Five-Minute Meditation | Easy Ways to Add Meditation To Your Day

No one has time to sit and meditate for hours. All you need to do is the following easy five-minute meditation methods to make this work. Read More!

Who has time to sit on a mat and meditate for hours? All you need to do is implement the following easy five-minute meditation methods to make this work.

Time is always of the essence of modern life. Our days are a blur of commutes and work. Most of us even bring work home with us, meaning that embarking on anything meaningful during our evenings is out of the question.

This is terrible news for our social lives, and for out of work activities like meditation. Honestly, who has time to sit on a mat when they don’t even finish work until the early hours? The trouble is that by scratching meditation and other mindful practices, we leave our wellbeing and mental health at risk.

Something has to give, and it often comes in the form of the time we dedicate to these tasks. For example, it’s entirely possible to fit meditation into even busy days by merely considering five-minute sessions instead of hour-long marathons. All you need to do is implement the following easy five-minute methods to make this work.

lady meditation

Keep Things Simple

You won’t have time to embark on an intense guided mediation in five-minute chunks, so don’t try. Instead, keep things simple to make sure you can enjoy the benefits of meditation in short timeframes. Focus on straightforward breathing exercises that can lead you into a whole new world despite the running time. This will stop you from feeling a sense of failure when you have to cut things short. It also guarantees some level of mindfulness despite your limited practice. 

Invest In Techniques To Help You Focus Fast

Many of us take between ten and twenty minutes just to settle into meditation, but that’s not a luxury you can enjoy. Instead, invest in sure-fire ways to focus attention fast for efficient meditation. Apps like Calm are invaluable as they provide plenty of five-minute sessions. Equally, mala beads can get you into the zone in seconds. Simply take the time to learn how to cleanse mala beads so you can get straight down to business when it matters. With these tools, you should be able to focus in seconds and get down to serious meditation for the remainder of your sessions.

lady doing yoga

Let Go Of Your Need For A Set Meditation Space

Set meditation spaces are fantastic, but letting go of your attachment to a ‘meditation room’ is vital to make fast meditations work. There’s just no point wasting time getting to your meditation space in the first place. Instead, quick-fire success rests solely on your ability to meditate wherever you happen to be at the time. You could be in your kitchen or riding public transport, and you should still be able to switch into meditation mode to fit that five minutes into your daily life. 

Making time for anything every day can be a challenge, especially something like meditation that’s often pushed to the side. Luckily, five-minute sessions could be the key you need to unlock this habit at last. Simply make sure to keep these points in mind and stick to your schedule to enjoy the benefits you always assumed were out of reach. 

This post was written as a contributed post. Contributed posts are written by another party who may wish to be anonymous. Further, all posts are edited and formatted by Elizabeth Ghekiere. Want to guest post for ElizabethJournals? Learn more here.

How to Reduce Stress | 4 Natural Stress Relief Options

How to Reduce Stress: 4 Natural Stress Relief Options

Everyone experiences stress. Taking steps to manage it is the key to a happier and healthier life. After all, research has shown that stress can manifest as physical and/or mental health conditions, as well as changes in your mood and behavioral patterns.

While it’s impossible to eliminate stressful feelings entirely, there are ways to keep them at bay so you don’t get too overwhelmed. Try these simple, natural techniques next time you’re going through mental battles. You may be surprised by how effective they can be!

Meditation

Meditation is a wonderful short and long-term solution to stress. Sometimes, all it takes to calm down is a quick meditation session. You don’t need to do anything fancy. Simply find a quiet place, close your eyes, and try to free your mind of whatever intrusive thoughts are stressing you out. Even just a quick 5-minute break can work wonders in soothing the mind.

The beauty of meditation is that it becomes more and more powerful the more you do it. Over time, you’ll learn to recognize and observe your thought processes. You can focus on what’s causing stress and then stop those intrusive thoughts before they become too intense. Regular meditation helps you to understand yourself better, empowering you to change.

How to Meditate

While a quick meditation session on your lunch break can help to reduce stress, you’re going to experience more relief if you do it right on a consistent schedule. There are many ways to meditate as a beginner. Here’s the simplest method to get you started:

  • First, find a comfortable position that allows you to relax without getting tired. Sitting cross-legged is the most common position, but some people prefer sitting upright in a comfortable chair. Either way, make sure you keep your posture upright. This helps to keep you feeling awake throughout the session while also preventing soreness during longer meditations.
  • Next, you want to relax your body and facial muscles. Allow your eyelids and jaw to droop. Gently close your eyes, but don’t squeeze them shut. Breathe in and out slowly and deeply, allowing your entire body to relax.
  • Now, your goal is to find inner silence. This is the part that takes some practice. When your inner monologue starts, gently shush it. Over time, you’ll be able to recognize an incoming thought and stop it intuitively. This can be quite difficult, so try not to get discouraged.

