3 Hipster-Approved Mindfulness/Meditation Tricks To Try
Meditation, Visualization, and Mindfulness
#HipsterShrink strikes again!
It seems these days, more and more, I'm introducing people to the concept of "playing" with their thoughts. Most people I work with have some inclination that they can affect their thoughts, feelings and behaviors but aren't necessarily aware of how to do so. Part of our journey together is to play with that notion to find the right metaphors that really "click" for each individual, allowing them to unfold the beautiful process that is the hybrid of "acceptance", "mindfulness", and "cognitive defusion".
Since I can't be hands-on with all of you that are reading this, here are three Hipster-approved mindfulness/meditation tricks to play around with (followed by my two personal favorites). Why Hipsters? Well, you love them. You hate them. You love to hate them and hate to love them. They are, amongst other things, known to be seekers of quality, uniqueness, and understanding things at a deeper level. I can definitely get with that. Also, after being called a Hipster enough times, I figured I'd embrace it!
Regardless of whether you are a Hipster, love Hipsters or hate them, find the one exercise that resonates best and practice it. If you'd like specific guidance on coming up with a metaphor for your own personal growth, feel free to reach out to me via email or via my Alex Michaud Counseling Facebook page.
Without further ado:
1. SLOW DOWN THE RECORD
The first thing I want you to do is to find a comfortable position with your feet on the floor. Take a few deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Pause. With your eyes opened or closed, I want you to observe your thoughts. If you tend to run a little anxious, it may be easier to notice the "to do" list that's running around in there, the worries, the thought processes. Even if you're not, just notice what they're doing.
Now, I want you to imagine that your thoughts are spinning around on a vinyl record and I want you to imagine that you're slowing down the speed of the record player. If you've ever tried this before, the sound gets very low-pitched and slow-paced. Imagine this happening to your thoughts. Notice them rolling across your mind more slowly and with a funny pitch, all without stopping them.
It may take you a few minutes to feel it out, and that's okay. Just give yourself space to try it out. If your mind wanders off, just bring the attention back to the spinning record.
2. PEDAL THE BIKE
Same breathing, same sitting but this time I want you to imagine yourself riding a bike. In this case, it should probably be a fixie but a beach cruiser will work just fine, too. Our focus in this meditation is on the pedaling.
With every in breath, I want you to imagine your dominant foot is coming up to the top of the pedaling motion and with every out breath, imagining your pushing the pedal down and forward. Around and around in circles matched with your slow breathing.
I invite you to breathe naturally instead of trying to control your breath. One focus at a time for right now, okay?
3. DRINK THE COFFEE & TEA
This is definitely a realm where there's a ton of room to explore. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and find yourself a comfortable place to sit. One more time starting with the sitting and breathing. Nice slow in breaths through your nose; nice slow out breaths through your mouth. Let your eyes close.
Hold the cup up to your nose and take a big breath in with your mouth open. What do you notice? What smells are present? Sure, "it smells like coffee/tea" is the obvious answer but dig deeper. Do you smell scents that remind you of malt, flowers, fruit, or bread? How does the smell itself make you feel? Does it invoke certain specific emotions or memories? Great. Spend a minute or two with this.
Now take a sip and ask yourselves the same questions, but about taste. Do you taste anything beyond "coffee" or "tea"? Are there hints of anything else in there? I want you to try to do this without judging whether they're good or bad. All I want you to do is to notice what's there. Explore this for a few more minutes as well.
Finish with a couple sips followed by a few more deep breaths. I really find this to be an awesome way to start the day, so give it a shot.
I'm not sure these fall in the Hipster realm but these are the two that I use for my own personal practice. Maybe these will help you and be a better fit with your life.
4. SWINGING THE SWING
My number one go to when I need a visualization is to picture a younger version of myself on a swing. It's usually hanging from a tree near a lake in the early evening. With every in breath, I'm swinging back. With every out breath, I'm swinging forward. Pretty simple stuff; not trying to change anything or control anything -- just swinging.
5. Rowing The Boat
In a similar setting as the first example, I imagine myself in a rowboat with oars. With every in breath, I'm pulling back; every out breath, leaning forward. The lake I'm on is endless; I can spend as much time rowing as I would like before reaching the other side.
I hope that one of these is helpful for you to try out. Engaging your life with a little more Mindfulness is an excellent way to improve your mental health and well-being without doing anything else. Questions, comments and concerns? Feel free to tweet me @alexmichaudlpc or on my Facebook page. I hope your practice continues to grow and that you find more stillness and appreciation in your every day life.
Until Next Time,