Concentration & Meditation
I am a firm believer that meditation can happen just about anywhere we find ourselves. The important element is being able to concentrate long enough to receive the not only the inspirational benefits of meditation but the overall health and wellness benefits. If you are like most people, concentrating is the piece that keeps you from feeling like you are experiencing a successful meditation. I would like to share with you a few useful tips that I personally use to help me concentrate when meditating – no matter if I am sitting in a quiet warm and familiar place like my practicum room or on a noisy airplane.
One of most important things to remember when meditating – all is in perfection! If you are interrupted or lose focus after just a few minutes – Take a breath! Do not let the ‘shortness’ of the meditation get in the way of what even a few minutes can bring to you.
Mundane = Practice
Begin to redefine your definition of the word “mundane.” Washing your hair, chopping vegetables, any task you do routinely is an opportunity for you to practice staying present. This is done by concentrating fully on your daily tasks. For instance, if you are chopping vegetables focus completely on the task at hand, instead of thinking about your day at work or making a mental list of things to do the following day. If you have a lot of vegetables then set realistic goals like – while chopping the carrots you’ll remain present and focused. Then before you know it the carrots are done and you are onto the peppers. Keep extending the time frame you are staying present for. Don’t worry about the clock on the wall.
This practicing translates beautifully when you sit down to meditate. Set the mental reminder of staying present for ‘carrots’ and ‘peppers’. Your body and mind will know what this means and you can sit still and stay present for the meditation.
Business & Breathing
Whenever I am trying to push through tasks associated with business and I find my concentration levels plummeting, I give myself permission to take a short break. It can be as simple as putting my hands on my lap and gazing out my window to the street below. On days where the weather is sunny and warm, I actually get up and go out in the yard to take a small walk around. This can be done in an office as well. If you want or need to stay at your desk, then simply close your eyes and focus on your breathing. A Few deep breathes can have the same health benefits has deep meditation. Focusing on your breathing will help in rejuvenating your mind and you’ll be able to concentrate better.
Music for Your Mind
Music can intensify our moods and emotions. Just like you feel the urge to tap your feet or sway your body when you hear a peppy song or melody, playing slow relaxing music during meditation can help you calm your mind. Instrumental music or recorded sounds of falling water are believed to be an excellent addition to meditations. You will know which is best for you personally. Make sure you listen to a range of music melodies to get an understanding of how you respond to different types of rhythm.
There are days when I prefer no music at all, and then there are other days when I prefer to listen to guided meditations that take me on a journey. I trust myself to discern if external support is necessary or not and so will you!
Try this little concentration exercise. Whenever you have time, locate an object in your vicinity and focus on it for a minute or two to start with. Don’t allow any thoughts to enter your mind during this exercise. You can increase the number of minutes as your concentration levels start improving.
Here are three tips to help you train your mind to focus on the task at hand:
- Make sure you are comfortable – sitting, laying down etc. Your body needs to feel comfortable so it will be less likely to trigger the need for adjustment or movement.
- Breathing - focus on your breathing or a particular chant and your mind is less likely to wander.
- Timer - Start off with a short amount of time, set a timer if you need to. Increase your time in small increments. An example: 60 seconds, then 2 minutes, then five minutes, then six minutes etc.
Additionally, as you relax your mind you can move your focus to the sensations in your body, this helps enhance your meditation experience. Meditation is said to help you improve your concentration power, however, to be able to meditate you first need to discipline your mind enough to concentrate on a single task for at least a few moments. These tips and suggestions above can help you achieve this end and prepare your mind for much improved meditation experience not to say improve your overall health and wellness.