Meditation

What are Tingsha Bells Used For?

For those who are not active in the Tibetan Buddhist community, nor participating in the worldwide interest in meditation and yoga, you might wonder, “What are Tingsha bells used for?

In this article, we will explain the various uses, as well as the origins and significance, of Tingsha bells.

Often used during Tibetan prayer rituals and for their soothing, healing-promoting sounds, Tingsha bells are beloved and significant objects of religious observance, cultural identity, and contemporary wellness practices.

These sturdy bells are shaped like small, thick cymbals and are stored in a protective pouch when not in use (to protect against corrosion). Tingsha bells are designed to act in perfectly balanced sound pairs connected to each other by a short cord which is often made of leather.


meditation room ideas

Meditation Room Ideas

Having a designated room in the house dedicated to meditation is a privilege. But for many of us, it is a necessity as well! If you happen to have a spare room or space that you can turn into even into a small room, using it for meditation purposes will help you have your own peaceful sanctuary at home. It is such a fun room to design and your options are endless.

In this article, we’ll look at several meditation room ideas, and give you some suggestions to outfit your quiet space.

Important Things To Consider When Designing Your Meditation Room

How your meditation room looks and feels can greatly affect you during meditation. If you are teaching a class, the ambiance can also affect your students. However, how the place looks, if the colors match or the wallpaper you place are just part of the whole picture. There are other important and practical things to think of when designing your meditation room such as the following:

Sound Levels

The sound levels in your meditation room are very important. Although some can focus even when there is a bit of noise outdoors, that may not be true for all. Ask yourself if you want the room to be as quiet as possible? Then you’d have to think of soundproofing the room.

Also, if you like to play music to enhance the mood, then you’d have to think of getting good speakers. You may also choose to go for the natural route. If there are trees and birds around you, could you open the windows and hear them without getting distracted with traffic noise.

And many of us find getting the focus on the breath to be a little bit easier with the use of a singing bowl or tinghsha bell.

Time Of Meditation

candle and buddha statue

Although you can meditate at any time of day, you should consider what time of day you are likely to meditate. If you choose to meditate in the morning, do you consider sunshine to be of help or more of a distraction because of the bright light or heat?

If you prefer night meditations for sleep, you should also consider the number of people in the house. If they are watching TV or just goofing around the house, could you still meditate with the noise?

If the noise is too loud at certain times when you meditate, you can benefit well from the soundproofing. If you meditate in the mornings when no one else is around and the noise outside isn’t that bad, then you might not need the soundproofing.

Privacy

privacy meditation

Another factor to consider is privacy. The ideal meditation room is a room that isn’t used for anything else and is separate from the house for more privacy and fewer sound distractions.

However, that isn’t always possible and you have to learn to make do.

Privacy can be achieved when your meditation space is a room where you have a door that you can close and lock.

For those who can’t really use the whole room for meditation purposes alone, physical barriers can be used to separate the space.

Heating And Cooling

Controlling the temperature in your meditation room is also important. It will greatly affect your comfort so make sure you have the right tools and devices to help you regulate the room temperature.

Temperature fluctuations and HVAC systems can produce significant distractions that can frustrate meditators.

Meditation Room Ideas and Themes

When you’ve thought of and considered those found above, it is time to get creative and design your meditation room according to your preference. You can start by thinking of an overall theme to use for your room.

Think of the overall look and feel of the room then you can add the details later on. It may seem overwhelming or confusing to think of a theme but once you found one, it would be easier to add in the details later on. To get you started, here are some ideas for meditation room themes.

Minimalist

This theme usually uses neutral colors and it is the simplest of all. It only contains the essential items you need for meditation. It exudes simplicity and organization with the absence of clutter. This theme is very basic and yet it works because your senses don’t get too distracted by the things around you.

It can be as simple as a room with an Alexia Meditation Chair (one of our favorite meditation cushions) and a candle for you to focus on.

Alexia Meditation Chair

Spa

Kenroy Home Indoor Fountain

When you enter a spa, there is a certain ambiance that feels relaxing and calm. You can use this as a theme for your meditation room. It can be as simple as lighting some candles or using essential oils for aromatherapy. It can also be as extravagant as looking like you might experience on a holiday.

This usually features comfy seats or a zafu and zabuton set, relaxing scents and the sound of trickling water from an indoor water feature like the Kenroy Home Indoor Fountain shown above would also feel nice.

Cozy Comfort

Cozy comfort themes are great for rooms that have limited spaces. Even if they are small, you can still make them inviting and warm. Blankets can be helpful here.

Natural candles add to the coziness and feeling of warmth. Using a meditation pillow instead of a rug also makes the space more cozy and comfortable.

Open Space

indoor meditation garden

Although some people might love the idea of tight and cozy spaces others might feel claustrophobic in them. Creating a meditation room that has an open space theme can feel more comfortable. With this, you want to open up the room as much as possible.

Big windows will work well with this kind of theme because it lets lots of natural light in. Apart from using light, walls should also be light-colored to bounce off the light.

Sacred Temple

japanese temple

Another good theme to create is the temple theme. Look at temples, sacred places, and shrines as an inspiration. This theme will usually contain various natural elements that can be carved. It could also have some incense or candles. Depending on the type of temple you get inspiration from, you can create something that reflects African, Asian, Aztec, or other cultures.

Place a Tatami Mat on the ground, decorate with natural woods, use an electric incense burner and some frankincense, and you’ll be well on your way!

