Meditation is one of those things most people want to do.
But for some reason or the other, people just don’t get down to it. Mostly because it’s some variation of:
“I just can’t find the time.”
“I would love to do it, but I don’t know how.”
“I know it’s good for me, but I just don’t think I can sit still and do nothing for like half an hour.”
“I just can’t somehow bring myself to start.”
“I tried it once, but I couldn’t do more than 5 minutes. Maybe it just isn’t for me.”
I’d been using those excuses, in turn, for the longest time. But then something changed.
Some of my closest, dearest souls had taken ill and it was a very difficult phase of life for me. I loved them like they were my children.
That’s when I got into GRATITUDE MEDITATION (that’s technique #5 in this article).
Not only did this technique do wonders to help me achieve as much peace of mind as I possibly could (under the given circumstances), but as I gave thanks to the Universe for my biggest blessings, I stepped back and realized that things were actually beginning to fall in place.
I haven’t looked back since.
So here it is – the top 5 easy, no-fail meditation techniques that have all been working for me.
TECHNIQUE #1 The Most Basic Breathing Meditation
Sit down wherever you feel comfortable (any room in the house will do, or outside, if that’s what you prefer). Meditation corners are actually pretty great. But they are not essential.
Close your eyes, and sit in any pose that you find relaxing (cross-legged works best for me). I lay my hands out on my lap, palms facing up (feel free to do just about whatever works for you). Quick aside here – people usually find specific hand positions or mudras to be specially powerful in shifting moods and energy. You can find a bit more info here, but again, no mudras are essential.
Close your eyes and breathe. No special breaths. Just normal breathing.
It’s natural for your mind to jump about, thinking one thing to the other (sometimes completely unrelated) especially the first few times you try meditation. This is perfectly fine. Just let it be.
All you gotta do is not switch back to the “autopilot” mode, where you don’t really have awareness of what you’re thinking.
You could even just quickly jot your thoughts down in a notebook after your session is done, just to keep track of where the mind goes. And how patterns shift as you progress in your practice. But that’s up to you.
Over the course of a few sessions, you’ll realise the thoughts don’t fluctuate as much. It gets easier to think about just the breath.
So much so, that after my third or fourth session I felt completely rejuvenated. Fresh. Hyper-aware, yet completely calm.
And essentially, that’s what we’re going for. Zero anxiety and perfect calm.
Also, your sesisons can be as small or big as your mind feels comfortable. Even if you can only manage a couple of minutes – that’s ok. Don’t get discouraged.
It’s important, though, to build this up over time. Aim for a minute of increase every day or every other day. These days, I usually just go for a 10-15 minute quickie.
TECHNIQUE #2 Walking Meditation
I really love this one.
This one is for when you just can’t seem to sit still. Maybe you’re anxious or maybe there’s just a bit too much going on.
Or maybe you’re just looking for a new, fresh technique to get you out of the rut.
Pick a place to go for a walk. Somehwere not too busy makes sense. How about a park or some other natural setting, where there’s a bit of calm?
Now there’s actually two variations of this technique.
For the first one, you go on your walk, and all you do is remain aware of your mind and your thoughts. Like the first technique.
Again, you just let it wander and stay aware of where it goes.
The difference here lies in the simple act of walking. Sometimes, physical exercise helps letting go of anxiety more effectively. Combine exercise with meditation and sometimes what you’re left with is something bigger than the sum of its parts.
The other variation is essentially anchoring your mind to the sights, sounds, smells and feelings around you, in your surroundings. You make a conscious effort to observe every detail of the environment you’re in and just simply take it in.
TECHNIQUE #3 “Remember the happy” meditation
When I’m feeling super low and I need something to immediately perk me up, I use one of my “mood shifters”. One of my most effective mood shifters is this handy little technique.
I sit down comfortably, with my eyes closed and palms facing up, again.
This time, I won’t let my thoughts wander. I just focus on counting backwards from 100 to 0. I try to keep my focus on the numbers and my breath.
