Let’s discuss focused mediation today! The purpose of meditation is to reduce stress and anxiety, promote emotional health, enhance self-awareness and attention span, have control over your thought process, improve sleep, and even help decrease blood pressure.
Focused meditation is the practice of concentrating on something intently to remain in present moment awareness. The following may sound redundant, but reminiscing on the past and thinking about the future promotes chaos in daily living. Taking time to quiet our internal dialogue and staying in the present moment is centering and grounding. Focused meditation can be utilized by focusing your concentration on sounds (e.g., music), visual components (e.g., a flame of fire or mandala’s), taste, smell (e.g., aromatherapy), and, of course, your breathing pattern.
When starting focused meditation, start with small increments of time, like 5-10 minutes, and increase your time as your practice grows.
To start a focused meditation, find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. Best practice would be to wear comfortable clothing.
(1) Choose your target of focus, a beautiful photo, pleasing sounds, or simple cleansing breaths.
(2) Get into your comfy spot. Create a space that is aesthetically and fragrantly pleasing to you. Try setting up candles, incense, or a diffuser.
(3) Begin to focus on your object. If your mind begins to wander, acknowledge the thought, and bring your attention back to your destination. Initially, your attention will roam in the beginning stages of meditation. Be gentle, patient, and kind to yourself.
(4) Calm your internal monologue. Ruminating, rehashing, and analyzing stressful events and situations will diminish the purpose of focused meditation. Dismiss your “To Do” list and remind yourself that you have nowhere to go and nothing to do.
Remember to give your meditation practice time to grow. It is normal to follow habitual patterns. If starting a meditative practice is new to you, remind yourself that you are creating a new habit, and new habits take time to develop. As I stated before, start with short sessions. I know some of us feel that we are not “morning people,” but some of us are refreshed and analytical in the early morning hours when the brain’s serotonin levels are highest. However, in the evening hours and close to bedtime, the brain secretes more elevated levels of melatonin, aiding the ability to enter a blissful state. Hence, meditating during increased levels of melatonin supports a smoother meditative experience. The more you practice, the better you will become— happy meditative trails. I’ll see you in the gap.
Rhea Hill MS, LPC, NCC