It has been years since I first started meditating and I can’t think of a better way to calm my body and my mind when I am feeling stressed out or overwhelmed.
Meditation is a practice that anyone can do, and should do if you want my honest opinion. Not only does it have proven health benefits such as reducing stress, managing anxiety, lengthening attention span, reducing age-related memory loss, and reducing blood pressure, but it enhances self-awareness and emotional regulation skills as well.
I started meditating in 2008 after developing a curiosity of the Buddhist and Tao religions and lifestyles. I wasn’t necessarily looking to adopt a new religion, but I was genuinely interested in learning about these cultures I knew little to nothing about. There was something alluring about the “peacefulness” that these lifestyles promoted.
It was around the same time that I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Eat, Pray, Love” and instantly wanted to sign up for a meditation retreat. I’m pretty sure most people who read that book either want to travel the world, decorate a meditation room, or experience a meditation retreat. Am I right?
For some people, sitting in silence seems like utter torture, but for me, it’s a welcomed, all too sparse experience that I was seeking. Additionally, some of my favorite counseling sessions working with clients was when we’d sit in silence. There always seemed to be an A-HA moment that broke the silence. Why?
The client was still and quiet enough to really tap into herself to find what she really needed. Self-awareness is an incredible tool for anyone, not just a highly sensitive person.
Whether you’re new to meditating and have always wanted to get into it, or you’re quite experienced with practicing, here are 5 meditations that can help you bring calmness and serenity to your soul:
How do I Sit?
I often get asked this question and it makes sense. Most people think of meditating as an activity you do while sitting down. While that’s pretty common, you can can meditate almost anywhere in any posture!
Even walking silently while focusing inward (known as walking meditation) is incredibly effective. The key is to find a comfortable position for your body.
This might be sitting cross-legged on the floor, sitting in a chair with both feet placed on the ground, laying down with your palms facing the sky and feet uncrossed (don’t use this position if you tend to fall asleep – you want to be aware and alert while meditating), or standing against a wall with your body gently pressed against it.
Heck, even meditating while driving (just be alert) is super helpful at times!
What About My Breathing?
It’s quite simple: Just breathe. While meditating, I recommend that you close your eyes or cast your eyes downward. A very effective method is to close your eyes, but focus your eyes down towards your heart behind your eyelids. This helps you get in touch with your heart, not your head. All too often, we’re letting our head call the shots. Let’s give our hearts a chance, shall we? Just breathe.
To slow yourself down, you might need to take long, slow inhalations and then slowly release the breath (preferably all through your nose for the inhalation and exhalation if you’re able). Repeat this slow breathing while noticing how it feels.
At first, it might feel labored or like hard work. That’s normal and it will normalize with time. Keep at it!
I Keep Getting Distracted
Ideally, you will find a space that is quiet and undisturbed. And here’s a fun fact: even the most experienced person gets distracted. Our minds are constantly chatting and talking. Don’t judge your thoughts, just notice them. Pretend your thoughts are like clouds drifting through the sky. They come and they go.
Don’t attach to them. Even simply saying, “I see you thought,” then letting it pass is helpful. The sooner you can return your focus to your breath, the better.
The more you practice, the longer you might be able to go with a quieter mind, but there will always be days that seem harder to slow you mind down. It’s okay! Again, don’t judge, just BE.
5 Meditations for The Sensitive Soul
Use these mantras to help you release your stress, accumulated energies, and discharge feelings of overstimulation. Repeat these affirmations throughout your meditation and continue to take deep cleansing breaths.
- I am calm. I am centered.
- Sensitivity is a gift. I am blessed.
- I release others energy and reclaim my own.
- My body is relaxed and still. I release any tension in my body (do a body scan and notice any places you are still tense and focus your mantra to that area such as “My shoulders are relaxed. I release any tightness from my shoulders.”
- I am perfect just the way I am.
Meditation is not a practice that is perfect overnight. In fact, I’m not sure if it’s ever perfect, but it is life-changing. Truly.
So many of the most successful, honorable people in this world include meditation in their daily schedule. I am a believer that our body knows how to heal itself and I also believe that “the Highest Power” lives inside each of us. So when we finally quiet ourselves and can connect with that source, amazing things can happen.
So start slow. Try on meditation and then build on your practice once you start to feel it has become a part of you.
You’re absolutely perfect just the way your were designed. As highly sensitive people, we often forget that our sensitivity, empathy, and intuition are our gifts.
It’s easy to get lost in the craziness of the world, but I promise that you are beautiful. You have worth. You have every right to live your best life possible. Return to yourself and celebrate everything that your body and mind do for you on a daily basis.
Happy Meditating! Namaste.