Meditation Guide for Frequent Travelers

Meditating on the road can be challenging if you’re feeling tired and overloaded. However, there are some guiding principles and practical strategies to help you remain consistent with your practice while you travel.

Guiding Principles

  1. Add variety to your routine. If being in an unfamiliar place makes it harder to settle down into your habitual activities, turn the circumstances around to your advantage. This is a chance to experiment with new techniques.
  2. Be flexible. Work with whatever you have on hand. Borrow a pillow from your bed to use as a cushion if your Zafu is too fluffy to fit into your carry-on bag. If you usually burn incense, apply a scented lotion along your shoulders and neck for a light touch of fragrance.
  3. Focus on quality over quantity. If you’re suffering from a lack of sleep or your daily agenda is jam packed, go easy on yourself. Even 5 minutes of meditation can help relax and restore you. Pushing yourself too hard can backfire and leave you feeling tenser.
  4. Make obstacles part of your practice. The more you travel, the more you come to expect that things will sometimes turn out differently than planned. If you have an unexpected layover, take a few minutes to relax so you’ll feel calmer as you revise your plans.
  5. Let go of expectations. Traveling can be a valuable lesson if you use it to remind yourself that external conditions are beyond your control. Even so, you can still protect your peace of mind. Practice remaining neutral when flights get delayed or luggage gets lost.
  6. Maintain healthy habits. The mind and body are closely connected, so it’s easier to concentrate when you take care of your physical health. Stick to nutritious foods, daily exercise and adequate rest.

Practical Strategies

  1. Bring a familiar object along with you. You’ll feel more at home if you pack a small item that reminds you to practice. It’s easy to bring a small bell that you can ring to call your mind to attention.
  2. Mask background noises. Noise can be a distraction if you have a hotel room next to the elevator. Keep a pink noise recording loaded on your iPhone or MP3 player. It will sound like soft rain in the background.
  3. Wear eyeshades. Meditation is hard to spot from the outside. If you wear eyeshades, flight attendants and seatmates will assume you’re asleep and they’ll be less likely to start talking to you.
  4. Schedule a meditation session for whenever you wake up. The most disruptive thing about travel may be getting off your regular schedule, especially if you’re crossing into new time zones. By meditating whenever you wake up, you’ll stay on track.
  5. Find a local meditation center. Having some company around may motivate you to meditate. Search online for local mediation centers at your destination. They’re everywhere – from yoga studios to community centers.
  6. Meditate outdoors. Travel is much more stimulating if you get out of your hotel room. Go down to the beach or ask the staff at the front desk if there’s a park or public garden nearby.
  7. Try walking meditation. If the last thing you want to do is sit down again after a long flight, walk around while you meditate. Just focus on your breath or positive thoughts while you adopt a steady and gentle pace.

Traveling enriches your life with new experiences and opportunities. By working some meditation time into your schedule, you’ll have more energy to enjoy all the wonderful things around you wherever you go.

Rejuvenate Your Mind and Body in Nature

Enjoying fresh air and sunshine is one of the easiest ways to rejuvenate your mind and body. There are numerous advantages to going outside every day!

Benefits of Spending Time Outdoors
* Fresh air and sunshine can help you regain focus. Spending a brief period of time outside in-between work tasks can benefit you greatly.
* The sun’s light is a powerful source of energy for the human body. Because it provides you with the essential nutrient Vitamin D, sunlight can benefit the strength of your bones, your moods and your overall health.
* Spending time outdoors can help relieve stress and tension. Breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the sunshine or the clouds, and take a short walk before going back inside. You’ll notice a difference in your mood.
* Going outside can also benefit your physical fitness. Whether you’re raking leaves, gardening, playing with a child, or pet or simply taking a walk, you’re sure to burn extra calories. Spending an hour or more outside every day can translate into significant calorie use throughout the week.
There are plenty of ways that you can get outdoors more, even if you usually prefer to stay inside and watch television or read.
How to Get Outside More Often
1. Take a walk. Whether you’re walking to get somewhere or simply for pleasure, the combination of fresh air, sunshine, and cardiovascular benefits make taking a walk outdoors a smart move, especially if you work it into your daily routine.
2. Play. If you have children or a pet that would enjoy playing outside, then use them as an excuse to get more play into your schedule. Try a sport, an outdoor game, going to a dog park for a game of fetch, or anything else that might get you active and outdoors during the day.
3. Get in touch with nature. Whether you go bird watching, flower picking, whale watching, fishing, or simply go out to take photographs, nature can be a beautiful place to be. Immersing yourself in this beauty is one of the greatest benefits of spending time outside.
4. Wash the car. Don’t bother taking your car to an automatic car wash. Consider the benefits of washing your car yourself. Not only will you save as much as $15, but you’ll do a much better job and get to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air at the same time.
5. Go beachcombing. If you live near the ocean, a lake, or a river, you can find plenty of interesting items as you walk along the edge of the water. Collect shells, pebbles and other trinkets from nature while enjoying some leisure time by yourself, with a loved one, or with your entire family.
6. Ride your bike. Ride to the store or work each day. Not only will this get you outside to soak up some Vitamin D, but it also offers numerous cardiovascular and health benefits, in addition to being eco-friendly.
Set a goal to get 30 minutes more sunshine outside today than yesterday. If you can meet this goal every day for a week, raise the bar again. Even half an hour of outdoors time every day can benefit your life in numerous ways.

