Silent Mind: Tips for Meditation

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Studies prove there are many health benefits to meditation - not just for the mind, but also for the body. Taking a break and silencing your environment and thoughts is much easier said than done. To help you find a peaceful meditation practice, we've compiled a few tips we've learned along the way. 1. Start small. Often we set our expectations high and plan to sit in meditation for 30 minutes only to fall out of focus after 3 minutes. Then we get frustrated and say we can't meditate. As with anything, this takes practice. It's okay to start with 1 minute at a time. Taking a moment for yourself is better than none. Be patient. 2. Blue sky mind. When you close your eyes, picture a clear blue sky. As thoughts pop into your head, imagine them being clouds and let them blow across your sky. Rather than pushing thoughts down and creating a "that which resists, persists" struggle, the key is to acknowledge the thought and let it float by. Eventually, with practice, your mind will clear on it's own and your mind will be clear and cloudless. 3. Walk in silence. Sitting in silence may be too much for the ball of energy bouncing inside your physical body. Release this energy and step outside for a silent walking meditation. Listen to your steps, the birds singing, leaves blowing, the sound of your breath. Focusing your awareness on the present surroundings naturally quiets the monkey mind. 4. Breathe and count. Focusing on the breath not only relaxes and regulates the body's systems, but it's a tool to quiet the mind. Breathe in for 6 counts, hold for 2, breathe out for 6, and repeat. Match the length of your inhales with your exhales to maximize the benefits of breath, while also turning your thoughts away from your daily to-do list. 5. Alignment. For most of us, it's not normal to sit still. Our bodies are accustomed to moving, twitching, and shifting. Sitting still is a feat all on its own, and doing so pain-free is key. Many times our shoulders, back, and hips will ache when we sit still for an extended period of time. Amy Ippoliti helps us by uncovering the 5 most common alignment mistakes in meditation. If you don't have time to meditate, that might be a sign you need it the most. Give yourself the gift of a quiet mind to help your overall health and well being. Be kind to yourself and your mind with a daily dose of meditation.