Are you a beginner meditator and looking for some advice on where to begin meditation?
Reduce travel stress with mindful meditation.

Traveling often presents stress overload. Working non-stop on the plane or the train with little downtime and not being in the comfort of your own space can be overwhelming. It is important to take care of your body and mind, and practicing the techniques of mindful mediation is a key way to significantly reduce travel stress.

Meditation is the art of training your mind, similar to the way that we use fitness as an approach to training the body. For most, this is a very challenging thing to do. The key is to not judge or become frustrated when the thoughts float in, but to simply be aware that they are there and then let them go with a deep breath.

Here are tips to get you into a renewed headspace while on-the-go with work travel.

1) The breath
There is no required way to breathe in this type of meditation, but I found it helpful to take long deep inhales through the nose, completely filling the lower stomach like a balloon followed by a bottomless exhale through the nose where the stomach becomes flat. The breath is an amazingly POWERFUL tool! When you catch yourself thinking during meditation, bring the attention back to the breath.

Breathe In,  
Breathe Out.
That’s it.
Take a deep exhale through the nose to let the thought sail away. Again, there is no right way of breathing, but being very aware of the breath does help focus the mind.

2) Create a comfortable place to sit
It is important to set up an environment where you that sets the tone for relaxation, and frees you from distractions. Pick a seated position in which you can sit comfortably for at least 10 minutes. There are many variations to how you can sit; ultimately it is up to you. It's great to simply sit on the floor, but it's also fine to sit against a wall or even using a blanket, cushion, or low bench. The main point is that you are physically comfortable (you don’t want to move around too much) and the spine is straight to allow the flow of energy through the chakras.

I like to imagine that my spine is a tree that I can lean against. I sit on the floor with my legs crossed comfortably in front of me. I’m happy when I can stay in the same position throughout a meditation sit, but there is also no reason to feel tense and uncomfortable, so adjust when necessary. With practice, the spine will build up postural-supporting muscles, allowing you to sit comfortably for longer periods of time.

3) Decide on a mantra or technique to bring the focus back
Coming up with a mantra -- some word or phrase that you connect with -- and repeating it in your mind will help keep external thoughts from entering the mind in the first place and bring the focus back if thoughts arise.

I choose happiness.
I am perfectly at peace.
I am in the present moment.

You can say whatever you choose to yourself that has personal meaning or is significant to you at that time, such as“ I choose happiness” or “I am perfectly at peace”. What you use as your mantra or affirmation is completely up to you, just give it dedication and practice to figure out what means something to you.

The flow-like quality of mindfulness meditation is wonderful because there is no pressure to NOT THINK. It’s okay that thoughts come in; the most important part is to be MINDFUL of what those thoughts are. We should never change ourselves into some preconceived notion of what we “should” be, but we should rather be with ourselves as we already are.

4) Acknowledge your thoughts … and let them go
Part of having a mindful meditation practice is working with all those little thoughts that pop in. Of course thoughts will arise, that is just part of being human! Try to imagine and acknowledge those thoughts by admitting to yourself, “Okay, that is a thought,” and then focus on your next inhale. During your mediation, always practice working with the breath.

5) Make meditation a habit!
If you desire to find a significant change in the way you handle stress while traveling, it is important to make meditation a part of your daily routine. Creating a ritual for yourself is a great way to make positivity and mindfulness become part of who you are. Find what works best for you. If you have some time you can light a candle, burn some incense, and use essential oils -- anything that will get your senses flowing.

I like to listen to healing Zen-type music; it helps bring positive, motivating energy into my meditation. Having a little sacred space in your own home is a great way to remind you to practice at least 10 minutes a day on nothing but yourself. Make a commitment to journal daily about your experiences!

Observe how transformative this practice can be.

Yours in health,
Megan McKenzie

Megan McKenzie possesses a deep interest in health and wellness. She teaches Vinyasa Yoga, sharing her meditative practice with her students. Passionate about healthy food and her sweet Labradoodle, Murphy, Megan is sensitive to those around her and is eager to give back to the world. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram

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