These are stressful times we're living in. Thankfully, there are some things that we can do to immediately relieve ourselves of worry, anxiety and built-up feelings of being completely overwhelmed. One of those things is to meditate. Now, before you try and find a billion of reasons why it's something that you should put off until, who knows when, it's important to keep in mind that it's very easy to do. It's all about finding a quiet spot, getting into a comfortable position and sitting in silence for 10-30 minutes at a time.
If you commit to doing this, even just a couple of times a week, there are scientific studies to support that it can (also) improve your ability to focus, cause you to be more empathetic to those around you, inspire you to be more creative, help you to make wiser decisions and strengthen your immune system. There is even research that states meditating can reduce symptoms related to phobias, help you to work through various addictions (like alcohol) and reduce your sensitivity to pain; meditation can even make you a more positive person.
If you just read all of that and was like, "I hear you Shellie, but meditation is just so boring to me," yeah, I hear you too. First, let me say that sometimes meditating can be a struggle because some of us don't know how to freakin' be still sometimes. Second, sometimes meditating can feel like it's on the ho-hum side of life. To that I'll just say that 1) it's not supposed to be like a day at Six Flags (remember that) and 2) there is not just one way to meditate.
In the spirit of that, below, I've enclosed a few things you can do to help make meditating less of an "ugh" (less boring) and more of an "oh!" (more fun) activity for you.
Buy Yourself a “Meditation Outfit”
It's funny. Kinda. What I'm referring to is the people I know who struggle with meditating are also the people who tend to struggle with getting a good night's rest too. When I ask them what their routine typically consists of, if there's one thing that they have in common is, they go to bed looking a hot mess, only to roll out of bed in the same tired leggings and raggedy T-shirt to attempt to meditate. SMDH.
Purchasing some new pajamas and an outfit to meditate in isn't about being frivolous. On the sleep tip, you are going to be in, whatever you're wearing, for 6-9 hours a night. You can be cute while you're comfortable (especially if you're sharing your bed with someone else). As far as meditation goes, I'm sure you've heard that if you dress for success, you tend to perform better. The same theory applies to meditating. If you have an outfit that's specifically reserved for meditation, not only can it make you feel better about doing it, it can also get you excited in a way. If you get a couple pair of yoga pants (like these knit yoga ones, girrrl) and some cute tank tops, you might be surprised by the pep that comes in your step as you sit down on your yoga mat.
Incorporate a Scent That You Enjoy
As I was checking out an article that shared some of the reasons why our sense of smell is so important to our everyday lives, one of the things it shared was it helps us to tap deeper into our emotional state. It even went so far as to state that, a part of the reason why the perfume industry is such a lucrative one is because, they spend a lot of money researching what scents will provoke certain feelings and desires. So yeah, making sure you've got just the right scent happening during your meditation, that can also spark some additional interest in meditating.
For instance, the woodsy scent of sandalwood has quite the reputation for igniting inner spiritual work and chakra balance. The musky scent of patchouli can keep you calm and grounded. Lavender is a fabulous de-stressor. The combination of frankincense and myrrh will help to purify your senses while encouraging you to release anxiety. The floral scent of neroli is not only an aphrodisiac, but it also helps to remove negative emotions and can even decrease depression-related symptoms and insomnia.
All you need to do is purchase these essential oils to put on your wrists or in a diffuser, or you can buy some soy candles that are made up of these scents.
The more you study essential oils and aromatherapy, the more you'll find yourself looking forward to picking just the right scent to go along with whatever you want meditation to provide for you, on any given day.
Play “Non-Triggering” Music
When it comes to meditation and music, different "experts" have different perspectives. While some think that sounds will do nothing but distract you, others believe that it's all about selecting the right kind of music. When you do, it can calm your mind, release stress, improve your level of concentration, make you feel more positive and, if you meditate before turning in at night, it can help you to sleep more soundly too.
