usually in the morning”
“A few times in the morning, longer when I have time”
“I don’t practice”
And that’s ok! Meditation might not be for everyone…. in fact, in our poll on our Instagram, 90% of people who answered said they meditate and 10% did not.
What do you find challenging about meditation?
“Of course I want to set aside time for this and often don’t “find the time” - one of the biggest challenges is time. Another is my own mental barrier of conditioned thinking saying that this is a waste of time and I should be doing something more productive.”
“Remembering to do it, remembering that I can do it at any time”
“Keeping my thoughts away and just being and breathing”
What are some of your favorite tips or techniques for mindfulness and/or meditation?
“Mantra meditations help me the most because my mind wanders so easily but mantra/chanting keeps it focused. For mindfulness, my dog is super helpful! I just pet him and try to be really mindful with him and he is the best thing that has helped me ground and focus on the present moment. Also, I learned a while ago that since writing down your goals helps you reach them - I use my passwords at my work computer to be my current focus “Take3DEEPbreaths!” is an example of a previous password I used and typing it out each day, multiple times, helps me to remember the importance of it”
“I don’t focus on anything in specific. Focusing on something specific produces the illusion that I am a separate entity that can focus on something internally or externally. Really, there is nothing inside that is focusing and nothing outside that can be focused on. When seen in this way, our entire lives are a meditation. To put an end to the idea of an internal ‘self,’ to put an end to the habitual usage of words to label the inside and outside, is to see everything clearly… I love you”
“Acknowledge your thoughts and let them pass. Come back to your breath. Try making a practice of meditating in the morning before the day becomes hectic”
“Find a time that works best in your day and commit to a few minutes to sit and be still. Small changes over a period of time can be powerful. You can extend the time as it suits you. Create a habit and see where it leads you.”
“Giving myself ‘credit’ for all the small amounts of practices throughout the day - simple moments of pausing and being present, or short breathing practices. I used to be really rigid in my practice and think I was falling off if I wasn’t sitting for 20 minutes everyday. Now I try to sit whenever I can, but also lean on lots of smaller shorter mindfulness practices throughout my day”
Thank you to everyone who shared! If you have any more tips, or want to add to this resource, please feel free to comment here in the blog and keep this a living document.