Outdoor Meditation Room

outdoor meditation room

Your meditation room doesn’t need to be inside the house, you can take it outdoors!

Just take note of the noise levels. If you live in a busy community, then this may not be the best for you.

An outdoor meditation room can also be part of your garden or backyard. Make sure it has a roof or shelter above it to prevent it from getting ruined due to unforeseen weather conditions. Meditation rooms are supposed to help you concentrate and meditate not feel depressed because of how it looks after the rain.

Color Themed

Aside from various themes, it is also possible to focus on a color to create your meditation room. It can be a single color, shades of one color, contrasting color, or a mixture of several ones.

Just make sure it looks cohesive and well put together rather than just mixing random items with the same color.

Zen Garden

zen garden

If you can’t bring your meditation room to your garden outdoors, you can certainly create yourself an indoor zen garden for your meditation room. The focal points of Zen gardens are the sand or gravel features.

Fit your sand container below the floor level so that when you add the sand, it’ll be at the same level as the floor. You can add potted plants for the beautiful green contrast.

Alternately, you can just use a pre-made tabletop zen garden.

Wooden meditation benches like the one offered by SPOKO Meditation Chair B01MSN9NG1 has a natural appeal that would fit your zen garden well.


More Tips On Creating Your Meditation Room

Maintain Your Meditation Room

After creating and designing your meditation room, you should make sure to maintain it well so you’ll feel as comfortable and relaxed as you would the first time you used it.

If something about it is stressing you out, like clutter, candle wax drops, spilled essential oils, dirty cushions, and others, then you haven’t properly maintained the room.

Minimize Clutter

Flow.Month Backflow Incense Burner

It can be tempting to decorate your room with lots of decorations, but you don’t really need much. Often a single focal point like a candle, or a beautiful backflow incense burner like the Flow.month one shown above, will provide all you need.

Also, if you are the only one who uses the meditation room, you should also consider keeping the extra meditation rugs and cushions out of sight. The less clutter you see, the more focused you’d become.

Use Natural Features

meditation plants

There’s just something about natural features that can help improve the ambiance of the place. Natural features like plants, flowers or even water features can greatly improve how your meditation room feels.

If you are afraid of killing plants, get hardy ones that are meant to be indoors. The pop of green color can be refreshing to the eyes.

Choose The Right Seating

Not all people would be comfortable crossing their legs while seating on the floor. Being at an uncomfortable position makes it much harder to meditate. Today, there are different kinds of meditation seats available.

Some can be made of soft foam for other comforts while others are just simple rugs. There are also meditation benches that look great in various meditation room themes.

Consider Using Aromatherapy

incense smoke

When you enter a meditation room, you’ll often be greeted by incense. See our article on incense meanings for some good choices for your room.

In a spa, you’ll be welcomed by the relaxing aroma of essential oils. Similarly, you can also use the power of essential oils to help set your mood. There are essential oils that can be used for meditation because they do not only help you relax, they also help you focus on what you need to focus. Some essential oils also reduce stress like Jasmine, Clary Sage, Bergamot, Lavender, Lemon, and Ylang Ylang.

Light Some Candles

WoodWick Candle

Whether you use scented candles or not, lighting them can help improve the atmosphere in your meditation room. A burning candle is also sometimes used as a tool for meditation as the person focuses on the dancing flame.

However, while candles can also be a potential risk so make sure you blow them out after your session. Also, make sure that the candles you are using are not too used up and will be able to last through your meditation session.

Carefully Choose Your Lighting Sources

Himalayan Salt Lanp

Natural light is great but you can’t rely on it 24/7. However, there is much artificial light today that can help provide a suitable source for meditation. There are even lightbulbs that are dimmable so you can adjust them to the right brightness.

Himalayan Salt Lamps are also a great source of light because they have that calming reddish glow. They also offer other purported benefits for the body.

No Screens Allowed

It can be tempting to place a TV or a smart device in the meditation room but you should fight that urge. It is meant to be a meditation room that’s free of stress and distraction. Screens can cause distraction and can compete with your focus.

The temptation to use them is already great so don’t make it more difficult to resist by adding screens to your meditation room.

Meditation apps are popular, but in our eyes, they create as many problems as they solve. Better to get a book like The Mind Illuminated, and use it.


Final Words

When creating a meditation room, it is important to remember that not all people will feel the same about a certain meditation room. It is a matter of preference. We’ve discussed some of the most basic things to decide on when purchasing a home. Above are also some ideas on what theme to create for your meditation room.

Meditation Practice

Best Mind Machines 2021 Reviews

In the busy and stressful world we have today, nothing feels better than tranquility. There are different paths to tranquility, but one way to get there is through meditation. Meditation helps you relax not only your physical body but your mind as well. It allows you to obtain mental clarity and learn to focus your energy on more relevant things in life.

Meditation is simple, but not easy. It requires a lot of practice but it can be learned and there are simple things you can do even as beginners. Additionally, today’s technology makes it much easier to meditate through the use of various meditation machines.

In this review, we’ll look at several of the Best Mind Machines available. We also include a buyer’s guide that gives some context. We’ll start with the Best Meditation Machine, the Mind Place Kasina Mind Media System.

Happiness

Make Yourself Happier with Loving Kindness Meditation.