The key is to avoid the kind of music that will trigger any type of negativity. Like, if you recently broke up with your man, you probably don't need to meditate to the playlist he made for you. Instead, instrumental music, soft jazz, even nature sounds are things that can definitely put you in good spirits and keep you from feeling like you're just…sitting around and doing nothing but listening to yourself breathe (especially if you're new to meditating).
Switch Up Meditation Spots
No one said that you've got to be in the same spot, every time you meditate. If you like the sound of rain, on rainy days, sit in front of the biggest window in your house. If sometimes, you want to meditate in the nude (a lot of people do it), find a spot in your home where you feel the most comfortable and the least self-conscious. If you and your partner are trying to get into meditating more, on the days when you do it together, maybe have some morning sex first and then meditate in your bedroom after. By not always being in the same space, this also can make meditating feel a lot less…monotonous.
Count to 100
The site About Meditation has a great tip if you're someone who is always thinking about all of the other things that you could be doing as you attempt to meditate. It says that you should try counting to 100. By focusing solely on the numbers, it will keep your mind from wandering. It will also get you used to sitting still for longer than a couple of minutes because, you know that you at least need to get to 100, right? You can read more on why this is an effective tip by clicking here.
Write Your Own Mantra
In Hinduism, a mantra is simply a word or phrase that you sing or chant in order to get into a space of peace and calm. Based on the word (or phrase) that you choose, it can also be pretty empowering. So, why not come up with your own customized mantra?
Think about a goal that you want to achieve, a habit that you want to break or an area where you want to feel better about yourself and then find a word (or phrase) that suits that desire. Knowing that there is time you are planning to set aside, on a daily basis, to make you feel better about yourself—what could possibly be even remotely boring about that?
Get a Meditation Partner
No one said that, just because you are meditating, you have to do it alone. In fact, there are several benefits that can come with getting someone to meditate with you. They can hold you accountable to the days that you plan to meditate. Meditating with someone can teach you how to be comfortable being in the presence of others and being silent at the same time. Another perk that comes with meditating alongside another person is they can teach you meditation tricks and offer tips that you might have never heard before. And, if you make plans to get together before or after your meditation session, it can give you something to look forward to as well. You can get together to meditate in the same space or you can hit a friend up on something like Skype or Google Hangout and do it that way.
Journal About It Before and/or After
If you're someone who is very goal-oriented, you might struggle with meditation because you're like, "OK, so I'm sitting here not doing anything. What is the friggin' point?" Since you may not automatically see the health benefits that come from this kind of practice, it might help for you to get a journal that is completely devoted to meditating. You can either jot down the things that are concerning you before doing it, write down the thoughts that immediately come to your mind after you meditate, or you can do a combination of both. It doesn't have to be a novella; a few sentences are fine. But if you get into the habit of writing down your thoughts, feelings and experiences surrounding meditation, you may start to see some documented proof of why it was such a good thing for you to do. And—surprise, surprise—how it stopped being so "boring", after all.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
7 Apps For Guided Meditation For The Woman Fighting To Find Peace Of Mind
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
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Everything Kerry Washington Has Said About Her Husband Nnamdi Asomugha
Actress Kerry Washington and her relationship with her husband, actor Nnamdi Asomugha, is the perfect example of a winning team.
The pair became an item following a chance encounter in 2009, and many years later, on June 24, 2013, Washington and Asomugha would secretly tie the knot. Since then, the high-profile couple has expanded their blended family by welcoming two children, a daughter Isabelle Asomugha, 8, and a 6-year-old son Caleb Asomugha. Asomugha also has a daughter from a previous relationship.
Despite Washington and Asomugha choosing to live a relatively private life for the most part by not sharing images of their family on social media and occasionally attending events together. The rare glimpses they provide to the public showcase that Washington and Asomugha have much in common regarding essential topics.
For example, Washington is highly involved in politics and encourages others to participate by spreading information about various issues and how everyone would be affected.
As for Asomugha, the 41-year-old officially founded the Asomugha Foundation in 2010, years after doing other charity work in Nigeria. According to its site, the organization was created to help "disadvantaged youth and women by providing educational opportunities and mentorship."
