Spring is here – and with it, our human desire to join in the explosion of life around us and experience our own personal growth. New Year’s resolutions may be popular, but most of us have experienced firsthand how difficult it is to fight the winter blues and enact real change. If you have the feeling that mindfulness could help you soothe your worried mind, accomplish more throughout your day, and sleep better at night, read on to learn just how to create a home meditation space.
According to the American Psychological Association, “mindfulness meditation changes our brain and biology in positive ways, improving mental and physical health.” Mindfulness is the practice of observing what’s happening in the present moment without judgment. This explanation is deceptively simple because each of us will face challenges in battling our “monkey mind,” or untrained, restless thoughts and emotions.
Meditating at Home
To help you stay grounded, consider establishing a meditation space within your home. While having an entire room set aside for mindfulness meditation will likely not be achievable for most of us, many homeowners are able to carve out a dedicated zone. This may be an under-utilized closet, a peaceful corner, an inviting chair, or even a cushion in a beautiful patch of sunlight.
Outdoor meditation spaces can be equally as useful, especially during the warmer months of the year we’re entering currently. Setting up a meditation space in a fragrant corner of your garden, beneath a whispering tree, or on your apartment balcony may be preferable to rearranging furniture indoors.
Ideally, you’ll be able to use your meditation space quietly for 20 minutes at a time.
Mindfulness and Children
Do you have children? Mindfulness meditation, when properly adapted, is at least as effective for children as it is for adults. In fact, giving a child the tools of mindfulness can be a touchstone that will benefit their mental and physical health throughout their entire lives. We all encounter stress, grief, loneliness, and frustrations; no matter how much we wish we could protect our children, these aspects of life are unavoidable. What we can do is equip our children to use healthy coping mechanisms to manage their stress and respond in a balanced way to it.
Details are Key
Your mindfulness space doesn’t have to match anyone else’s aesthetics. The only guidelines are that it should contain colors, aromas, sounds, and textures that you associate with peaceful relaxation. Even if you plan to have your eyes closed during your meditation, you will find it easier to slip into your meditative practice if you are greeted by welcoming, soothing sights as you approach your spot.
Do you love nature? Your indoor meditation space should contain houseplants, or at least images from nature that you love. Maybe your apartment balcony overlooks a park that has a duck pond, and watching the ducks brings you great joy.
Are you vegan? Bring vegan textiles and sustainable handmade goods in to remind you of your overarching moral imperatives.
Do you relax best to the sound of a babbling brook? You can use a smart speaker to play water sounds or set up a tiny fountain instead.
Do you tend to run a bit chilly? Lay down a throw rug, then your meditation cushion, and finally, have a plush blanket nearby. You may find that by making your space warm and cozy, you gravitate to it out of a comforting habit before too long.
Your meditation room need only suit your own preferences, so don’t be afraid to go with your gut as you imagine an ideal space that will help you find your moment of Zen.
Use a Gentle Timer
If you plan to leave your phone outside of your meditation space (and may we suggest you do), you may want to use a quiet, gentle timer to rouse you from your meditative state. If you find the idea of using a clock or timer in your meditation zone distracting, set up your phone to chime pleasantly loud enough that you can hear it in the next room.
Keep it Tidy
Whether you choose a sparsely decorated corner or a luxuriously-appointed room, it’s vital that your mindfulness space remains clean, tidy, and free from distractions. Sure, there will be days when a breeze outside the window pulls your focus, and that’s okay! But if you notice that the same thing is distracting you repeatedly and making you dread fighting to keep your focus for 20 minutes, take charge and change your environment.
Admittedly, sometimes the thing that’s distracting us isn’t within our control. For example, a neighbor’s barking dog or roaring leaf blower. In such cases, a pair of earplugs and even a sleep mask can be an ideal solution.
Consider keeping these items in your mindfulness space, using them anytime you want to ensure that your own thoughts and sensory experiences are the only inputs you’re observing.
While mindfulness meditation has proven to be good for us, we still need to respect our bodies and surroundings. With that said, don’t settle into a position that causes or increases any pain conditions you have. The best position for meditation is the one you can comfortably settle into, and it’s okay if yours doesn’t look like the traditional picture you have in your mind.
Secondly, we recommend avoiding using candles while meditating, because you will not be in a great position to ensure that they are burning safely. If you want to use candles for ambiance, electric candles are a great, safe alternative. If you’re looking for a way to add pleasant aromas, incense in a burner or wax in a wax warmer will do the trick nicely.