I am dealing with several changes to my routine and life this summer. My local friends are moving away. My dog Nitro is slowing down. And I have been on the market for my dream job since 2020, to no avail, keeping me stationed here indefinitely. Which has me feeling uncertain about my future at best, and downright discouraged at worst.
But instead of drowning my sorrows in (vegan) tequila, I am trying to use the negative energy to fuel my self-care efforts. Meditation has changed my life, and it continues to become easier the more I practice. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes struggle to dedicate time for meditation on a daily basis. So I started incorporating two variations to my meditation practice that are helping me stay on track. If you’re going through some life changes, or simply looking to refine your meditation practice, consider giving these two methods a try.
Practice with a “Meditation Buddy”
Meditating alone is great, but there are numerous benefits associated with meditating alongside a friend or in a group setting. Practicing with others can help make meditation a habit, and it fosters a sense of community. Additionally, meditating together allows you to learn from others and provides the opportunity to offer and/or receive feedback.
And for me recently, having someone to meditate with helps hold me accountable to practice. Since I am under a fair amount of stress, I am less motivated to meditate independently. Even though I know meditation is exactly what I need during this time! So I meditate with a good friend when we’re out on hiking trails with our dogs or when we are out sun bathing at the lake. Afterwards, we often reflect on how much better we are feeling. And even though she is moving away, we will continue to meditate together via FaceTime.
Try “Mirror Gazing” Meditation
I recently traveled for an interview. The drive to my Airbnb was 12 hours. My body hurt terribly from driving so long; my eyes bloodshot from navigating the city and its insane traffic. By the time I got back from dinner, (shout out to Counter Culture in Austin, TX), I was so anxious I could feel my heart beating throughout my entire body. I could feel my pulse in my limbs. Like I was highly caffeinated, despite my exhaustion. And I know from experience managing anxiety that sleeping is a struggle for me in such a state.
I once heard about gazing meditation in passing, but I hadn’t tried it until this night. I stood in the bathroom and stared intently at my own reflection, gazing into my own eyes, mindfully breathing. After a few minutes, my heart rate slowed. My body stopped buzzing. And I kept breathing, staring into my own eyes. Then, as I felt better, I started speaking affirmations to myself. “I am worthy” and “I am capable.”
Surprisingly, sleep consumed me that evening. I do not even recall my dreams.
These alternative forms of meditation are keeping me grounded during such a fluid time in my life. I plan to continue incorporating these methods into my meditation practice, in hopes of being the best I can be.
What do you think, will you give these meditation exercises a try?
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