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Deep relaxation is something many people never achieve on a daily basis — even though everyone has the ability within them to do so. All it takes is learning to meditate. The best time to meditate is when you feel like you need some stress relief, and if you don’t know how to do it yet, then now is the best time to learn.
Learning to meditate is not difficult once you get to know more about it. It doesn’t require any fancy tools or even special training. You can easily learn to do it in just a few minutes a day. Once you start practicing, you can make meditation a part of your daily routine.
What Is Meditation?
Most people have heard of meditation, but they may not understand exactly what it is or how it works. According to Gaiam, the main idea behind this practice is training the mind. The whole goal is to learn to focus and clear the mind. It is also about syncing the mind and body. You learn to control your body better and feel more at ease within yourself.
Meditation is something you can do alone or in a group. You can use tools to assist you, but it is also possible to do it at a moment’s notice with no preparation or anything other than your mind. The more you practice at it, the better you will get at doing it.
It offers a range of benefits. It isn’t physically exhausting, and it is easy to do. Anyone can learn meditation techniques and put them to use in their life. If you are considering meditation, then the best time to meditate is now when you are ready and willing to learn.
Types of Meditation
Before you start learning how to meditate, you need to learn more about the different types or methods used. Each one has slightly different techniques involved and different goals. You should choose the type that suits your needs and is easiest for you. Some people find certain methods work best for them based on the techniques used. You should try out different methods to see what you like the best. The following are some example of the many meditation techniques.
This method involves focusing on one specific thing. That one thing could be anything. It can be repeating a word, focusing your eyes on a fixed object, or concentrating on your breathing. Your mind should think of nothing else but your focus point. If your mind starts to wander, refocus on whatever you have chosen.
If you have issues with this on a daily basis, then this is the best time to meditate using this method. By using your powers of concentration on one object, you can easily train your mind to relax and focus. That can help you in various aspects of your athletic career.
Mindfulness is about being aware of the thoughts moving through your head without actually focusing on them or thinking about them. The best time to meditate using this method is when you want to learn how to focus on the current moment. That can be good if you often find your mind wandering when you should be paying attention.
If you use this method, you should begin by sitting quietly. Focus on your thoughts, but just let them float by. Make a note of them and recognize them, but do not dwell on them or allow yourself to further think about them.
Metta meditation is about focusing on love. The goal with it is to help shape your attitude, so it focuses on love and kindness above all else. As you do this type of meditation, you open your mind to receiving and sending love out into the world. You say love messages throughout the process. You can say them in your mind or out loud, whatever works best for you.
The best time to meditate using this method is when you want to feel more positive and to improve your overall mood and outlook on life.
This type of meditation helps to meld the mind and body better. It works to help relax the body, which makes the best time to meditate using this method when you feel particularly tense. The process is to scan each area of your body, focusing in on those areas holding tension. You then release the tension and relax that area of the body.
So, for example, you want to sit or lay down in a comfortable position. Then beginning at your head or feet, start thinking and focusing on each area of the body, moving up or down. If you start at your head, you would first focus on your head, then neck, then shoulders and so on down your body. Try to open yourself to the feelings in each part of the body as you focus on it. You should be able to pick up on the tension when you do this. If you find tension, imagine it releasing and relax that part of the body when doing this.
Progressive relaxation can be particularly useful before a big game or meet to relax your body as well as your mind.
Breath awareness meditation
Breath awareness is a common method that focuses on breathing. It is simple to do, which makes it excellent for beginners. You just relax and focus on your breathing. Train your mind on the breath in and then the breath out. You can slow your respiration down and control it as you focus on it. You want to get it at a nice steady pattern.
Athletes find this method useful for help in marathons or any activity that requires endurance.
With the goal of increasing your ability to observe your thoughts and enhance your spirituality, Zen meditation is what Buddhists practice. It is a more complex form of meditation with intricate steps, so it typically requires that you learn it from a teacher. People often consider this a very spiritual form of meditation because it focuses on reaching a completely peaceful state.
If your goal is to use meditation as part of your spiritual journey, then transcendental meditation may be the best choice. The goal of this technique is to transcend beyond your physical existence into the spiritual plane where your body and your soul exist together yet separate. To do it, you focus on a mantra, which can be a word or words that you repeat.
Everyday Health explains that guided meditation is an excellent, basic practice. It is usually led by someone, which could be in person or through a recording. It involves emptying the mind and having the guide take your thoughts through mental imagery, such as imagining you are sitting on a beach. The best time to meditate using this technique is when you want to relax. It is often a favorite of beginners.