Washington's public remarks regarding her relationship with Asomugha and their family may be rare, but when she does speak about their family, it's all positive.
Kerry On Why She Keeps Her Relationship Private
Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Bronx Children's Museum
In March 2016, the UnPrisioned actress revealed during a discussion panel at SXSW Festival that one of the reasons why she is adamant about remaining private about her union with Asomugha is because she doesn't want the public to make any narratives regarding her marriage.
At the time, it was reported that Washington and the former NFL player were experiencing marital troubles and were allegedly planning on getting a divorce. Washington would shut down those allegations by saying she hasn't and will not share any information about her private life.
"Social media has actually been great for [other celebrities'] relationships with the weeklies or the gossip sites because people say things and they say, 'That's not true!' So I'm thinking in some ways, it's been great because people are able to maintain their voice," she explained.
"It's a little different for me because I don't talk about my personal life. That means not only did I not tell you when I was getting married, it also means if somebody has rumors about what's going on in my marriage, I don't refute them, because I don't talk about my personal life."
Kerry On How She Met Nnamdi And What A Normal Day Looks Like for Their Family
Fast forward to October 2018, the Scandal star gave insight into how she met Asomugha and their family life. During an interview with Marie Claire, Washington shared that she and Asomugha met in 2009 while she was working on the Broadway play Race.
The mother of two told the publication that her life has "completely transformed" since their encounter. "The last time I did theater, it completely transformed my life. That's where I met my husband. I love being with my family. My days off look like homework, reading, and watching stuff. Just hanging out, doing things we love to do," she stated.
Kerry On Nnamdi's Accomplishment
Photo by Jeffrey Camarati/Getty Images
But as time progressed, Washington began speaking a little more openly about her man. In October 2022, Washington gushed over Asomugha and his Netflix project, The Good Nurse, which came out around the same time her film, The School for Good and Evil, was released. While talking to Entertainment Tonight, the star expressed how "proud" she was of her husband.
"I'm really proud of him, I think he's doing amazing work. I'm really excited for his film, The Good Nurse," she said. "It's really exciting to both have really important films at Netflix right now, we feel really blessed.”
Kerry On Why Nnamdi Is Her Soulmate
Washington shared how her love with Asomugha goes beyond the surface after spending over a decade together.
In a March 2023 interview with Marie Claire, Washington explained that she and Asomugha are perfectly aligned because she's allowed to be her authentic self with him.
"I'm in my immediate truth with [him]," Washington said. "Those mirrors are important because they help me get back to myself."
Kerry On The Couple's Upcoming 10-Year Wedding Anniversary
Photo by Bruce Glikas/Getty Images
That same month, Washington expressed that in addition to the many years the couple has been together, and their personal and professional accomplishments, she still finds Asomugha "incredible."
Washington shared this revelation while promoting her latest project, UnPrisioned, in an Entertainment Tonight interview.
"I do have an incredible husband," the actress told ET host Kevin Frazier as she disclosed little to no details about their upcoming plans for their tenth wedding anniversary. "Do you remember how secret my wedding was? How private and secretive it was? That's how the anniversary is gonna be too!"
Kerry On Why She Thinks Nnamdi And Their Children Are A Gift From God
Washington's love and admiration for Asomugha and their family grow increasingly each day, so much so that she uses it as inspiration to share positive messages with her fans.
The 46-year-old revealed during a panel with Al Sharpton at National Action Network Convention on April 12 that she sees her husband and their children as "proof" that God exists and loves her because of the great joy they bring to her life.
"Well, you've met my husband, my husband's amazing. I got a good one. We have three beautiful children. And I think, you know, when I look at my marriage, and I look at my kids, fundamentally, they are proof of God to me,” she said. "Because I know that God loves me to have put those people in my life. And that sense of like, knowing that God loves me. That, to me, is so much of how I make the decisions about the activism that I do and the content that I make."
Regardless of what the public may think about Washington and Asomugha's private union, they are proving with each moment that love can conquer all.
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Feature image by Arturo Holmes/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue