Healing from anger, frustration, anxiety, stress, exhaustion, or any other emotional ailment that blocks happiness—and often productivity—isn’t easy. It takes time, commitment, and a willingness to change.
And sometimes, the hardest part can simply be getting started.
Through years of study and professional work, though, I have found that a simple two- to five-minute daily ritual can make all the difference—even before starting the actual work of overcoming anger, working through grief, or restructuring a damaged relationship.
That ritual is meditation in its most basic, purest form—measured breathing.
It involves taking a few minutes at a regular, set time each day to focus on your breath and think of nothing but the moment you are in.
It is true that there are many types of meditation that involve special settings, unique training, and even specific attire, movements, and recitations. But the foundation of all that is merely measured, deep breathing.
And if you can first incorporate that into your daily life—even for a few minutes—you’ll soon be on your way to making bigger, more lasting improvements.
The number of benefits derived from practicing meditation is huge and includes:
Meditation truly is a miracle worker.
Recently on the Emotions Mentor podcast, I spoke with davidji meditation expert and holistic life coach Shauna Wetenkamp about the benefits of meditation and how to start out with basic breath work in order to make big changes.
Shauna recommends starting small by picking a time of day for two to five minutes for simple meditation. Don’t worry about a perfect pose or practicing a specific form of meditation. That can all come later.
Instead, follow this easy, six-step process:
1. Get in a comfortable position with the goal to calm your mind by focusing only on your breath.
You can sit on a chair or the floor or even lie in your bed.
2. Inhale (or diffuse) an essential oil of your choice.
This will help imprint the ritual in your mind. To inhale the oil, either place a few drops on a tissue and then wave the tissue in front of your nose or breathe in deeply from an open bottle.
If you choose to diffuse the oil, pick any method you’d like—a steam diffuser, a candle diffuser, or even a necklace diffuser. Several ideas for using essential oils during meditation—including what oils to pick—are outlined at the end of this article.
3. Close your eyes or find an object to focus on or hold.
If you’re helping children learn the ritual, a smooth stone or something small they can manipulate with their hands would be a good object to choose. Adults might choose to focus on a beautiful piece of art.
4. In your mind, count to five slowly as you breathe in deeply.
5. Slowly count down from five as you exhale.
6. Repeat the process of breathing in and out as many times as you’d like.
The point of the exercise is to unclutter the mind. After you have practiced breathing for a minute or two, feel free to stop and focus on just a few simple thoughts, such as the beauty of a new day or something you are grateful for.
You might want to stop between breaths occasionally and think of a single word, such as love or peace or forgiveness.
You could also take a few minutes afterward to freewrite in a journal or notebook. (Freewriting is simply putting your thoughts to paper as they come to your mind.)
As you continue a daily practice of meditation, your ability to clear your mind will improve—as will the benefits of meditation—and you may want to add steps to the process or learn a specific type of meditation.
Essential Oil Tips
You can use any oil you’d like as you learn to meditate.
Some of my favorite stand-alone oils for meditation are frankincense, myrrh, neroli, sandalwood, vetiver, lavender, and ylang ylang.
There are also some amazing blends you can make for a more memorable experience. Here are five to try:
1. Fabulous Focus Blend:
Five to six drops each grapefruit, bergamot, basil, and lemon. Add to a roller bottle and top off with your favorite carrier oil. Roll over the pulse points before meditating and then throughout the day to recall the calm, clear feelings of that moment.
2. Calming Blend:
Add 3 drops lavender, 3 drops neroli or petigrain, and 2 drops ylang ylang to a diffuser. Run the diffuser with this blend before meditating and again just before bedtime to promote better sleep.
3. Grounding Blend:
Place 3 drops each sandalwood, frankincense, and bergamot on a tissue or in a personal diffuser. Wave the tissue beneath your nose before meditating. Wear the blend in a diffuser necklace throughout the day.
4. Tension-Relieving Blend:
Place 2 drops frankincense and 2 drops peppermint on your wrists and rub together before inhaling. This blend is also a great remedy for head tension, it can be applied to the back of the neck or the temples and massaged in gently to relieve pain and tension.
5. Revitalizing Blend:
Add 10 drops basil, 10 drops roman chamomile, and 4 ounces water to a small spritzer bottle. Spritz the air and breathe in deeply before meditating.
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