It’s hard to walk around nowadays without tripping over someone doing mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness is on everyone’s mind — it’s everywhere! On our phones, on the covers of magazines, all over youtube. Apps, books, retreats. It can’t be avoided.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a really great development. But here’s the thing: mindfulness meditation isn’t the only kind of meditation there is. It’s really useful, but there are other kinds that are just as rewarding. Maybe even more rewarding!

One of these lesser-known types of meditation is Loving Kindness Meditation, also known as Metta meditation.

The best thing about Loving Kindness Meditation is that it can actually make you a happier person. In this article, we’ll take a close look at Loving Kindness meditation and go over the basics of how it works. We’ll also look at some of the research as to the benefits of loving-kindness meditation.

Morning Worship

How to Meditate in the Morning. Start the Day Right!

What better way to start your day than to meditate in the morning? Starting the day right by meditating for about 20 minutes (or less!) can help kickstart your morning. By centering yourself early in the day, you’ll be ready for the challenges the day brings.

Even if lots of people like to regularly meditate in the morning, many find it hard to stick with the habit. Understandably, some can be a bit hesitant with the idea because it seems to be too daunting and too time-consuming.

how to meditate in the morning

Some feel overwhelmed about having to give up a few minutes of sleep just to mediate in the morning. While some just don’t know how to do it. For this article, I’ll share with you how to meditate in the morning as well as the reasons why you should do it.

This guide will also give you some simple tips that you can follow so you can include meditation as a daily practice in your life. Whether you do it for 30 minutes, 20 minutes or even for 5 minutes.

The important thing is you start today.

Meditation Group

Mindfulness Exercises for Groups

Practicing mindfulness is a helpful way to release tension and anxiety. It also works to help you better connect with your surroundings by encouraging you to focus on the small things in life. Besides doing mindfulness exercises by yourself, you can also do them in a group setting.

Below is more behind the art of mindfulness meditation and some mindfulness exercises for groups to try.

mindfulness exercises for groups

Incense Sticks

Best Incense Brands. 6 Top Incense Sticks

Incense has been used as an aid for prayer, meditation, and religious ceremonies since time immemorial. It is inextricably intertwined with the divine. Over time, incense has migrated from the temple to the home, and is often used for aromatherapy, relaxation, pleasant vibes, and as an aid to meditation.

Aromas, scents, and fragrances are used to evoke specific responses and trigger certain feelings. That’s why incense finds so many different applications. They are used to aid sleep, promote relaxation, stimulate creativity, improve concentration, encourage healing, increase motivation, and heighten sexual desire. Moreover, the presence of certain ingredients can be used for specific purposes.

In this article, we’ll look at the best incense brands, and help you find the right incense for your needs.

Incense Setup

Best Incense Cones: Backflow Bliss!

Incense is a great option if you’re a fan of scents. The good thing about incense is that it has a unique smell and it lasts a long time. Incense is also nothing new – it’s been used for years for different ceremonies, aromatherapy and meditation and as a deodorant. Besides that, incense can also be used to prevent bugs.

Incense is available in multiple different scents. If you’re looking for top incense cones, you’ve come to the right place. Read more to learn about the best incense cones and what to look for before buying some for your home.

Meditation View

Best Time To Meditate. Reap the Benefits of Effective Meditation

There are many paths to meditation. Some meditate to find calm and serenity. Others seek enlightenment. Some meditate for cognitive health, while others search for insight. Meditation is both extremely easy and quite challenging. All you have to do is sit there and concentrate on the breath.

Easier said than done. Distractions abound, both inside your head and outside!

For this reason, it’s a good idea to try to stack the deck in your favor by trying to get yourself in the optimal situation for successful, worthwhile meditation.

This article will explore more behind the art of meditation, and cover some tips to make the meditation session more effective. We’ll consider some best practices, comfort suggestions, the best time to meditate, and how to build the meditation habit.

best time to meditate

Sleeping with flowers

How to Meditate Lying Down. 3 Ways to Meditate in Bed

Those of us who (try to) keep up a daily meditation practice know that finding that time every day can be difficult. With super-full schedules overflowing with work, children, family, friends, obligations, etc., squeezing in a significant block of meditation time each day is a challenge.

To meditate, all you really need is a relatively quiet place free from excessive distraction, and a reasonably comfortable place to set your body. One place that fits the bill is your bed! The problem is that if you try to meditate in bed, you may aim for enlightenment, but you often end up in dreamland.

This article is a look at how to meditate lying down. It focuses on meditation positions and techniques that will encourage meditation in bed without falling asleep. Meditation while lying down is a great solution to the scheduling problem. It’s easy to fit in meditation time first thing in the morning or just before sleep. We just need to find a way to stay awake during that meditation time.

how to meditate lying down

Meditation on Beach

How to Meditate Daily: Build the Habit

Meditation is an activity that has positive health benefits, both mental and physical. It can be used to assist nearly everything from lowering blood pressure to calming anxiety to aiding in sleep.

The secret ingredient, if you will, is that meditation focuses on breathing. A focus on breathing can produce a variety of mental states, most of them very positive. They can help provide different understandings, perspectives, clarity, calm, and peace.

While identifying the benefits of meditation is easy, building up to a regular, daily meditation practice is quite difficult. This article looks at how to meditate daily, and focuses on tips and strategies to help make meditating part of your daily routine.

How to Meditate Daily

Laying Down

Mindfulness Sleep Exercises. How to Use Meditation to Encourage Rest

Do you have difficulty sleeping? Is your mind in a whirl as you lay awake in bed? Been using your phone and laptop way later than you should be?