 

At Home Activities to Help You Relax After a Stressful Day at Work

If you’re like most people, you have some stressful days at work. Sometimes, when these build up, you may feel overwhelmed. But if you do just a few simple things, you can eliminate that stress at the end of each day and stay peaceful and calm all week long.

If you’re on a mission to be able to relax into your evening, then you’ll likely find the following at-home activities very helpful.

Try these simple, effective methods to help your mind and body become calm after a tense day at work:

1. Soak your feet in warm water. This is a surprisingly easy way to encourage relaxation. Some therapists and spiritual teachers will tell you that the feet store a lot of energy. Soaking them in a bath of warm water will help positive energies start flowing into the feet and eventually throughout the rest of the body. Some tips:

    • Avoid making the water too hot; you want to soothe your feet, not scald them!
    • Add some aromatherapy oils to the water for added relaxation.
    • Soak your feet while you’re doing something else that can help you unwind, like watching your favorite program on television or listening to calming music.

    2. Settle into a lavender bath. This is one of the best ways to relieve stress after a tough day at work! Lavender essence is known to instantly soothe ones’ senses and completely calm the nerves. All you need to do is fill your tub with water, add a few drops of lavender essential oil and jump in. You’ll instantly feel the stress slipping away!

    3. Turn on some soothing music. The peaceful sounds of instrumentals or nature can easily release tension from your body or your busy mind. Here are some ideas for soothing music that can help you create peace after a stressful day at work:

      • Classical selections from Mozart or a symphonic orchestra
      • Nature sounds: ocean waves breaking against the rocks or the sound of birds chirping
      • Gentle spiritual music: Benedictine monks chanting or perhaps an African or Native American chant

        4. Try cucumber slices. After you’ve had your shower or bath, you can relax in bed with cool slices of cucumber placed on your closed eyes. Sometimes the entire body ends up feeling stressed when certain parts have been overworked. If you happen to spend a lot of time on the computer, soothing the eyes could easily bring relaxation to your whole body!

        5. Drink chamomile tea. Chamomile is an herb that you can rely on to calm and relax your senses and muscles. Try drinking a cup of chamomile before going to bed so you can get a good night’s sleep and feel rested in the morning.

        After a few days of applying these at-home activities, you might even find that the stressors at work don’t impact you as easily. Because of this, your days will end up being less stressful overall. Eventually, you may find yourself needing these anti-stress activities less and less.

        Remember that your body needs nurturing. Intentional relaxation is one way of taking care of your body. Stress can really take its toll, but if you try some techniques to relieve tension, you’ll soon find yourself healthier and happier than ever before.

         

        Beat Anxiety Without Medication

        When anxiety hits you, it can be terrifying. The panic and frightening thoughts coupled with physical symptoms may lead you to believe that you’re having a heart attack or suffering from a terrible disease, when in reality, you’re perfectly healthy!

        Anxiety can often cause you to have an exaggerated nervous system reaction to common stressors that others are able to ignore.

        If you’re one of the millions who struggle with anxiety, the good news is that you can feel better, even without medication. You can take positive action on your own to get a handle on your anxiety and feel more in control. Of course, especially if your symptoms are debilitating, please consult your doctor or other health professional for their advice.

        Both your mind and body are involved in anxiety. It’s a vicious circle: the constant worrying and negative thoughts can produce physical symptoms, which can cause more anxious thoughts. It becomes a pattern that can be challenging to break free of.