That’s it — you’re meditating! Start with a quick 5-10 minute session, and then try to go longer next time. You may want to set a timer to keep you on track. Eventually, you should start to notice that there’s more and more ‘silent’ space between thoughts. Eventually, you may want to look into other forms of meditation as you improve your technique.

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

Bullet Journaling

Stress is often caused by too many thoughts that lead to overwhelming feelings. Your mind is rushing with thoughts about a work project you need to finish, what’s for dinner, house repairs you need to make, and everything else under the sun. Journaling helps you to make sense of that jumble of thoughts, bringing clarity and introspection to your life.

Simply writing a to-do list can be quite effective, but many people are falling in love with bullet journaling. The system was started by Ryder Carroll, a designer from New York. According to him, the goal of bullet journaling is “to help you track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future.” In other words, it’s kind of like a to-do list, a planner, and a diary all-in-one.

How to Bullet Journal

Bullet journaling isn’t just effective — it’s also a whole lot of fun! The basic idea is that you use specific symbols that keep you on track, rather than just traditional bullet points. Here they are:

· A dot represents a to-do task

x An x means the task has been completed

< A less than sign signifies a task that has been scheduled

> A greater sign means that the task has been rescheduled and migrated to a new list

A dash is used for quick notes and minor tasks

O An open circle is for major events

The system may seem complicated on paper, but in practice, it’s quite easy. Once you get the right tools and learn how to bullet journal, it will become a fluid process that just makes sense. There are plenty of bullet journal themes that you can use to personalize your process, too.

For example, there are not-so-artsy layouts or minimal layouts for those who prefer simplicity. If your main goal is to reduce stress, you may find that using a layout to manage your mental health is the perfect solution. If you don’t have the time or resources to create your own bullet journal, you can always hire someone to make a bullet journal for you.

You can check out the listing below to view the various bullet journal options I offer!

Exercising

Exercise stops stress. Even a quick jog around the block can work wonders for your mental health. Have you ever heard of a “runner’s high?” When you’re active, your body produces endorphins that naturally boost your mood and stop stress in its tracks. Exercising also takes your mind off your worries as you focus on the single activity at hand.

Exercise is, of course, great for your physical health, which naturally manifests as a positive mindset. Working out helps you to feel more confident in your skin, which boosts your overall mood and demeanor. While you can use exercise as a tool as needed when you’re feeling stressed out, a better approach is to develop a consistent exercise routine.

Exercise Considerations

If it’s been a long time since you’ve been active, you may want to talk to your doctor before you dive in. In general, the best way to start is just to start. You don’t need to immediately start with an intense 10-mile run or anything crazy like that. Just getting your heart beating a little faster is the first step. Eventually, you can work your way into a more intense routine.

Exercise can be (and should be) fun. If you feel like you’re forcing yourself to be active, you’re just not doing the right exercises. Try to find a hobby that forces you to exercise. You could join a sports league, go to a rock climbing facility, or explore your local hiking paths. 

Once you start incorporating exercise into your hobbies, it becomes part of your overall lifestyle, rather than a one-off activity you force yourself to do from time to time. If possible, ask a friend to become your workout buddy. You can hold each other accountable, motivate each other, and just have a blast with it.

Photo by Volha Flaxeco on Unsplash

Cleaning

It may sound counterintuitive but cleaning is good for you. Your surroundings often dictate your mood. If you’ve ever gone on a major cleaning spree, you know that feeling of bliss when you get to sit down and relax in your newly revitalized environment. Too much clutter around you can be a major cause of stress, especially if it’s a big mess that feels so daunting to tackle.

Just like exercise, the key to maintaining a tidy house is to start small and turn cleaning into a habit. You can use your bullet journal to set small, attainable goals. Once your surroundings are clean, maintaining them is a breeze. Eventually, you’ll wonder how you ever lived in a messy space! The trick is to take it bit-by-bit, rather than overwhelming yourself with a massive project.

If you’re struggling to get started, you may want to look into Marie Kondo’s approach. Her Netflix series does a great job explaining how to get rid of clutter that doesn’t inspire joy. Her approach is fun and inspirational, and it may help you to improve your environment in a way that doesn’t add more stress to your life.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Take Care of Yourself

Everyone is different. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to stress. These four natural methods will get you started, but it’s up to you to determine what works best. Sometimes all it takes is just taking a few moments out of your day to sip a cup of tea or read a chapter of a book. 

If you’re suffering from stress, little changes can lead to big results. When you embrace new, stress-relieving habits, your life is naturally transformed for the better. The goal is to be kind to yourself. Recognize that you deserve to feel good

Finally, try to understand that stress is going to happen. Stress is a necessity. It’s your mind telling you that there’s an issue that needs to be addressed. The trick is to acknowledge and accept that necessary stress without letting it take over. It’s not always easy, but facing your struggles head-on is the key to reducing their impact on your life.

