by Kathy Smith
In the simplest sense, meditation can help banish negative thoughts by clearing your mind entirely. One popular meditation technique is to focus on a positive idea or happy moment. As soon as a negative thought bubbles to the happy, calm surface you created, think of it as a duck that is paddling away from you and return your focus to happier thoughts. It’s not always easy to erase negative thought patterns, but meditation can at least help you become more conscious of them, and that’s the first step.
As if happier thoughts aren’t enough of a benefit, research is showing that meditation can help restructure the brain in ways that lead to more enhanced concentration, boosted immunity, and increased compassion. Even the most basic attempts at meditation have been shown to have immediate positive results.
If you haven’t begun a meditation practice, or are looking to take your practice to the next level, then stay tuned. Today, I’ll guide you through three meditation styles to enhance your life and recharge your batteries.
1. Nature Meditation
One of my favorite ways to change my mental state is to meditate deeply on a part of nature. Take five minutes to look closely at a flower. Study the details of its texture and the structure. By observing the smallest features of a flower or any object, you develop a sense of reverence. The flower becomes a little miracle. You begin to see how complete and fully alive the natural world is at all levels. Meditating on nature can be calming, fascinating, and inspiring all at once.
2. Gratitude Meditation
I love what Oprah said about gratitude, “I know for sure that appreciating whatever shows up for you in life changes your personal vibration. You radiate and generate more goodness for yourself when you’re aware of all you have and not focusing on your have-nots.”
Every morning, I start my day by making a gratitude list. It gets me moving on a positive track!
So take a few minutes today meditating on all the things in your life that you’re thankful for. You might even think about taking out your phone, opening the notes, and writing your daily list.
3. Breathing Meditation
Slow, deep breathing is one of the best stress busters there is. Focus your attention on the breath entering your body, your breath flowing out, and the spaces in between the breath. Several minutes of this can lower your pulse, reduce your blood pressure, and relax much of the muscular tension in your body.
This popular breathing method is one of the easiest and most effective forms for the uninitiated to attempt. Try it during stressful situations throughout your day. Within minutes, you’ll see how it helps you stay present in the moment, and yet separated from the situation that created stress in the first place.
Remember, as you work through these three meditations negative messages may surface. It’s o.k. (and very common) if they do. Your meditation practice will become more profound as you turn your focus back to nature, what you’re grateful for, or your breath. Like anything new, the more you practice, the easier it becomes to switch your mindset.
Here’s to your health and happiness!
Kathy Smith, New York Times bestselling author, has stood at the forefront of the fitness and health industries for over 30 years. The numbers speak for themselves: Kathy has sold more than 20 million exercise DVDs - landing her in the Video Hall of Fame - and $500 million in Kathy Smith products. With her revolutionary approach to fitness, Smith has touched millions of people, inspiring them to move, live, and love.