How Bathtub Meditation Can Add a Whole New Dimension to Stress-Relief
Our jobs and lives can be demanding, but this doesn't mean that we can’t take time for ourselves and find a sense of inner peace and focus. Many of us continually search for effective practices that can help us de-stress in a natural way. However, oftentimes we find that life gets in the way of this, even finding a few moments everyday to divert your attention, is hard!
Medical professionals, friends, and other people you know might suggest getting into yoga or a conventional meditation routine in an attempt to unwind. Both practices, yoga and meditation to decrease stress, coupled with other interventions, work for many, why not you?
If you're skeptical of more conventional forms of meditation, or need an extra dose of relaxation to de-stress, we recommend trying bathtub meditation. Meditation on its own can be a powerful force for inner change. When you add the calming atmosphere of your bathtub to this practice, you can bring meditation to a whole new dimension of stress-relief.
Just think about it, calming music in the background, soothing scents mixed in your warm bath water (via bath bombs, salts, etc.), and maybe a candle or two lit on your bathtub caddy. The point is, nowadays you can get creative with your relaxation practices. It's okay to combine more then one discipline to help achieve a healthier and happier, you!
Studies have been finding more evidence that, practices such as mindfulness-based cognitive therapies (like meditation), result in less negative thoughts and/or unhelpful emotional reactions in times of stress. Meditation has also shown in smaller studies that it can have a positive impact on negative dimensions of psychological stress.
By now, you're probably aware that meditation is not just about relaxation, it's much about retraining your mind and focus. It can help with stress in a number of ways from; improving your focus, understanding pain, and reducing brain chatter by focusing on your breath.
How Can You Practice Bathtub Meditation?
There are some general rules of thumb when it comes to bathtub meditation, but again, there is no "perfect way" to meditate, as it can take on several forms and be practiced in a variety of ways. It also is individualized in many ways.
It's not difficult to start a bathtub meditation routine, especially if you're already comfortable with traditional meditation practices. You may want to make some modifications to your bathroom environment, and keep some key meditation principles in mind, however.
1. Set Aside Time For Your Bathtub Meditation
Proper relaxation requires planning and forethought. This is especially true if you live with other people and have obligations to fulfill at home. Maybe you have kids to take care of, chores to do, or dinner to cook after you get home from work. All of these tasks are important, but you need time for yourself. So figure how and when bathtub meditation can fit into your schedule to help sooth those tired ache muscles, and help relax the mind.
Having the ability to plan out your meditation sessions, makes it more likely that you follow through with your practice. It also helps others around you plan for your "me time".
2. Get Rid of Any Distractions
This goes without saying, it's time to let the people around you know that unless there is an emergency, you need a few moments to yourself. On top of this, any electronic devices need to be placed on silence, unless you're using them for a guided meditation session or for meditation music.
3. Make Yourself Comfortable
In addition, try and modify anything else you think could make you feel uncomfortable. Maybe the lights are too bright, or the heat of your water is too high. Examine these conditions first and make sure you're completely comfortable in the environment. You don't want to worry about these things as you meditate, so take time to cozy-up your bathroom setting before your meditation begins.
4. Use Scents For Relaxation
Natural scents are an amazing way to enhance your meditation. We highly recommend doing a bit of aromatherapy as you meditate. One method (within the bathroom environment for aromatherapy) is to use a bath bomb. Usually, these products, produce amazing smells. They also create an extra layer of sensation as they fizz and wash over your body.
If you don’t like this option, you can always make your own scents. You can mix a few different essential oils (with carrier oils) into your bathwater and discover what scents work best for you. However probably the easiest option is to purchase a diffuser, and add it to your bathtub meditation session.
The smell may not be as powerful as a bath bomb or a direct infusion of essential oils into your water, but it can create a nice calming sensation, with a subtle aroma that lasts longer then the other two options. Candles are another option as well, and they add a nice lighting element if you want to dim your bathroom lights.
5. Get Into Your Water
Once your bath water and your bathroom are properly set-up, you can take the next steps towards relaxation. You don’t need to meditate right away. In fact, we suggest taking a few moments or minutes to just sit in your water and take in the calming atmosphere. This will help you get into the right mindset for mediation.
6. Do Some Deep Breathing
Breathe exercises are basic, but extremely helpful, and much of meditation is your ability to focus on the breath. In a relaxing bath, the effects of deep breathing may be even more powerful for some. You'll want to breathe slowly. Inhale for 3-4 seconds and exhale even slower, a count of 7-8 seconds. This will allow more oxygen into your body and help minimize your bodies stress response which may have been activated from your daily tasks.
7. Find A Sensation To Focus On
After you've found some peace, begin focusing on your body. Ask yourself what sensations you're feeling. How does the warm water feel on your skin? What scents can you smell? How do your muscles feel? Contrary to what you may be thinking, there are plenty of things going on as you sit in the water.
Focusing on the breath is also an effective way to begin your meditation. So focus on this and some of the things you're feeling as you recline in your water.
Do a body scan, where you focus on different areas of the body, one muscle at a time, attempt to relieve all or any tension felt at this time.
8. Stay In The Present Moment
Your mind might drift, even in the comfort of your bathroom. You might start to think about what went wrong in your day, or other stressful situations. Most people would fight these thoughts or try to ignore them. Instead, you want to let the thoughts pass over you and then drift back to what is going on with your body. Stay in tune with your breath, the meditation music you may have on, or the guided session you may be listening too.
It's okay to get distracted by thoughts, but you always want to go back to a familiar sensation, that will put you back in your body and in the present moment. In fact distracting thoughts are common with meditation, and as you practice more, you will be able to better train your body to refocus on the present.
Other Tips And Recommendations For A Successful Bathtub Meditation
Whether you have years of meditation experience or have just started to meditate, you want to practice patience and understanding with yourself. It’s easy to be hard on ourselves and get frustrated with our high levels of daily stress.
You want to take things one step at a time and really sink into your body and be mindful during bathtub meditations. Start out slow and begin with shorter sessions if you're struggling. Some people start with only five minutes of meditation and that's perfectly fine.
Remember, even the most seasoned meditation experts can have trouble relaxing. It’s okay to use meditation tools to help you relax. Music, for instance, can be a great way to get into meditation, as can guided meditation. Be mindful of your struggle, but don’t let it overcome you. Hone in on simple sensations to stay present and stress-free.