Meet the Author

Tess DiNapoli is an artist, freelance writer, and content strategist. She has a passion for yoga and often writes about health and wellness, but also enjoys covering the fashion industry, collaborating with industry insiders and designers, getting insight on the latest trends.

The True Benefits of Meditation

Meditation has many benefits. If you were expecting from the title of this article for us to debunk collected centuries of Eastern wisdom and refute a number of reputable studies into the virtues of Mindfulness, you’re in the wrong place. However, when starting a meditation practice, it can be hard to know what to look for. Some might feel it’s simply a waste of time after struggling to make much progress over a period of months, while others might feel that the practice is starting to fix every problem in their life. Of course, both viewpoints, while subjectively correct, are not objectively correct.

But with the wisdom of meditation, it can be hard to remain objective. Each person will experience it in their own way, and make their own progress. This leads people to look for concrete examples and definitive proof that their practice is worth it. It is, but it’s important to know why and how. With the following advice, you might find this help more practical and worthy for your aims:

Presence

Of course, the art of positive meditation is to come back to yourself and to help your mind settle on that which is actually in front of you. The present moment is all any of us have access to, and so it can be important to live there as much as possible. Of course, this isn’t to say that thinking of the past and future isn’t integral to the living of our lives, but it’s truly important to practice this form of comfort and to develop competent understandings of how to manage it.

Presence can often give us a range of benefits, from helping us become more observant, listening to people with more depth, and being able to focus on tasks with more reliability. It can also help us become more patient, and prevent our aggravated reactions to difficult experience.

Ego

Ego can be of great benefit, but can also be a double-edged sword. It can help us defend ourselves and feel pride in who we are and our achievements. It can help us consider bettering ourselves and helps us form our identity in the world. But it can also become toxically directed, perhaps overblown, and often prevent our connection to other people.

With a good practice of meditation enacted, your need to satiate your ego will be reduced. This is because you’ll feel value in who you are rather than who you believe yourself to be. It’s a much more authentic kind of practice, and it can be great to experience things from this lens.

Fear

Much of fear is based around not what is happening, but what could happen. Of course, there is wisdom here. It shows maybe we shouldn’t fish in the crocodile-infested waters, because something bad could happen. It can also conjure up plenty of faux-threats that simply are not true or worth worrying about.

Meditation helps you differentiate between reality and imagining with much more presence, and also helps you respond to the threat of a moment with easier reactions. This naturally helps you feel more confident, and thus reduces your irrational fear.

With these tips and a solid practice, you’re sure to experience the true benefits of meditation.

This post was written in collaboration. Collaborative writing means that while I have contributed to this post and edited its content and formatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I may receive financial compensation. Want to guest post for Jihi Elephant? Learn more here.

The True Benefits Of Meditation

30 Days of Yoga for Self-Love Challenge

One of my goals for 2018 was to do yoga regularly. Regularly can be defined as almost every day and consistent. I have not been doing a great job at keeping up with this. I chose yoga because I enjoy it, I can do it at home, and it is so good for physical and mental health. For these reasons, I have decided to challenge myself to 30 days of Yoga for Self-Love, and I would like you guys to join me! Yoga isn’t your thing? Try my other 30-Day Self-Care Challenge! -Care Challenge!

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yoga stretch

Why Take Part in The Self-Love Challenge?

The main reason you should take part in this self-care challenge is to feel better. Everyone knows that physical activity and exercise is so good for your general well-being. SO, practicing yoga for 30 days with me is a fantastic way to show yourself some self-love. The yogi who will be leading this group is a wonderful person. She has always brought yoga to a level that works for everyone, and she promotes growth and effort. She is the perfect leader for those of us who wish to practice yoga, but are not very good and tend to fall out of every pose at least twice.

yoga pose

How Do I Take Part in this Self-Care Challenge?

To take part in the challenge, all you will need is access to YouTube. My absolute favorite YouTube yoga channel is Yoga with Adriene, and she puts out a new challenge every year. We will be using her videos for the challenge. Access her playlist here. Now, Adriene started her challenge January 1st, but you and I will be starting whenever we want (I recommend right away for all procrastinators out there ;).

If you want to keep track of your mental and physical progress throughout these 30 days, I recommend you get access to my resource library where you can download a 30-Days of Yoga for Self-Care printable to help you track your progress.

yoga pose

But I Do Not Have a Yoga Mat…

So what? Do you have a floor? PERFECT! That is all you need to join me for some self-love! However, if you are on carpet, I recommend taking your socks off, so you do not slip—I’ve made that mistake before! Adriene is excellent at recommending household items that can be used during your practice to help you.

