Widows often struggle with sleepless nights and this is where “mindfulness meditation” can be the most helpful.
It is the simple practice of bringing your attention to the present moments – to a word, your breath, sounds or even the grass under your feet. There are many phone apps to help with this by offering daily mindfulness meditations, example – Head Space.
A special word or phrase, continually repeated, can help you focus your mind when meditating. A simple manta – “Let” as you inhale and “Go” as you exhale. You can begin practicing mantra based meditations in the form of sound therapy which employs the natural state of vibration in objects such as sound baths with various instruments.
Music therapy is evolving and scientific studies have shown it can relieve pain and anxiety. It can be tailored to a person’s tastes and needs.
To ease a widow’s pain and increase sleep a therapist may combine music with deep breathing and guided imagery. A slow, soothing tempo helps a widow who is agitated to lower their heart rate and blood pressure. The key is to be more intentional when listening, to be mindful in the present moment.
Four steps to meditate anytime, for as little as ten minutes. As per Andy Puddicombe, creator of the popular app, Headspace.
- Sit comfortably upright on a chair with feel flat on the floor and hands resting on your thighs.
- Mentally scan your body from top of your head down. Notice any tension in your muscles, places of discomfort and places that are relaxed. Begin to notice the natural rhythm of your breath while doing this. Be aware of the steady rising and falling of each breath, silently counting your breaths.
- If your mind wonders, notice that it has happened and then gently return your attention back to your breath. Take deep belly breaths by inhaling deeply through your mouth to a count of six – exhale by count of eight. The more you practice the quicker you will see the benefits. It’s better to focus on doing it right, then doing it for longer periods of time.
- Keep your rhythm for at least ten minutes and remember deep breathing is available at any time and place. If every day feels like too much at first, then start with every second day. It doesn’t cost you anything and is not restricted by your physical health, so why not give it a chance?
Mary Francis, The Sisterhood of Widows
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