The Best Time to Meditate
You will find that there is no best time to meditate, or at least no experts recommend the best time to meditate because it is a very personal thing. It is not something that you can pin down to a certain time of day in general. It really depends on what is best for you. You should meditate when you feel the need to do it and when your schedule allows.
Different times of the day
Psychology Today explains morning meditation is often best when you want to energize yourself for the day. It can be a great way to start your day if you have time in the morning to do it. The afternoon is nice if you want a boost in the middle of the day. It can be a great way to reduce tension mid-day if you find yourself getting more stressed as the day goes on. Night time meditation can help get your body ready for bed and help soothe away the tension of the day. Do note, though, that you should never meditate right when going to bed. That can create an association between meditation and sleep that can complicate your ability to meditate at other times of the day or in general without falling asleep.
Figuring your best time to meditate
To determine your best time to meditate, you should consider your goals and what you want to get out of meditation. Also, make sure you have time in your schedule whenever you choose to do it. You should also make sure that you can access a comfortable space when you want to do it. Comfort is especially important when you are a beginner and may need to be in a quiet place.
As you advance in your practice, you may find that you can easily meditate anywhere at any time. That is perfectly fine. Just do what feels right for you.
How Long to Meditate
How long you meditate isn’t as important as doing it regularly. Practice does make perfect when it comes to this. However, you may still wonder how long each meditation session should last. Generally speaking, when you first start, you will only do it for a couple of minutes. It can be too taxing and therefore negate the whole point of meditating if you try to do it for too long when you are just learning. After a while, you can gradually increase the amount of time.
Some people who have been doing it for a while may do it for an hour or longer. You may have heard of monks who meditate for days on end. That is not the norm, of course, but it is a possibility once you are skilled at the practice, if it sounds like something you want to do. Just remember the best time to meditate is when and how long it works for you. Do not compare yourself to others.
Tools to Use When Meditating
It is important to note that you do not need tools to meditate. Many people do find tools to be helpful, though. One of the most important things that you should have is a quiet space in which to meditate. Silence will help you as you begin to practice and learn how to do it. You do not have to have a dedicated space, but that can be helpful for some people who find the best time to meditate is when they have no distractions.
Other tools that you may want to use include CDs or recordings for guided meditation practice. You may want to use candles to light your space and a mat to sit on. Soothing music is helpful for some people. Sivana East suggests also looking into meditation applications, which can offer education and assistance with your practices.
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There are also tools, such as singing bowls and malas, that you may want to purchase and use. A singing bowl is a special bowl that you play to make soothing sounds. Studies have shown they stimulate the brain and help get it into the right state to meditate. Malas are like prayer beads. They can be helpful as you meditate to maintain focus or can be a great way to help you remember to meditate each day. People often wear them as bracelets or necklaces, but you can also use them in a similar way Catholics use a rosary.
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Benefits of Meditation
There are many proven benefits of meditation. The practice can offer you mental and physical boosts.
For many people, the best time to meditate is when they are suffering from stress issues because it is very helpful in relieving stress. It also can make it easier for you to concentrate because you train your mind to focus better. You may also find a reduction in anxious feelings once you begin to meditate regularly. According to The New York Times, many people find it also brings them more mental clarity and clears brain fog. It may make you calmer and happier, as well, which means the best time to meditate could be anytime you want a mood boost.
Physically, your body feels more relaxed, and you release tension when you meditate. That may lead to lower blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate. It also is shown to help reduce perspiration and improve circulation. You may find the best time to meditate is if you have medical issues that may improve when you do it. These benefits also make meditation the perfect thing to take your athletic abilities and focus to the next level.
The Atlantic explains that studies show it can help reduce chronic pain without requiring medication. It could be an approach to helping with pain that saves money and allows you to forego the use of addictive painkillers. Some believe it activates the parts of the brain responsible for suppressing pain. So, the best time to meditate could be when you wish to try a holistic approach because traditional medicine is not helping you enough.
Taking the First Step
Now that you are more familiar with meditation, you can start practicing today. You know the different techniques and the basics of how they work. It is clear how it can benefit you.
As an athlete, you know how important the mind/body connection is and how it plays an important role in your activities. So, why don’t you find a quiet space, close your eyes and begin on your meditation journey right now?
Do you have a favorite way to meditate? Has it helped you become a better athlete? Let us know in the comments!