Then immediately when I hit 0, I think of one memory that makes me feel either really joyous or really at peace.
I play that memory in my mind like a movie, and I’m taken right back to the setting. I try to make it as vivid as possible. All the little details that I can remember get put in there, in my little movie.
Don’t remember too many details? Don’t worry about it. This works just as effectively if you make them up as you go. Just put in all the little things that you think will help you reach an emotional state that’s more positive and balanced than the one you are currently experiencing. Vusualisation is a powerful tool.
What’s important is that you do your best to feel like you’re right back there. It’s the experience, more than the specific minute details of the memory that counts.
All you need is a pre-determined memory.
My “go-to” memory is from a time I was working in an evergreen rainforest. We had a little break day from the grueling (but oh-so-wonderful) field work and I took a Gerald Durrell book to a little farm right up the road from the shack where we were staying. I stretched out and lay down on the grass, under a big Banyan tree. It was a crisp, spring afternoon, and the sun was just right.
I was in bliss, just being there in that moment, reading that book. Soaking up the sun and the freshness of the cool, fresh air. That’s all I needed right then to feel completely at peace.
Your memory can be absolutely anything you want. It can be as complex or as simple, as long or as short as you need it to be. It can be one where you’re alone or one in which you’re surrounded by people.
It can even be a vision from your imagination or where you’d like your future to go. In fact, that’s probably even better.
But trust me, do it right and this one is an immediate mood-booster.
TECHNIQUE #4 Mantra meditation
This one is pretty obvious, but very powerful.
You stay seated, with eyes closed and repeat any mantra that you can think of to help you.
The most popular one would be the “Om” mantra. It’s known as the sound of creation. You can say it out loud as you meditate or you can think it in your mind. Try to train your focus on the sound of the mantra, and nothing else. Again, do not be harsh or judgmental or ridicule yourself if you think random things. But just gently remind yourself of the sound of the mantra.
Instead of a mantra, you can even use your own affirmations, if you believe in that sort of thing.
Affirmations help me stay positive, hopeful and grounded, so if you’d like, you can read about my use of affirmations too.
This technique works best with a bit of experimentation. Maybe certain mantras work better than others. Or maybe affirmations are your thing.
Invest a bit of time looking around to find your most suitable mantra. You won’t regret it.
TECHNIQUE #5 Gratitude meditation
There’s a reason I’ve kept this one for the end.
Yep, I’ve saved the best for last 😊
This one is something I simply adore. And this one is a mood booster too. A great one.
Here it goes.
I usually do this at night, before bed. Or sometimes, in the morning as I wake up. I start by lying down, closing my eyes, and focusing on nothing in particular, I say the words “thank you”.
Then, I picture the faces of all three of my kids, silently whispering “thank you”. I picture my parents, my brother, my best friends. I picture all the animals I feed everyday. The birds in my garden. I picture my favourite forest landscape. And all the while, I’m saying “thank you”.
The second last image I picture is that of my beloved grandmother, who departed for home in 2016.
She was another mother to me.
And you guessed it, I say “thank you”.
The very last image – I picture my reflection looking back at me from my mirror. I picture myself smiling. Maybe laughing. I take an effort to focus on all the little things I like about myself. I like my eyes, I like my smile. I like how thick my hair is. I say “thank you”. I feel myself being completely at peace. All the exhaustion from the day is gone – I’m full of peace, stability and life force.
All this sure looks like a lot of text, but it takes me less than 5 minutes to do.
And you can customize it as you deem fit. I do a shorter version where I don’t picture everyone. Just those people who could do with some good vibes sent to them or just those that I feel like focusing on, on that particular day/night.
And that works just as well, too.
Do you think you’re going to try any (or all!) of these? Let me know in the comments which one helped you, or reach out on social media. You can email me too, I respond to every email 🙂 and tell me all about some of your go-to meditation techniques too.