Meditation is having a renaissance with more and more people practicing it in the name of improved well-being. Meditation isn’t just some woo-woo thing, either. Studies continue to show that this ancient practice has numerous physiological benefits, from lowering blood pressure to soothing anxiety to reducing pain. Many people are aware of meditation’s benefits, but feel that they just don’t have the time or patience to practice. Good news: there are many quick, easy meditation practices that don’t involve long periods of sitting. Today, we’re going to share four simple meditative rituals that you can practice at home for inner peace. Before we dive in, let’s quickly go over some basics.
What is meditation?
Meditation is a practice of training your awareness. You’re not trying to prevent your thoughts and feelings. Rather, you’re working towards observing them without judgment. Learning how to meditate is like learning any other skill. It takes consistent practice to get comfortable. Sometimes your focus will wander and that’s perfectly okay and expected. The important thing is noticing your attention has wandered and bringing it back to your focal point, over and over.
What are the benefits of meditation?
The benefits of meditation are extensive and offer both mental and physical benefits:
- Can help you deal with stress
- May help relieve headaches
- May help with symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Can improve self-awareness
- May help you feel more empathy for yourself and others
- Can improve immunity
- Can improve mindfulness
Meditative rituals for inner peace
It’s important to understand that there is no one way to meditate. You can also reap benefits with as little as five to ten minutes of practice a day. Here are five meditative rituals that will work to enrich your body, refresh your mind, and nourish your soul.
1. Body Scan Meditation
A body scan is a super simple meditation exercise that involves bringing your attention to different areas of your body. This can be done anywhere in any position. Simply bring your attention to your body and notice what sensations you’re feeling. Start at your head and slowly move through your entire body, pausing to notice each individual part: your neck, shoulders, arms, chest, stomach, hips, butt, legs, and feet. Notice if there is any pain, tightness, tingling, coldness, heat, or if you feel nothing at all. Don’t judge what you feel—simply notice it with a detached sense of curiosity. Whatever you notice is okay—just be with it.
If you’re not feeling drawn to a seated meditation, opt for an active meditation such as yoga. Yoga is the ultimate mind-body experience and combines the best of both worlds: mindful breathing and movement. Yoga can easily be done anywhere in your house with a yoga-mat-length floor space. If you’re a yoga veteran, create your own flow by letting your body move as it would like. If you’re a beginner, head to YouTube—there are tons of great yoga sessions for all levels that you can follow along with.
3. 4-7-8 breathing
This simple meditative breathing technique, also known as 4-7-8 breathing, involves breathing in through your nose for four seconds, holding your breath for seven seconds, and breathing out through your mouth for eight seconds. While breathing in and out, bring your attention to your breath and follow it as it goes in through your nose and out through your mouth. Repeating this deep, rhythmic breathing sequence up to four times has been shown to reduce anxiety, help with falling asleep, control or reduce anger responses, and bring your attention back to the present moment.
4. Meditative shower
A shower is the perfect setting to let all your worries and thoughts go. The calming effect of the warm water puts your mind at ease, which frees up space to practice being in the present moment. Use your time in the shower to tune into your senses. Choose a soap that you love or add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the tub. Notice the fragrant smells, how the water feels going over your body, and what the water droplets look like on the tiles. Whatever you notice, just take it in until the next thing grabs your attention. As a bonus, give yourself a meditative facial after your shower!
5. Repeat an affirmation
An affirmation is an uplifting, encouraging sentence that declares something that you wish to be true. To do this meditative exercise, simply choose a sentence that motivates you in that moment. For example, if you’re feeling on edge, you might choose the affirmation, “I am calm and at ease.” The words we say to and about ourselves can influence how we think, feel, and behave, which can have a significant influence on how our lives unfold. Simply repeat your chosen affirmation for a minute, taking deep breaths between each repetition. Doing daily affirmations is a great way to support and encourage yourself to show up as your best self every day.
Meditation offers tons of benefits and is a highly effective tool for encouraging inner peace. Experiment with the above rituals and see which ones feel best to you. Remember, there is no “right” way to practice meditation. The most important thing is to practice consistently, as the positive effects build over time.