Whether you meditate every day or have never heard of meditation, here are 6 simple steps that will improve your day!
There seems to be a great divide between those who meditate and those who don’t. For some, all they can picture are people in yoga poses or on Buddhist retreats - resulting in them believing meditation isn’t for them.
How can meditation help?
What really is meditation? What is Mindfulness? Should it be considered as part of our wellness routine? How can meditation help us – at home and at work especially during the holidays?
Meditation can be defined as contemplation, thinking, reflection or deliberation. A few weeks ago I wrote a blog on setting aside time to problem solve daily. This particular self-management strategy when applied helps you carve out the time to think about specific challenges or situations and how you might change them from repeating, or create an action plan to move forward through a stressful time. Often what keeps us from implementing this strategy is the fact that most of us live a drive-by-life – also something I write about and talk about often in my workshops. A drive-by–life is when you go through your day at a hectic pace without taking the time to reflect, appreciate or enjoy. These days often turn into weeks and then months.
Living life this way is unsustainable - eventually, you will burn out which creates a spiral effect on every aspect of your life. The solution is sometimes a hard and fast look at your priorities and on occasion, you may need to simplify your routine to ensure it is manageable. Often though what we need to do is similar to maintenance on our vehicles. When you purchase a new vehicle it can be considered maintenance free – but only for a while! Regular ‘checkups’ are required – oil change, fluids, filter, eventually brakes and so on. If you don’t take care of them then they will build up and one thing leads to another, creating an even a bigger problem on your hands.
Making meditation part of your routine.
For all of us, meditation should be part of our well-oiled routine. Meditation is the feeling of deep peace that occurs when your mind is calm and silent. For some meditation is a vital step in having a really good sleep. It can take as little as 5 minutes to relax and provide you the reminders necessary to rest your mind – which at that time is what you need. For other times of the day, it may be you need to switch gears from a meeting on a complex project to now solving a problem with a co-worker from earlier in the day, or speaking with your teenage son or daughter about their current pressures. Meditation can help you switch gears more effectively. Mindfulness is at the very core of meditation. To focus your awareness on the present moment – so if that present moment is to stop thinking about one thing, so you can clear your mind and then start thinking clearly on the next task at hand. This can be compared to wine tasting and cleanse your palate in order to truly appreciate what you are about to experience in the next wine – the same can be applied to the flow of our day when we need to switch our attention.
The 6 simple steps
Next time you finish a meeting and need to make a phone call or you have to run to another event – take 2 minutes and do the following:
- Sit at your desk with your eyes closed (if possible)
- Take three deep breathes – so that you can feel the oxygen go from your lungs to your brain
- Picture a box and pull all of the thoughts from your mind into that box
- Relax the muscles in your face as you do this
- Remind yourself that all of these thoughts are important and you will get them back when you need them, at the moment you will allow yourself to switch gears with focus and success
- Take a final deep breath