Meditation is a powerful stress reliever and a habit that can lead to resilience to stress and increased inner peace. While this may not come as a surprise, if you’re like most people, you’re aware that meditation can be helpful but you have trouble making it a daily habit—life gets in the way! This is okay to an extent; practicing meditation once can be helpful. However, to gain the full benefit of meditation in terms of creating resilience and a lasting sense of peace, it should be practiced regularly.
There are many different ways to experience the benefits of meditation, and having more options at your disposal can mean that the practice is easier to maintain on a regular basis. One soothing method is to meditate in the bath.
Steps and Tips for Performing a Bathtub Meditation
A bath meditation combines the standard benefits of meditation (you can read about the benefits of meditation — they’re pretty amazing) with the benefits of a relaxing, hot bath, which can soothe tired muscles, provide a calming atmosphere, and allow a temporary feeling of escape from stressors. This is a habit that’s easy to practice on a nightly basis. How do you make a bath meditation effective? Here are some things to keep in mind.
Block off at least 15 minutes where you won’t be interrupted. That means creating a few extra minutes in your schedule, putting the phone straight to voicemail, telling others in your household not to disturb you unless it’s an emergency.
Whatever you need to do to set personal boundaries and block off the time, it should be worth the effort.
Use Aromatherapy Bath Products
As you run the bath, you may want to incorporate some of the benefits of aromatherapy by using bubble-bath or bath oils scented with lavender (shown to be relaxing), peppermint (if you want to feel more alert), or another scent that you really like (studies show that subjectively pleasing scents bring stress relief benefits, too). This way you can add another layer of stress relief with no additional effort.
Get In and Relax.
Let your breathing become slower and deeper, allowing your belly to rise and fall with each breath (instead of your shoulders or chest). This type of breathing is more natural and can help turn off your stress response if it was still triggered from earlier in the day.
Focus on Sensations
Now just focus on the sensations you feel in your body — the warmth of the water on your skin, the pressure of the tub against your back — and let go of all other thoughts.
Try to keep your mind quiet and your attention focused on only the present moment.
Stay In The Present
If you find thoughts of the past, the future, or any form of internal dialogue happening, gently redirect your attention to the present moment. Continue for several minutes, and you should feel soothed and relaxed quickly.
- If you’re new to meditation, you may want to try the meditation part of it for 5 or 10 minutes at first and work your way up. (Time spent in the tub — in meditation or not — should still be relaxing enough.)
- If you find it difficult to keep your mind completely clear, you may want to try a mantra meditation. This is a form of meditation where you focus on repeating a sound or phrase over and over. It can be a nice alternative for those who become frustrated by a mental voice that wants to keep talking.
- You can also add music as a focal point for your meditation with the Musical Bath Meditation. This can increase your relaxation, as music brings its own benefits for stress management.
- If you’re really tired, you may want to choose a different type of meditation — you don’t want to risk falling asleep in the tub! Experimenting with different types of meditation can help you to find multiple favorite stress relief strategies, and can make it easier to make meditation an ongoing habit, reaping the resiliency benefits in the process.