Meditation has become quite the phenomenon recently, and for good reason. Study after study has delivered evidence that we can materially improve our health and wellness by taking even a few minutes a day to unplug and allow our minds to wander. A growing body of science suggests regular meditation, even a little bit, can reduce stress, depression, blood pressure, and pain, while improving mood, sleep, health, and mental acuity.
To reap the many benefits of this practice, set up a dedicated serene meditation space, even a small one, somewhere in your home. Creating a place that's tranquil, peaceful, and quiet is well worth the effort.
Find the Right Spot
Start by finding the right area. Choose a room that makes you feel at peace and happy. You don't need much space, just a place you can sit, or lay down if you prefer. The room should be relatively quiet, with a limited amount of foot traffic and distractions. Also consider the lighting—go for an abundance of natural light, if possible.
Remember that this space may not necessarily be indoors, especially if you live in a welcoming climate. Inside or out, some access to fresh air can be helpful for productive meditation, but the most important aspect is that the place feels comfortable for you.
Clean and declutter the spot you pick, ridding the space of extraneous furniture, papers, trinkets, or anything else that could be distracting. The best method may be emptying the room completely, then reincorporating only the most essential elements.
Consider the Color Palette
The color of your space, believe it or not, can have a large effect on your mood. Consider painting the space if it’s not a color conducive to your personal relaxation. Pastel colors instead of dark or bold shades may be more soothing and relaxing, while brighter hues might be more activating.
Some people find it helpful to include a sonic element to focus their attention. Bells, gongs, chimes, or singing bowls are all possibilities, as are noise machines or peaceful, soothing audio tracks. There's no right or wrong, just experiment to see if any of these work for you, or stick to whatever sounds occur regularly around you. If you find the outside world distracting, you might look into incorporating some soundproofing, or practice cultivating a comfort with your background sonic landscape.
Natural elements can help enhance the harmony and balance of a space. Some people construe meditation as the act of connecting your mind and body with nature, so a plant or two might help you draw that line. Alternatively, you might consider adding fresh cut flowers, jars of sand and shells, or perhaps a water feature.
A small water fountain can offer a focus point for the never ending stream of thoughts you'll be learning how to allow, and its gentle babble can help you let the more judgmental parts of your consciousness slip away.
A small speaker can offer infinite varieties of sound to help you calm down and learn to enjoy releasing your thoughts as they come by. Rain, waves, wind, crackling flames, or any smooth and slowly changing tones can help allow your mind to wander with increasing peace.
Low, soothing lighting can help you more calmly encounter the pressures of the day, so some people like to choose a spot with dimmers, or install them to fit the space.
An aromatherapy diffuser can also be a wonderful addition to this space. Some folks believe essential oils can confer healing and emotional boosts. Lavender, sage, cedar, sandalwood, and neroli are among the most popular spiritual scents.
Add Personal Touches
While you don’t want to overcrowd the space, a few small symbolic elements can help personalize it. Pieces of art, affirmation stones, candles, or window chimes are all additions that can please your mind as you soothe your soul. If you have an abundance of items you like, choose a few at a time and swap them out until you find your favorites, to avoid having too many distractions present at once.
Make it Comfortable
To help you relax during the meditation process, add some supportive elements like comfy furniture. Oversized pillows and fuzzy rugs might make all the difference in taking you to a place of peace and calm.
Have Patience With Yourself
Meditation can be a challenge to pick up. You might be surprised how quickly after sitting down you think of something that will make you want to spring back up, leave the room, or just reach for your phone.
Practice allowing yourself to notice these impulses and release them as they occur. Let yourself smile when you notice these little deviations from your relaxation. Just breathe. It will get easier with time.
Enjoy the space you've lovingly set up. Every time you take a few minutes to sit or lay down here, allowing your mind to wander with no judgement, you'll get a little bit better at appreciating the calm you can find within yourself.
Eventually, this space will almost become a part of you, giving you an increasingly easy access to a cool and centered version of yourself, even in the most hectic and trying of times.