Last week, I made a post that provided multiple links for starting or improving your meditation practice, and it got me thinking about something. Frequently, I ask my clients to participate in guided meditations in order to bring them some calm and stability; afterwards, clients will often say that while the activity did help relax them in session, they have difficulty achieving the same result when they’re at home.
There are many factors that can play into this experience, but what many clients point out to me as being the problem is that their bedroom (or other space) at home does not come with the same comforting quality that the therapy office provides them. Maybe you’ve felt the same way at times – you want to think of your home as a soothing, restorative place, but something always feels missing when you try to meditate.
Of course, having the warm presence of a qualified therapist adds a lot to the feeling of comfort during meditation. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t create a similar environment within your own home! Maybe you can’t take your therapist home with you, but you can add small touches here and there to promote a greater feeling of comfort.
A key factor in creating a more soothing space is to pay attention to your senses – therapy offices frequently contain items that appeal to all five. Here are some suggestions for improving these areas:
Give yourself something nice to look at in your space, whether it’s an interesting piece of art, a newly budding plant, or a window view of the outdoors. Pay attention to the lighting of the room – is it intense and harsh, or soft and warm? Therapists carefully consider these things when decorating their offices.
Scent provides a powerful connection to our memories and emotions, which makes it an important ingredient in meditating. There are so many different ways to create a soothing scent in your space: light a candle, burn incense, or even put on some lotion. If roommates or family members are sensitive to smell, essential oils can be useful – put a few drops on a cotton ball and sniff it all you want without bothering those around you.
Make yourself a glass or mug of your favorite drink – hot chocolate is a popular choice, and iced tea or lemonade can be refreshing on hot days. No matter what your “poison,” having a familiar, delightful taste on your tongue will help you focus on your exercise.
What sounds do you find most calming? Perhaps you love the sound of ocean waves, or a rainstorm. Maybe you’re a fan of soft, slow music – or maybe you feel that you get enough noise during the day, and prefer total silence. Recreate these favorites when you’re trying to relax – Youtube is an awesome (not to mention free) source of various songs and sounds. If you’re worried about disturbing any roommates, grab your headphones.
Therapy offices often contain soft and squishy things that feel good to touch – fuzzy blankets, furry stuffed animals, and the like. Consider putting some of these items in your space to make it more inviting for you. Make sure you also consider the furniture you sit or lay on when meditating– it should feel comfortable, while also providing support to your body.
What scents, sights, and sensations bring you the most comfort? What other changes have you made to your home or space in order to make it more restorative for you?