Meditation does not always require hours of time or elastic limbs that can twist into a yogic pretzel. Instead, it only requires taking a time-out from the hustle and bustle of daily life to take a few breaths and find your center.
How often do you find yourself working on autopilot, not noticing any part of your surroundings but only the task at hand? We often live our lives like a to-do list — using the hours of the day just to check off tasks before falling exhausted into bed.
Pausing to focus on yourself and your experience throughout the day is not only refreshing, it is actually hugely beneficial to your health — physically, mentally, and spiritually. This kind of checking in is called “mindfulness,” or “self-awareness,” and it can change our life! Although it is historically an Eastern practice, it is being increasingly recommended by Western health experts.
Benefits of Meditation
Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor of Medicine Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, asserts that the benefits of meditation and mindfulness are indispensable and should be introduced to all people at a young age.
“Meditation can transform your life and be profoundly healing. And it does that by working on the entire organism — from your chromosomes to your cells to your brain. And it affects all organ systems within the body,” Dr. Kabat-Zinn explained during an interview on The Benefits of Meditation on Brain and Body.
Mindfulness and the practice of “living in the now” can significantly improve your overall well-being and increase your interpersonal connections and intimacy! Affection, love, and sex will feel and be better than ever when you learn and utilize self-awareness and ignite your present senses with your husband, wife, partner, or lover.
The best part about meditation is that you can do it anytime, anywhere.
It simply involves actively disengaging your autopilot now and again and taking stock of all of your surroundings. It means paying attention to the sights, sounds, and smells you might have otherwise missed by remaining tangled up in your thoughts and plans about the future.
Try out some of the mini-meditations we’ve compiled below. They don’t require any special outfits or padded mats and can be done anywhere. With practice, your new “autopilot” can become one of daily awareness and appreciation.
1. Pay attention to your breath.
Breathing is so automatic that we usually forget we’re even doing it. But the way you breathe actually has a huge effect on your state of mind. Shallow, rapid breaths result from and prolong stress and anxiety, and deplete your body and brain of crucial oxygen. Take some intentionally deep, belly-extending breaths, and exhale them slowly. Check in on your breath at various points throughout the day.
2. Listen intently to your surroundings.
Turn down the commentary running in your mind and notice the things you hear nearby. The sound of the birds, cars passing by, or the laughter or conversations of others. Crickets or frogs in the evening can be a very soothing chorus and help you clear your mind. Try closing your eyes and picking out each individual sound you can hear.
3. Look closely at your environment.
What sorts of colors are the people around you wearing? Do they look happy, sleepy, stressed? How would you describe the scene in front of you if you were writing a book? This kind of detail is often missing from our daily life. You might be amazed how much more connected you are with your surroundings when you actively describe it to yourself.
4. Feel the sensations of your skin and muscles.
How does your shirt feel against your skin? How is the air moving over your arms? Rub your hands slowly together and savor the sensation. Notice the weight of your body as you stand or sit. Shift it from side to side and notice where you feel the changes, which muscles are activated and which are relaxed.
5. Pause before starting a new activity.
You’ve crossed another obligation off the checklist. Stop and take a moment to appreciate the feeling of accomplishment before moving on. This can be done before walking out the front door, before getting into your car, before making a phone call, or any other time you’re about to begin something. Close your eyes, clear your mind of thoughts and anticipation, and just exist for a moment. Then focus yourself completely and solely on your next task.
6. Undivide your attention.
Whatever you are doing at the present moment, focus entirely on that activity. Whether you are driving, reading, or carrying on a conversation, turn away all outside thoughts that creep in to distract you. This one takes a good deal of practice, but when you learn to give undivided attention, you will find that your memory and contributions are significantly improved. Don’t fret if a distracting thought arises. Simply return your full attention to the activity, rinse, and repeat.
7. Repeat a mantra.
Mindfulness requires reminders like anything else. Choose a simple term or phrase to repeat throughout the day, and bring yourself back to a place of peace and happiness. It can be as simple as thinking “peace” or “joy” in rhythm with your breaths, or something longer like “I am loved.” Try one specific to your day. If you have a presentation coming up, remind yourself that you are as capable as anyone and have nothing to worry about.
The “I am” statement is exceptionally powerful.
You can create something positive and phenomenal in your life by believing and repeating an “I am” statement, such as “I am loved.” You can also work the other way around by eliminating negative statements such as “I am stressed” or “I am tired.”
Your body, mind, and soul will react to “I am” statements in a profound way and adjust to make the statements true. Through self-awareness and mindfulness, you can avoid and prevent unnecessary beliefs from controlling your life.
Want to take your meditation up a notch? Join us for a FREE guided meditation class and learn how you can de-stress, re-energize, and become an expert at finding and maintaining an internal balance.