If this sounds familiar, you are likely suffering from insomnia.

Sure, you can take Ambien or other milder substances like melatonin and Kava to get you to sleep, but this isn’t a sustainable solution. Instead, it’s better to get your sleep under control and attempt to rearrange your evening around getting better sleep.

This article looks at how you can use meditation to help get to sleep, and includes Mindfulness Sleep Exercises to encourage healthy sleep.

mindfulness sleep exercises

Anxiety

Meditation Techniques for Anxiety: Find Calm in the Storm

We all seek contentment in our everyday lives. Achieving a level of happiness is harder for some than for others. For those suffering the debilitating illnesses of depression and/or anxiety, life can be miserable. Despite the sense of helplessness when anxiety sets in, you can take control over how you feel. It takes a little time to train your brain, but it can be done. The brain is like the control panel for your hormones. Scientifically, it’s much more complex than my simple explanation. Though you can to take charge of your body, instead of allowing everything to go into auto-mode.

It is important to understand what is happening with the chemicals in your body. Then, you will soon realize that you do have a certain amount of control over your own physiology. This is not an instant cure, it takes time and patience to change your lifestyle. It will be worth every effort you put into it because a more relaxed “you” will come out of the other end.

Make the negative emotions of stress and anxiety a thing of the past. In the future, you will have new coping strategies to enable you to recognize and deal with the onset of anxiety.

  • What is anxiety?
  • How does it become so controlling in our lives?
  • What can we do to take back that control?

Read on and find out the answers to these questions, and more…

meditation tips for anxietyMeditation Techniques for Anxiety

What is Anxiety?

Stress

Stress is not a modern condition, as people have suffered it through the ages. Though, it was not until the 1920s that a Hungarian endocrinologist, Hans Selye first introduced a theoretic model on stress. He called it General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS). Model of Stress. As stress is usually due to how we react to a threat, imagined or real, he came up with three stages of response:

  1. Alarm. The typical Fight or Flight we have all learned to recognize.
  2. Resistance. The body releases natural chemicals such as the cortisol hormone, which in turn raises our adrenalin levels. It also raises blood sugars. This is when we experience heavy breathing and hot sweats. Now we are ready to deal with the threat, as our body’s defenses are at their peak.
  3. Exhaustion. Once the threat has passed, the body clockwork has gone through stages 1 and 2, and we have dealt with the threat. If, though, the body stays in that state of alert, we then enter stage 3 which is dangerous to our wellbeing.

Stages 1 and 2 are normal states for the human body to adapt and cope with sudden threats. If stage 2 is prolonged, the body will suffer chronic stress. The immune system weakens due to the excess amounts of steroid hormones, such as cortisol.

Prolonged stress can trigger anxieties as we begin to see perceived threats all the time Stress Symptoms.

ghost

Anxiety

It is not surprising that many people suffer from anxieties in this modern world, where we live life at a fast pace. When we find ourselves in certain situations, our body can act as though there is a threat.

We begin to imagine threats that surround us daily, acting as triggers to an anxiety. Typical symptoms of this can be:

  • Inability to stop worrying over anything and everything.
  • Feeling on edge all the time.
  • Unable to concentrate, and feeling tired.
  • Tense muscles and irritability leading to being easily startled.
  • Unable to sleep.

Throughout this process, there are other physical symptoms. such as:

  • Breathlessness.
  • Tingling fingers.
  • Cold sweat.
  • Nausea.
  • Stomach and bowel upsets.

If anxiety becomes excessive, the sufferer may go on to experience more severe effects, such as:

  • Panic attacks.
  • Developing phobias.
  • Developing Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders (OCD).

These conditions are backed by many scientific studies. These studies have armed us with the knowledge to learn how we, as individuals, can combat the stresses and anxieties of daily life.

Learning to be mindful of your thoughts, body, and surroundings is a vital stage to eliminate anxiety from your life. With the right mindset, you can declutter your mind and learn exercises and routines that will help diffuse that awful sense of impending doom. If you are an anxious person, then this is the beginning of reducing those worries; through a self-help process.

Not that seeking out a professional opinion, or even taking medication does not work. But, if you can recognize the signs of anxiety, you may not need to get to that stage.

  • Learn to control your inner thoughts.
  • Avoid Stage 3.

Stop being a constant worrier, instead, take charge of the hormones released in your body. With less cortisol released from your adrenal glands, then your brain will not feel the need for fight or flight so often.


Meditation and Breathing

Learning different ways of breathing can help to slow down an anxiety attack and make it more controllable. Breathing techniques can be used every day, anywhere, anytime, that’s what makes this type of meditational exercise so remarkable.

Research at Standford University, California identified many brain cells that monitor how we breath and inform the brain how to react, Breathing and Brain Cells. It stands to reason that learning and practicing good breathing exercises will benefit your health, and can bring quick calm.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness Meditation is an extremely common style of meditation that is non-religious, and extremely simple.  It primarily consists of focusing on your breath, the cycle of in and out. Some say to focus on your belly, while others suggest you try to pin your attention on the tip of your nose, and feel the breath going in and out.

You want to keep your focus on your breath, though you will find that your attention wavers constantly.

That’s ok!

Just gently acknowledge that it has wandered, and bring your attention back to your breath. Each time you recognize that your attention as wavered, and bring it back to breath, count that as a small “hooray!” The idea is not to prevent any wandering of your mind, but rather to train yourself to quickly and easily bring your attention back to your breath.

