In any given day, on any given shift, endless emergencies and near-emergencies compete for our attention as nurses. When you need a quick grounding, when you need to center yourself in the midst of a storm, meditation could be your answer.
There’s a seemingly endless variety of meditation techniques. What’s important is to find one that works for you.
The first thing to note is that your thoughts don’t necessarily stop during meditation, so don’t get frustrated. The idea is to slow down, to feel calm, to focus. And always pay attention to your breath. When you slow your breathing, you’re halfway there.
Here are three techniques to get you started:
- Repeat a meaningful or significant word or phrase in any language (called a mantra).
- Focus your gaze on a candle flame, a flower or a beautiful, meaningful or inspiring object.
- Pay attention to some sensation in your body, such as how you’re sitting.
Here is a favorite mantra of the Scrubs editorial team:
Breathing in, I calm my body
Breathing out, I smile
Dwelling in the present moment
I know this is the only moment available for me to live.
—Thich Nhat Hanh
It may take some experimenting to figure out what resonates, but in any one meditation session, choose only one technique. The idea is to encourage a one-pointed state of attention, which we’re not necessarily doing if we’re jumping around from thought to thought, technique to technique.