The numerous and varied benefits of meditation have been known for centuries. The practice has been shown to improve one’s overall mood and have a positive impact on one’s emotional, physical, and mental health. New York City is a vibrant place, positively teeming with energy. And while that energy can be invigorating, it’s a good idea to separate oneself from it now and again — to take some time to breathe, reflect, and destress. However, finding the time and the space for meditation can be difficult. Fortunately for residents of the One Manhattan Square residences on the Lower East Side, there are four fitness studios in the building that can be transformed into spaces for meditation. And if you’re planning to use those spaces, consider these five meditation tips to help shed stress.
There’s a common misconception that one needs a large amount of free time to be able to meditate successfully — but nothing could be further from the truth. Even five minutes can make a great difference. So, if it’s your first foray into meditation, start small. Set aside a few minutes each day, and follow a simple routine: Focus on your breathing; your mind will wander, but gently bring your focus back to your breathing. Try to let go of stressful thoughts. At first, you probably won’t be able to clear your head of all the thoughts racing through it — in fact, many meditation enthusiasts say they are never able to fully clear their heads. But it’s not about perfection, it’s about making the time and going through the process.
We are big proponents of using apps to aid meditation — especially in the beginning. Apps like Headspace, Calm, and Insight Timer provide guided meditations of various lengths. It’s like having your own private meditation guide available on demand. While these apps are invaluable to beginners, many seasoned meditators use them, too.
Make It Part of Your Routine
This is vital. If you don’t carve out some time for yourself each day to meditate, it’s not going to happen. If you want to truly benefit from meditation, it must become a part of your routine. This doesn’t mean you have to do it for an hour every day, but you should find time to meditate on most days. Again, even if it’s five minutes, it will help. Wake up, shower, brush your teeth, and meditate.
Count Your Breaths
A main component of meditation is focusing on your breath. When you focus on slow, deliberate breaths, your body will naturally relax. And when your attention is on inhalations and exhalations, it’s not on all of the stressors clattering around your mind. It’s one of the best ways to clear your head, slow your heart rate, and shed some tension. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Many meditation guides recommend counting breaths to keep yourself on course. After a while, you won’t need to do it anymore, but it’s a huge help in the beginning.
Don’t Stress (About Meditation)
The most important thing to keep in mind is that getting better at meditation takes time. Don’t stress if you find your mind wandering all over the place. That’s fine. When you are learning, just remember to always be as chill and relaxed as possible. If you begin to stress out and worry that you’re not meditating properly, your sessions will never improve. Just go with the flow, stay loose, and eventually you will improve. It will happen.