There are many many high quality books on mindfulness meditation, but Joseph Goldstein’s Practical Guide to Awakening is a great place to start.

Sale
Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening
Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening
Goldstein, Joseph (Author); English (Publication Language); 459 Pages - 03/01/2016 (Publication Date) - Sounds True (Publisher)
−$4.96 $14.99

Last update on 2022-05-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Mindfulness Meditation vs. Trancendental Mediation for Anxiety

You generally want to stick to mindfulness meditation when trying to find calm, rather than, say trancendental or mantra meditation.

A 2014 study found that mindfulness meditation did seem to improve anxiety symptoms, while mantra meditation did not.

Mindfulness Meditation Apps

There are a ton of meditation apps that are designed to get you into the practice, and to take you down the road to a better mental state. Many of these are costly, though the Insight Timer app is free, and contains a meditation clock, and also has some free guided meditations.

Beyond that, the 10% Happier app is excellent, and Joseph Goldstein is involved in the production of it. Additionally, Sam Harris’ Waking Up App has been praised for its effectiveness in introducing people to mindfulness meditation.

I find the Insight Timer to be simple, non-distracting, and an excellent free solution.


Deep Breathing

When you take deep, slow breaths, your brain receives messages through receptors, to tell your body that all is calm around you.

When you are experiencing anxiety, you are more inclined to breathe fast, short breaths. This can make your hands tingle from lack of oxygen in your bloodstream as your blood pressure rises.

By learning when to take deep breaths, you will bring on a calmness that will lower the blood pressure. Even with this simple technique, you are already changing your body’s reaction to external events and how you feel. You are taking control. Breathing Techniques.

It is better if you can sit down and relax your limbs with this exercise, but you can use the technique in a standing position too:

If the situation allows, close your eyes to shut out the visible noise around you. Don’t worry if you can’t, such as being in the middle of a journey on the tube train, or some other public venue. You will eventually learn to do this exercise anywhere as it is not difficult.

  • Inhale in a deep, slow breath through your nose. At the same time, allow your abdomen muscles to expand as you take in the air.
  • Your chest should rise as your shoulders relax.
  • Hold the breath for at least 5 seconds. Then, allow yourself to exhale it through your mouth. If you are in a public place, you may feel conscious of the noise of exhaling, so take your time to do it silently. With practice, you will get the hang of how you prefer to do this relaxation exercise. Soon you will be using this technique throughout a busy day.

This encourages blood cells to inform the brain that all is well, sending a calming feeling through your body. At the same time, you are concentrating so hard on your breathing technique, that you have diverted your mind away from the source of anxiety. Congratulations, you have now learned a great meditation technique of relaxation.

4-7-8 Timed Breathing

You can also use the 4-7-8 if you want more control over this breathing technique. For this you need to do the following:

  • As you inhale through your nose, count to 4.
  • Hold the breath for the count of 7.
  • Exhale the breath through your mouth for the count of 8.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

If you can find some privacy then you might wish to try Alternate Nostril Breathing. This is a technique meant to boost your energy a little, if you are feeling sluggish from anxious worrying.

  • Relax your body.
  • Block the right nostril by pressing it closed with your thumb.
  • Take in a deep breath through the left, open nostril.
  • At the peak of your breath, and before you exhale, press a finger over the left nostril. Instantly exhale through the right nostril where you first inhaled.
  • Repeat by breathing in through the same nostril you just exhaled from.
  • You should always be exhaling from the nostril you have just inhaled from, swapping and changing appropriately. Basically, you are alternating nostrils.

Visualisation

You can make this exercise more effective by visualizing something that makes you feel secure and content. Imagine walking in a local forest, or the swishing of a seashore. For a few moments, as you cut out the noise around you, you are putting yourself in your own happy place.

This is known as visualizing. By using your imagination during the breathing exercises, you are taking your mind away from any negative thoughts. In turn, the brain will inform the rest of the body all is well, and you should experience a calming sensation.

These techniques may take some time to learn, so don’t expect it work instantly. If you persevere, you will have an instant exercise that will help you relax in stressful situations.

Concentration and Awareness

In his book The Mind Illuminated, John Yates Ph. D discusses the distinction between attention and awareness. He often suggests attempting to keep the focus of attention on the breath, while simultaneously perceiving sounds, smells, wind currents, emotions, thoughts, etc. By keeping these sensations in awareness but not allowing them to become the primary focus of your attention, you’ll succeed in improving your concentration.

Gradually, you’ll improve both your attention and the total amount of awareness you’re capable of achieving.

The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science for...
The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science for...
Amazon Kindle Edition; Yates, John (Author); English (Publication Language); 514 Pages - 01/03/2017 (Publication Date) - Atria Books (Publisher)
$14.99

Last update on 2022-05-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Muscle Relaxation

Body Scan

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is a technique to ease tension, and anyone can do it. It involves focusing on set muscles, tensing them and then relaxing them. Methodical in its approach, but it works all over the body, from bottom to top.

American physicist, Edmund Jacobson, developed this technique in the 1920s. He believed that if patients could learn to relax their tense muscles, they were more likely to tackle basic aches and pains.

If someone has been feeling stress for a long time, the chances are that their muscles are taught without them even realizing it. This type of tension contributes to the onset of stress.

