At the start of every new year, one can’t help but get a bit sentimental. You suddenly have this overwhelming urge to achieve all your goals and become a better version of yourself. This 2024 isn’t any different. You must have seen or experienced it in some way, perhaps through your friends 2024 goals, bucket lists, social media posts, or you probably have a list of your own.
Whatever the case may be, many of us (Temi Otedola included) decided to make both our physical and mental health top priorities this year. While the path to good physical health is clear, for example, eat more veggies, join the gym etc, the path to a fit mental health is a little vague.
You can’t obtain it through sheer force like you would do to lose a couple of pounds. If there is one way you could try to attain this goal, a good recommendation would be through meditation. However, this can only work if you know how to meditate effectively. Before we get into that, let’s understand what meditation is about.
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What is Meditation?
Simply, it means clearing your mind of all unwanted disturbances that may be causing you mental stress or discomfort. It helps to reduce stress, relax your mind, or to reduce your anxieties. Think of it like decluttering a messy room. You get to declutter your mind and finally breathe from all your worries.
While the concept of meditating may be easy to accept and understand, knowing how to meditate is another issue. This can be done in a still position or through gentle physical exercises. You could probably find YouTube tutorials on how to meditate on your own, and those videos tend to be relatively easy to follow.
However, following every move or step does not guarantee its effectiveness on your mental state. It’s pretty easy to mimic the moves you see on the screen but you may be too focused on mirroring those moves that you fail to achieve your main purpose effectively. Knowing how to meditate effectively is the only way to gain the mental clarity or freedom you desire.
How to Meditate Effectively – Nigerian Style
Now, if you check for videos on how to meditate, you may see either of three things. You either see meditation quotes, meditating while doing gentle movements (yoga), or meditating while being still. All of these methods work fine, depending on which one of them rocks your boat. But you must admit, as an average Nigerian, who probably wakes up at 5 am every morning and rushes to work before 8am. The same Nigerian who is always on the grind because, just as they say, “there is no food for lazy men.”
With all the hustle and struggle, what time do you have to review meditation quotes or clear your mind while doing an impressive yoga pose? Is it in the danfo bus with all that noise and heat or could it be done at work where the cause of your mental stress (your boss) is hounding you for seemingly impossible results?
Of course, this may not be the narrative for every Nigerian out there, but it fits the profile of the majority. Therefore, if you belong to this category, here are a few tricks you could try, and hopefully, they will help you gain some clarity on how to meditate effectively;
Set a time for it
With a busy schedule, you may not have enough time to fit in all your quotes, but you can set specific moments daily or weekly to review a few of them. You could do this just before settling for work in your cubicle. If your workspace is too noisy, try doing it in the restroom or your car. Keep it simple and short, and ensure you use the most of your time.
Choose a quiet place
An ideal setting to practice your meditation quotes or yoga is somewhere quiet. If you have the luxury, you could do this outdoors. It would be lovely to attain mental clarity while communing with nature. This, however, may not be possible for everyone, so you could do this the moment you wake up or just before going to bed. You don’t need a special location; you can do it on your bed.
Choose a comfortable posture
To do this exercise, you must be comfortable and be on a relatively empty stomach. Imagine sitting or lying on your bed to meditate after a heavy meal. You may end up dozing off. Therefore, it would be best to perform this routine before a meal.
It is typical to do this exercise while sitting, but while you’re at work, you could try meditating while taking a walk. It’s quite easy; all you have to do is slowly attune your breath to each step you take. You’re getting in some physical exercise while doing a mental one too. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.
Be focused while at it
Just following the instructions or reading the words isn’t enough. For this exercise to be effective, you must learn to clear your mind and focus only on your breathing. If your mind wanders to your problems while meditating, the whole exercise is futile. Ensure you keep your mind solely on your breathing.
Make use of music
This may not be the case for everyone, but using some music for this exercise may work wonders. Music doesn’t refer to all music, though. Davido or Asake may not work in this instance. You could try classical, jazz or the blues. Music that helps you let go or helps retain some sanctity.
Read also: Why Reading With Music is Overrated
Keep at it
Doing this exercise once isn’t enough to see the results you may be looking for. You can’t expect to start seeing miraculous changes just because of a session. This exercise should be done consistently. Make it a part of your daily routine.
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Knowing how to meditate effectively is the key to your mental health goals in 2024. If this is part of your bucket list, these tips should help you attain your goals.
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Edited by Oluwanifemi Akintomide.
Akorah Chioma Diana is a recent graduate from the University of Lagos. A creative and content writer, her love for writing began in her Junior Secondary School when she became interested in reading.
A 2021/2022 KANAC Creative writing winner, excerpts of her work can be found in the KANAC Anthology, Pride Magazine Nigeria, and Tush Media Magazine.
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