        But when you’re able to overcome this challenge, it’s well worth the effort! Tackle your anxiety on both the physical and mental levels today by practicing these 10 strategies.

        Physical Ways to Lower Anxiety

        Try these tips to physically lower your anxiety levels:

        1.      Breathe. If you’re breathing from the top of your chest and not from your abdomen, you might be making yourself more nervous. Breathe from your diaphragm and take full, deep, slow breaths.

        2.      Get moving. Use up that extra energy and adrenaline that your body produces. If you don’t, it can build up and make you more nervous. By getting frequent exercise, you’ll prevent your body from storing excess adrenaline.

        3.      Sit still. It’s important to exercise, but sometimes it’s more effective to be still. If you usually run from a panic attack or anxiety episode, force yourself to stay where you are and focus on your relaxation techniques, like deep breathing, to help prevent your impending anxiety.

        • The anxiety might get worse for a moment, but you’ll be calmer after a few minutes and you’ll be more prepared the next time you face anxiety.

        4.      Distract yourself. It’s hard to think about feeling nervous when you’re actively engaged in other activities. Help others, play a game, or do something else that requires your total concentration as soon as you start to feel anxious.

        5.      Get in shape. Being physically fit can help you feel better about your health and reduce anxiety. It’s not a quick fix, but more of a long-term goal that you can actively pursue. Staying in good physical condition goes a long way in preventing anxiety.

        Mental Ways to Lower Anxiety

        A positive mental attitude is just as important as using physical techniques to help overcome your anxiety. There are many ways you can use your mental resources to find peace and calm amidst the chaos of anxiety.

        Follow these techniques to tackle your anxiety on a mental level:

        1.      Educate yourself. It’s hard to battle something you don’t understand. Learn about your condition so you have a better understanding of what you’re facing.

        2.      Use the stop sign. Imagine a big stop sign in your head when you start to have anxious thoughts. The stop sign technique is a great place to start.

        3.      Network. Talking to others with anxiety can help you feel more “normal” and bring you additional strategies that have worked for others in your same situation. Reach out to others!

        4.      Set aside a worry time. If you allot a few minutes each day at a set time and give yourself permission to worry only at that time, you’ll soon find that it becomes a chore – making you worry less. By only allowing yourself to worry for a short period, you can program your mind to actually worry less.

        5.      Offer yourself affirmations. Say positive statements to yourself each day to help you stay strong and brave. For example: “I am a valuable and worthy person, and I have much to offer to the world.”

        No matter how long you’ve had anxiety, you can do something about it. When you apply both mental and physical techniques to getting better, you’ll soon find that you – not your anxiety – are the one in control!

        Melt Away Stress with Yoga and Visualization

        Yoga has started to change the world, one person at a time. The superstition, oddness, and the concept that it is a practice solely for easterners has simply vanished. Yoga is all about stretching and strengthening. Sleeping better and lessened stress are just a few of the many benefits of yoga and one of the major benefits is that  it helps you live a longer, healthier life!

        There are several types of yoga. One type many are  familiar with involves stretches, breathing, and poses that help massage organs, increase blood flow. This particular type leaves you with renewed peace. Complete yoga includes balance in your life; diet and all aspects included.  Keep in mind that yoga should be chosen based on classes you can attend. This way you will find the best fit.

        Yoga relieves stress via breathing and living a healthy, balanced, lifestyle. This kind of life will increase the health of your systems. Your system functions very well when it has the nutrients it needs to run on – so diet plays a  huge role.  If you are looking for more stamina, strength, and ways to deal with physical stress, then yoga is for you. Long and deep breaths oxygenate your blood in a very helpful way. Sleep is also a huge benefit of yoga and is important to your mind and body’s recovery each day.

        Visualization & Yoga:

        You can add visualization to your yoga. This is even more effective, relaxing, and removes even more stress than before. You will use images in yoga visualization that will guide your moods. You must not think of sad things, stressors, work related visuals; all of that will bring you down and will not help you in your yoga and will create stress.

        Focus on beautiful, peaceful images that take you away. Visualize things that lesson stress in your life and body. With  practice you will become very good at this exercise. This takes time and patience, but these techniques are great tools that you will want to acquire and keep in use.

        Mastering yoga takes time, but it is a process in which you are successful and grow every day. Consider doing this exercise with your partner to relieve both yours and their stress. You will have less stress in your body for doing so, and you will remain healthy, happy, and sleep much better.