  • When participating in this exercise it is more effective if you can lay down. Though, it can be undertaken in a seated position too.
  • Start by inhaling a deep breath through your nose. Use the breathing techniques to get your body in a relaxed state so you can focus.
  • Think about your feet. Begin by squeezing the muscles in your feet and toes. Wiggle them about if you must, but focus only on your feet, tightening and relaxing the muscles.
  • Next, move up to your lower leg. Tense the calf muscles and hold for around 5 seconds then relax. Do both at the same time, or one at a time. Repeat a few times before moving on. It can be helpful to practice the deep breathing between each muscle group if you have time.
  • You will methodically work your way up the muscle groups in your body. For instance, move onto your thighs. Then your bottom, abdomen, chest, shoulders, biceps, forearms, wrists, palm, hands and fingers. Finish at the top with your neck and face muscles. Spend time on squeezing your eyes open and shut. wiggling your nose and opening your jaw wide.

You don’t have to do it in this particular order, but it helps to keep track of the muscles you have already worked on. You can either make your way up your body or down, whichever you prefer.

If you find that during your meditations, you have significant body comfort, you may want to pick up a dedicated meditation chair, or perhaps a zafu/zabuton set.

Self Massage

There are many sensitive points on the body that you can gently rub with your fingers to target tension.

Headaches:

  • Start by inhaling a deep breath through your nose. Use the breathing techniques to get your body in a relaxed state so you can focus.
  • Close your eyes
  • Starting at the inside corner of your eye, gently rub your finger in a circle about 3 times.
  • Move across the bone underneath the eye using the same gentle rubbing motion.
  • Rub the side of your eye then make your way over your eyebrow repeating the same technique
  • Repeat over the other eye.
  • Finish by rubbing in-between the eyebrows, pressing your finger gently as you rub the circular motion.
  • Gently tug at the ear lobes about 6 times each.
  • Gently message at the nape of your neck in various places.

Shoulder pain:

  • Cross your arms over your chest, settling each hand on the opposite shoulder.
  • Allow your head to roll back so you are looking up at the ceiling.
  • With your fingertips, press and squeeze gently up and down each shoulder.
  • Message a little longer when you get to the point where your shoulder meets your neck.
  • Lean forward and place your elbows on a table as you remain seated, and drop your head forwards.
  • Place your fingertips at either side of the bone at the back of your neck. Press and rub in circling motions up and down that bone.
  • Place your hands on the back of your head, interlocking your fingers together.
  • Drop your head down and push gently on the back of your head with your hands.

Hands:

  • Stretch out your fingers on one hand, like a star.
  • With the other hand press and rub each finger from the base knuckle to the top knuckle, and back again. Repeat on the other hand.
  • Place your inner bottom arm flat on a table, or stretch out your arms straight.
  • Move both wrists so your fingers move to an upwards position, and stretch them out. Do the same, but this move the fingers down as far as you can. You should feel some tugging on small muscles and maybe even some cracking of tiny bones.

Chemical Anxiety Reducers

Many resort to using pharmeceutical anti-anxiety medications, despite the fact that many of these medications have harmful side effects and negative properties associated with them, including addiction. The bottom line is that they often are pretty successful at helping people who are suffering from anxiety, so it makes sense.

Benzodiazapines are clearly effective anxiety medications, but you need to be very careful with them as they can be abused. And if you abuse these medications, you may find your depression symptoms worsen!

Of course, always talk to a trained clinician before starting any pharmeceutical medications, and most of these are scheduled, regardless.

Kava for Anxiety

Kava, a plant grown in the south pacific islands, is an interesting alternative to pharmeceuticals for anxiety issues. This entheogen has been used by humans for thousands of years, and while it tastes pretty awful in its traditional preparation method, it has very few side effects, and there is no potential for addiction.

See this article on Kava and Anxiety for more information on Kava and its use in treating anxiety.

Bottom line: Kava Stress Relief Candies may be a great solution for many looking for a simple, non-harmful anxiety treatment.

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Also of note, kava is effective as a muscle relaxant, and can improve sleep. Both of these factors are associated with anxiety reduction, which further pushes Kava into the potentially good area.


Yoga Practice

Yoga and Anxiety

Yoga is holistic in its approach, as a form of ancient exercise routines that take care of the body, mind, and spirit. Like many of the older physical movement arts, it aims to calm the mind, relax the muscles and help you to understand the self and how you fit into your world. Rather than having confused fragmented thoughts, yoga helps you to focus on your inner thoughts. It teaches you to dig deep and cleanse away your worries.

It is not surprising that yoga is popular with those who seek to meditate, as they complement one another. Once you practice the art of yoga, you can develop skills and exercises that will benefit many different areas of your body.

It seeks to find balance where there is discomfort and make it manageable. It also helps to build strength in muscles and joints.

From the onset of learning yoga, it will encourage you to be mindful. To consider the people around you and their beliefs. To take in your environment and understand what is happening there.

Self-observance helps you to focus and take care of every part of your body. The intent is to bring together both mental thoughts and physical movements.

Hatha yoga is a great all-rounder for beginners. It includes “asana,” which are various simple postures to hold. It also involves pranayama (breathing) exercises. The poses and the breathing will help you to find balance as you think.

Yoga Class or Youtube Yoga?

By far the best way to get into yoga is to go to a class! If you’ve never gone, a beginner class is not scary and the instructor will go over everything you need to know.

Less expensive and equally useful may be one of the countless yoga videos on YouTube. The only issue with these is that you don’t get any correction and guidance from an instructor. But they’re free, and you can get very very far just using freely-available classes.

