Looking for ways to release stress is vital for our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). The weight of their job coupled with the homesickness they feel while working in a foreign land far away from their loved ones can sometimes take a toll on their mind and body. And with their busy schedules, sometimes they prefer to skip destressing and just sleep the tiredness away.
Good thing that there are simple and easy ways to shake the stress off their shoulders inside the comfort of their homes. Aside from taking short walks, listening to their favorite music, or making a quick stretch, our OFWs and migrant Filipino workers can also try meditating to help them reduce stress.
Walk through this article to find out the wonderful health benefits of meditation not only for our OFWs and migrant Filipino workers but for every individual out there!
What is meditation?
Mindfulness meditation involves learning to divert and concentrate your attention on how you breathe and at the same time noticing when your mind wanders and then bringing it back to the present moment, less the judgment.
What are the benefits of meditation?
Wellness professionals and meditation teachers agree that when you practice meditation, even for a few minutes a day can give such an impact on your physical and mental health. Here are some of them:
- Reduces stress and anxiety- meditating teaches you not to loom over the unfortunate things that cannot be undone and lets you focus on the present moment without the heavy judgment.
- Strengthens relationships- When you meditate, you cultivate a mind and body full of compassion, not only for yourself but also for the people around you.
- Improves heart health- Studies have shown that meditation helps lower blood pressure, prevent the risk of other cardiovascular diseases, and may also help you gradually quit habits like smoking which are all good for the heart!
- Benefits your brain- Ever heard of neuroplasticity? It is the ability to rewire your brain and replaced old and bad habits with new, healthy ones. This could be done through formal meditation. Meditation also helps you improve your ability to process information, lower your sensation of pain, and slow down the process of brain aging.
How to meditate at home?
Now that you’ve known the positive effects of meditation on your physical and mental health, it’s time for you now to start mindfulness meditation inside the comfort of your home. Unlike other wellness activities, meditation doesn’t require a large space or heavy workout equipment. All you need is you and your mind.
Step 1: Find a cozy spot
It’s a rule of thumb to find a comfortable spot in a serene environment when you want to start to meditate. Feel free to find a space in your home where you can feel relaxed without any distractions. You can either sit on the couch, on your bed, or it could be on your favorite chair! You can opt to lie down but as a beginner, it is more advisable to stay seated to prevent yourself from falling asleep.
Step 2: Set a time limit
Now, as a beginner in the meditation practice, you don’t have to push yourself to meditate for a long period of time. Five to ten minutes of mindfulness meditation a day can give a huge impact on your concentration and overall disposition as you go through your daily routine and tasks. It would be helpful to set a daily reminder on your phone or calendar so you won’t miss out on your daily meditation practice.
Step 3: Notice your body
Whether you are sitting on a chair with both of your feet flat on the floor, kneeling, or sitting cross-legged on top of your bed, yoga mat, or meditation cushion, make sure that this position is comfortable enough for you to stay for a while.
Step 4: Focus on your breathe
Take a deep breath and slowly let it out. Follow the sensation of your breathe as you inhale and exhale over and over.
The essence of meditation involves focusing on breathing to maintain a calm main and develop inner harmony. One of the easiest ways to begin meditating is to concentrate on the air going in and out of your system.
Step 5: Be kind to your wandering mind
As a neophyte to meditation, it will be very common for your mind to wander and think about various stuff. You might look back on your regrets in the past or be curious about what’s in store for you in the future. Or your mind could drift away into thinking about someone or a specific moment in your life.
Don’t beat yourself up if that happens–it’s completely normal! When you notice that your thoughts have taken off course, simply let go of the thought, reopen your attention and slowly redirect back your focus on the inhalation and exhalation.
“Don’t just drag the mind back to the breath. Instead, reopen the attention, then gently come and land again,” advises Tara Brach, a meditation teacher from Washington D.C as mentioned in an article from New York Times.
Remember that mindfulness meditation isn’t about letting your mind roam free nor making it empty– it’s about focusing your attention to the present moment.
“Where we build our skill is in the practice of coming back. Coming back again and again. Notice it — thinking — and then pause, and then come back to the present moment,” Ms. Brach adds.
Step 6: Close with kindness
Whenever you’re ready, slowly lift your gaze (or open your eyes if you meditated with closed eyes) and notice your surroundings. Pick up on the sound of your environment and notice on how your body is feeling. Take note of your emotions– are you feeling better now than before you started mindfulness meditation?
What are the other types of meditation?
There are various types of meditation that you can try out. Some of them are as follows:
- Transcendental meditation- This form of meditation involves chanting or silently repeating mantras in your head to achieve that state of relaxed awareness.
- Body scan meditation- Unlike mindfulness meditation practices that focus on your breathing, body scan meditation allows you to scan your body–from head to toe– for physical sensations rather than the pent-up emotions and existential dread you may be feeling. This strengthens your mind-body connection and helps you pinpoint which parts of your body are tensed or experiencing pain that you might not be aware of.
- Mindful eating- Do you know that you can also meditate while you are eating? This is called mindful eating. Instead of gobbling up on your food like usual, you give time and space to digest every aspect of the eating experience and the way you react to it.
Listening to guided meditation practices can be a big help, especially for beginners. There are various websites that offer guided meditation exercise and meditation techniques in the form of audios (which can be as short as 1 minute or as long as 15 minutes) that you can use and incorporate into your every meditation session.
Finding ways to reduce stress levels is essential for our OFWs and migrant Filipinos, especially with the toll of working and being far away from their loved ones greatly affecting their physical and mental health.
Whatever meditation style you prefer, completing a successful meditation session promotes progressive relaxation for our OFWs. Allot a few minutes of your day to meditate. It will help you release any negative emotions for a positive and healthier well-being.