I read with interest the last blog post done by Jeanette about using exercise as a great way to relieve the effects of stress in our lives. It reminded me that we do not have to be victims of stress if we just take some positive action in our lives.
Of course, we, as artists also get some stress relief from creating, which is a wonderful way to do it! Sometimes, though, we can be hit so hard by events and pressures in our lives, that it is difficult to focus long enough in our chosen creative media to make a difference.
That's where exercise can come in handy. It is also where another method can help: Meditation! Now, I am not an expert in different forms of meditation. Not by any means. However, I have been a regular meditator for many years and I know it can be a very simple practice.
Research has shown that regular meditation can have very beneficial results on our physical and emotional well-being. I won't bore you with specific research studies - that is not my intent. I know from my own personal experience that even taking 20 minutes to a half an hour once a day can help me get through my day with much more ease and focus.
Another benefit of meditation is to provide a space for new inspiration to enter our awareness. In the process of quieting our minds, our creative "muse" can speak to us and we can hear it! It can be in the form of thoughts, ideas, images, or words. We are each different in how we receive new ideas.
A simple way to meditate is to just find a time (15 minutes to half an hour is fine) and quiet space where you will not be interrupted. Perhaps if you are a stay-at-home mom, when your little ones are napping or after they have gone to bed in the evening. Sit or lie down comfortably and first relax your body, focusing on each area of your body in sequence.
Intend that each part will relax, and it will. You can also visualize yourself in a real or imagined perfect spot in nature. Or just focus on your breathing. Take deep breaths noticing how your body feels as you breathe in and out. Just let go. If you find yourself thinking or worrying about something in your daily life, just notice it and then let it go. This is your time to allow yourself to just "BE". How infrequently we do this for ourselves, so busy are we in "DOING"!
After a few minutes, allow yourself to just gradually come back to waking reality, noticing how you feel. If you have fallen asleep, so be it! At least your body and mind have rested, which is probably what you needed. If you find your fall asleep every time, then make sure you are sitting up rather than lying down.
Try this once a day and see if you don't feel more peaceful, less stressed, and more focused. You may even find that you come out of your meditative state with a great new idea or two. If not, know that the more relaxed you are, the better you will feel and the easier your entire life can be.
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