PORTLAND, Ore. —
If you feel like your brain is spinning in circles and you can’t find a moment of calm in your day, you’re not alone. There is a lot of stress in the world right now, for good reason. But it’s important to find some moments to relax, ease your mind, and be able to just breathe.
One thing that might help with that is meditating. Personally, I have been meditating for a few months now, and I love the benefits it has brought to my brain.
But you don’t have to take my word for it.
“It’s so important to give ourselves a rest. It’s really easy to feel overwhelmed right now,” says Ryan Kenny, co-founder of Pause Meditation in Portland. “We have to be really careful with our mental space because that has a huge impact on our overall health and well-being. So learning to meditate offers us an opportunity to develop ways to relax our minds and our bodies, to restore and replenish some of our energy, and can help us feel more resilient as change continues to unfold.”
So if you want to try meditating, where do you start? Start by setting up what Ryan calls a “breathing space” - a space that feels welcoming and inspiring. This space should, ideally, be away from the typical distractions, like technology.
“Whatever you can craft that will feel welcoming,” says Ryan.
Here are some things Ryan uses in his breathing space:
Floor cushions (or a chair, if that works better for your body)
Flowers (or anything else beautiful)
Ryan also says that having a sense of community can be very beneficial to your meditation practice. Normally, Pause Meditation hosts group classes in a studio. But right now, during this time of social distancing, for the first time ever, the studio is offering online classes throughout the day.
“It’s just really neat to see people. We’re all isolated in our little corners and doing the best we can, but it’s really kind of beautiful to see the other people that you’re with, and to rely on one another to hold the space for meditation.”
Whether you’re meditating alone or with others, you still may find it difficult to focus and tune out the world during your practice. But don’t worry - that is natural, and ok."
“What’s really important to know, is that this is not a practice of eradicating or squashing our thoughts,” says Ryan. “But what we can do is learn to relate to our thoughts in a different way. And when we notice ourselves get pulled into a stream of thinking, and we gently acknowledge, like, ‘Oh, I’m thinking right now!’ you just kind of touch it, and then you let go, and you come back to your anchor - breath, sound; then you’re actually practicing resilience. You expect or hope life to go one way, all of a sudden you find yourself going this way. And then you catch and you correct, and you start over. And so, just the simple practice of noticing your mind take off, coming back, gently resetting can be really nourishing, and prepare us to take on the challenges that are inevitable.”
Cassidy Quinn is the host of Tonight With Cassidy on KGW. But right now, like many of you, she is working from home, trying to focus on the happier things going on in the world. Tonight With Cassidy is currently on hiatus, but you can watch previous segments from the show here, and follow Cassidy on Twitter @CassidyQuinn.