So what are you waiting for? Do you want to practice some bomb self-love or self-care? Grab your laptop or phone and join me in 30 days of yoga for self-care!

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Meditation | How to Keep Calm During the Holidays

Meditation is one of those commonly misunderstood forms of self-care. This post will talk all about meditating to stay calm and to lessen anxieties during the holidays.

The holidays are a hectic time full of great times, but also full of stress and anxiety. It can sometimes be hard to stay calm and avoid these feelings. When experiencing holiday anxiety or stress it is important to find a way to combat it. There are countless ways to do so, one of the most effective forms of holiday relaxation is meditation and mindfulness.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is often thought of as a religion. While it is used by religious people and has ties to religions such as Buddhism, on its own it is not a religion. A good resource for learning more about meditation, or self-examination, is Gaiam. Gaiam states, “Meditation is an approach to training the mind, similar to the way that fitness is an approach to training the body.”

So, meditating is all about your mind. There are many ways to meditate. One way that we will focus on is mindfulness meditation.

Meditation | How to Keep Calm During the Holidays

How Meditation Will Help Calm During the Holidays

Mindfulness meditation refers to a focus on experiencing what is going on. You focus on your body and your mind and you become aware and mindful of your surroundings and how they influence your body and your mind. Learn more about how to practice mindfulness meditation here.

So how exactly will self-examination help to keep you calm during the holidays? Well, it’s like yoga (in fact, yoga is a form of meditation really), so it allows you to be aware of how you’re feeling. And the more you practice it, the more in tune with yourself you will become.

Once you can recognize the incoming holiday stress or anxiety, you will be able to then practice self-examination to counteract those negative feelings.

Meditation | How to Keep Calm During the Holidays

Meditation Using Yoga

Yoga is most definitely my favorite form of meditation. Yoga places a huge focus on breathing and being aware of what you are feeling in your mind and in your body. Finding time in your schedule to do some quick yoga is super beneficial!

One of my favorite yoga practices is done at home. YouTube has a plethora of yoga videos, but Yoga with Adriene is my go-to. I particularly enjoy her 30-days of yoga challenges.

Now that you know a little bit more about meditation, check out 30-days of yoga challenge and get a FREE printable to track your mental and emotional progress.

Read more about Holiday Self-Care here.

Have a great idea? Want to write a post for Jihi Elephant? Head over here.

Meditation | How to Keep Calm During the Holidays

5 Easy Holiday Self-Care Practices

With the hustle and bustle of the Holiday season, it’s easy to allow yourself to become overwhelmed with everything on your to-do list and everyone who wants to spend time with you. it’s during this time that we tend to neglect ourselves the most. For that reason, I have a collection of holiday self-care practices perfect for the occasion.

Holiday Baths

A bath is one of my favorite ways to decompress around the holidays. You just cannot go wrong by relaxing in a hot tub with some bubbles and a candle. To set up the perfect bath for relaxing, head over here! Perhaps for this season, mix it up with a holiday or Christmas bath bomb or candle scent!

Create A Relaxed, Cozy Environment

Another great way to practice holiday self-care is to make sure your environment instills calm, cozy, and relaxed vibes. There are a ton of ways to do this, but ultimately, it is whatever works best for you. You might turn up the heat, dim the lights, light a candle, curl up with a blanket, or make some hot cocoa. You can read more about getting that cozy Christmas feeling here.

5 Easy Holiday Self-Care Practices

Have Somewhere to Escape to

If you’re over-worked, stressed, or introverted, one of the best ways to practice holiday self-care is to ensure that you have somewhere you can escape from the hustle and bustle of people and the never-ending to-do list. Take some time each day or even week away from everything stressing you out and be by yourself. Your escape can be anywhere and you can do anything when you are there. For me, I escape to my bedroom each night where I curl up in my blankets and watch some of my favorite YouTube channels. This is my holiday self-care escape. Where do you like to escape to during stress?

Brief Yoga or Meditation

Perhaps yoga is not for you, but meditation and yoga are great ways to take your mind off holiday stress and decompress. When you find yourself feeling tense, stressed, or overwhelmed, take a minute to be in the present. Take a walk or do some yoga and just be. Head over here to read more about using meditation during the holidays.

5 Easy Holiday Self-Care Practices

Say No

One of the biggest and most important on this short list of holiday self-care practices is practicing saying no. During this time of year everyone is doing so many things and it can be so incredibly overwhelming. Being able to turn down requests is probably the most effective way to de-stress and take care of yourself this holiday season. If you take nothing else from this post, please practice saying no and be aware of your limits. If you have taken on too much, do not take on any more, and ask for help! There is no shame in turning your projects or tasks into group endeavors.

This is a very brief list of holiday self-care practices, I’d like to know how you manage your holiday stress and take care of yourself. Let me know if the comments below!

5 Easy Holiday Self-Care Practices