Hatha Yoga for a Beginner

Mountain Pose

  • Stand tall and straight, but relaxed. You can either look directly in front of you, or close your eyes if preferred.
  • Your feet should be side by side with a small gap between, and toes pointing to front.
  • Allow your arms to hang loosely by your sides.
  • Stand on your tiptoes, and pull in your bottom.
  • Inhale deeply through your nose.
  • Whilst holding your breath, raise your arms over your head and intertwine your fingers.
  • Breath out slowly through your mouth.
  • Repeat the breathing pattern for around one minute while you are holding the pose.

The name of the exercise comes from the body alignment resembling a mountain. Your interlocked hands are the peak. The exercise gently uses every muscle in your body, it doesn’t overstrain or cause discomfort. This pose can help with back troubles and strengthen thighs and ankles.

Tree Pose

Similar to the mountain pose but a little more challenging.

  • Begin with the mountain pose but with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Inhale deeply through your nose.
  • Whilst holding your breath, lift one leg up touch the inner thigh of the other leg with your foot
  • Exhale through your mouth.
  • Continue to deep breath through nose and mouth as you hold the pose for 1 minute.
  • Repeat with other leg.

This pose stretches the thigh, groin and shoulder muscles. It is good for sciatica sufferers.

Poses for Yoga

Whilst yoga poses tone up muscles, they are great for finding an inner silence so you can focus on relaxation while you pose.


General Tips for Managing Anxiety

This fantastic article by a psychiatrist should be ready by everyone suffering from anxiety. It gives some general advice, and some practical tips. A few of the major points are elaborated on below.

Manage Technology Use

It’s hard to overstate the incredible pull technology has on our lives. Always-on phone, texts, social media, alerts, and the like can make us feel buried in distraction. Around-the-clock work pings can make you feel like you’re never getting any time off, and all of those social media posts can give you FOMO and make you feel like you’re losing out.

Finding a healthier relationship with technology can be a huge step forward. Do your best to manage your relationship with work when off the clock. Communicate to bosses that you need time off the clock in order to make your time on the clock as effective as possible. Of course, we all understand the reality of working in a modern economy, and sometimes you need to give your attention to something immediately. But those events should be few and far between when you’re off the clock.

The vast majority of it can wait until you’re back on the clock.

Exercise

When people hear the word “meditation,” they often believe it to be something religious. Or some modern term for those who live an alternative lifestyle. Yet, meditative exercises are one of the most natural forms of workouts you can do for your mind and your body.

They are also very successful in relieving stress and anxiety, particularly if you feel a panic attack coming on. Let’s have a look at some of the simplest forms of exercise you can do anywhere, anytime. All are useful for unexpected anxiety attacks.

Walking and Hiking

This is a great way to exercise and relax at the same time. Particularly so if you can find a natural route, such as woodlands, or a field, by a canal or river, or on a beach. Take in a few of those deep breaths as you stroll along. Visualize pleasant thoughts in your mind and push out your worries.

You can pick them back up again when you’ve finished.

Think about a happy incident in your life with your; children, grandchildren, pets, anything that gives you a sense of calm. Smell the fauna, try and spot a butterfly, bird or bee.

You could even sit on a log or other makeshift seat to rest. Wait there silently and you see a squirrel or some other wildlife creature come into view.

Cycling

It can be pretty easy to get in a good rhythm on a bicycle, combining movement and breathing to bring calm. Try to avoid using headphones and getting distracted by technology while on your bicycle, if you’re trying to use it to find some calm in the storm. Instead, listen to nature and to your breathing.

Swimming

Swimming can be a great way to find a sense of calm. There’s magic to being in water, and simply gently floating in the water can be incredibly helpful. Of course, it can be hard to find a pool or swimming area, especially for those in cold climates.

You may be able to find a local public swimming spot that is quiet and cost-free, if you look around!

If you can’t swim, then go and learn. You might be surprised how many adults can’t swim. Most swimming pools offer adult lessons. Not only will you learn to swim but you will also have a wonderful form of exercise while making friends too.

There are many other things you can do to help your inner-self feel more at ease with the world:

  • We’ve talked about visualising pleasant images, do it as often as you can and every day.
  • Smile more often, even to yourself. Look in the mirror and practice your smile. Not only with your facial muscles but your mind too. A real smile can spread a warmth of joy through the person it was intended for, including yourself too.
  • Talk with yourself, whether in thought or out loud. It’s a great way of working out problems that might be pressing at the back of your mind.
  • Try to cut down or even avoid foods known to release those stress chemicals, such as coffee and alcohol. If you do drink alcohol, have a small glass of water between each drink. That way you won’t get dehydrated, which can make you feel tired and anxious.

Misc Exercises

These are more general forms of exercise. Great for those times when you can take your time. They are about enjoying your surroundings while you visualize those happy memories.

Routine

One way of helping to combat your anxiety in everyday life is to have a regular routine. Routine brings structure into your life. With structure comes a coping mechanism for when those unexpected stressful moments happen.

You probably already have a daily pattern, so for one week write down notes about how your day progresses. At the end of the week, study it and see if you can improve on it.

Sleep and Anxiety

sleep and anxiety

For those who are having trouble sleeping, having a routine in your day is even more important. Keep yourself busy so you get tired naturally. With a regular routine, your body will create its own clockwork and you are more likely to have a good night’s sleep. You could also try the breathing exercises we look at in this article.

