There are 2 power tools I use almost daily that I have found made a huge (positive) difference in my quality of life . The first one is journaling, which you can read about here and the second one is meditation.
Just like journaling, it’s easy to dismiss as being “not your style” as it sounds kind of silly, and hippy-like. It’s another concept I resisted for years, but is truly beneficial for the following reasons:
1. Being present
In our technologically overloaded, instant gratification society, life seems to be moving at a pace so fast it’s almost impossible to catch up. So we spend our lives multitasking, zipping from one task to the next without ever really stopping to smell the roses. And we wonder why depression is skyrocketing….instead of LIVING, so many of us are busy DOING!
Meditating gives you the chance to stop, catch your breath and just BE.
2. Stress Relief
The deep breathing associated with meditation relaxes your body and decreases the stress chemicals racing through your body. Deep breathing sends more oxygen to both your blood stream and your brain, delivering a sense of calm.
3. Self awareness
By taking aside a few minutes of the day to stop and breathe and be present, it gives you a chance to check in with yourself…how are you feeling? A lot of times we can get so busy we don’t even know how we’re doing, and that makes it easy to forget to deal with anything bad we may be feeling.
4. Good energy.
It’s often been said that praying is talking to God, while meditating is listening to God. While I am not traditionally religious, I do believe that there is good energy out there that you can tap into while meditating. This can rejuvenate you and increase your happiness.
How to meditate.
1. Schedule it! – you don’t need to set aside an hour to meditate, even 10 minutes is better than nothing, but chances are if you don’t schedule it into your day it wont happen. I do it just before I fall asleep, and some people do as soon as they wake up. Just pick a time and stick to it.
2. Breathe- this is the key. Breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Try to fill up your diaphragm ( below your lungs) with air first, and then your lungs…it truly is deep breathing.
3. Focus- find something to focus on. Some people like to visualize their “happy place” or light entering their body while they breathe. Others like to count their breaths. Either way, find something to focus on besides your brain’s chatter, to help you stay in the moment. There are tons of resources on the internet to help you find something to focus on.
4. Don’t worry! -it can be challenging to focus at first, the goal isn’t to shut your brain’s chatter off, but to stay present in spite of it. Think of a rock in the middle of a stream, it lets the water flow around it. Your object of focus is like that rock, with your thoughts being the stream.
Regular meditation helped me foster a sense of calm, that replaced what was almost a constant panicked feeling. I really, really hope it can do the same for you 🙂