Sleep and Technology

Having your phone or tablet with you in the bed can have a negative effect on your sleep patterns that, over time, can lead to exhaustion, and compound anxiety and stress. Controlling your technology use near bedtime is extremely important.

Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep is extremely helpful as a guide to getting better sleep, and to reaping the benefits of better sleep.

Sale
Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
Hardcover Book; Walker, Matthew (Author); English (Publication Language); 368 Pages - 10/01/2017 (Publication Date) - Scribner (Publisher)
−$10.21 $17.79

Last update on 2022-05-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

One switch I’ve made that has definitely helped my sleep patterns is to plug my phone in at a spot away from my night stand. I have no temptation to use the phone before bed, as it’s not near the bed, and yet any early morning calls I get, I’ll still be able to respond to.

Pills and Sleep Aids

Try to avoid chemical sleep aids, and instead focus on improving your quality of sleep along the lines of what Matthew Walker suggests. Alcohol actually harms sleep, as he explains, so don’t turn to alcohol to help you sleep. Here is a fantastic overview by a psychiatrist regarding how best to use melatonin, which may be of some help if used correctly and infrequently, especially if you often change time zones.

Last update on 2022-05-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Ambien and no ideal. You could consider something like a Lawena Kava to help you sleep, which does seem to have some effect. Even still, it’s best to try to figure out a sleep routine that doesn’t involve any chemicals at all.

Conclusion

In a perfect world, we would all be happy. Never to suffer from the negative emotions that our lifestyle and physiology can create.

Sometimes all it takes to calm down is having someone to talk to. There are many kind people out there but life is fast, particularly city life. Stress can soon set in and the chemicals start to offload in the poor overloaded brain. With only the basic of meditation, you can learn to control your thoughts. This will influence your emotions and stop those negative processes before they have a bad effect on your body.

Meditation can do so much more. Many people practice the art of meditation to find peace in their fast-paced lives.

Whether you choose medication or natural remedies is a personal choice. Meditative exercises though, pose no risk whatsoever and can only serve to enhance your life.

Yale Psychologist and Cognitive Scientist Laurie Santos talks about all of this, and more, in her Psychology and the Good Life series of lectures. These are a fantastic resource, and are definitely worth checking out for a science-based guide to actionable tasks you could accomplish to make yourself happier.


Candles

Best Meditation Chairs – Free the Mind, Support the Body

Best Meditation Chairs

Alexia Meditation Seat Ergonomically Correct for The Human Physiology Zen Yoga Chair (Green, Genuine...

After an extensive look at several meditation chairs, I’ve found that the best meditation chair is the Alexia Meditation Seat. It’s a large molded chair with a metal structure covered in either cloth or vegan leather.

It’s extremely expensive and is priced differently depending on the materials chosen, but it is the best meditation chair on the market assuming you won’t be regularly moving the chair.

The Alexia is known for helping to relieve lower back pain, and it’s great for meditators of all shapes and sizes. It is bulky and a bit heavy, and doesn’t fold up for travel. But these are the best meditation chairs for getting you into the right posture for an extended sit.

Alexia Meditation Seat Ergonimically Correct for The Human Physiology Zen Yoga Ergonomic Chair Foam...
Alexia Meditation Seat Ergonimically Correct for The Human Physiology Zen Yoga Ergonomic Chair Foam...
Body Supports: Lower Back Column - Ischial Junction Node - knees - instep - feet; Seat Support: Internal Metallic Skeleton Structured
$359.95

Last update on 2022-05-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Meditation Group

Best Zafu Zabuton Set for Meditation and Yoga

Best Zafu Zabuton Set

The Best Zafu Zabuton set is the Leewadee Meditation Set: Zafu Cushion and Zabuton Mat. Not only is this product durable, but it comes in a variety of designs. The Leewadee set is also extremely comfortable and made with a unique blend of Kapok fibers to add both comfort and durability to it. It’s lovely, but it isn’t easily washable, as the cover doesn’t come off.

Last update on 2022-05-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

For a complete review of the Leewadee Set, see the Product Reviews section below. …

Meditation Practice

Best Tingsha Bells

Tingsha cymbals and bells are a pair of metal chimes attached together by a string. When struck together, these two pieces produce a beautiful, melodic tone that slowly dissipates. This tone is quite calming and often helpful for starting or ending your daily meditation or yoga practice.

Best Tingsha Bells

After a thorough examination of several Tingsha Bells and Cymbals available online, I’ve found that the Juccini Tingsha Cymbals Tibetan Buddhist Lucky Symbol Embossed Meditation Yoga Bell Chimes are the best Tingsha Bells available. I’ve chosen these chimes due to the overall excellent sound quality, outstanding customer service, the money-back guarantee that the company offers, and the rave reviews from customers.

For a complete review of the Juccini Tinghsa Bells, see the Product Reviews section below.

Last update on 2022-05-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Labyrinth

What is Stream Entry?

As one starts to meditate more frequently, read more widely about the topic, and pay more attention to meditation-focused media, the phrase “stream entry” may pop up from time to time. While Stream Entry may sound like the name of an obscure early 90’s electronic music track, the phrase actually refers to the reaching the first of four stages of enlightenment in the Pali Buddhist tradition. In order to achieve stream entry, one must see the Dharma clearly and must break the three chains, or fetters, commonly seen to hold people in a realm of delusion.