Take a deep breath.
Hold it for three seconds.
Now breathe out.
In the time it took you to complete these instructions, you may have felt your mind clear and your body relax. The composure you feel now is just a taste of the effect that meditation can have on your life.
The practice of meditation is designed to clear your mind and relax your body for the space of the time that you are meditating, but the effects of meditation are not limited to the time you spend in a meditative state. Clearing your mind and relaxing your body for a short time can produce an extended sensation of mindfulness and tranquility. By developing a habit of daily meditation, you can extend that habit into a more mindful and tranquil existence.
Daily meditation is sweeter still in that it is an easy habit to develop. You don’t need to invest money, labor, or even a large amount of time into meditation in order to feel its benefits. In fact, just the thought of meditating can trigger you to be more aware of your emotions and to act thoughtfully.
You could take an entire course on meditation techniques or take a hiatus from life and visit temples and gardens devoted to fostering the meditative state, but part of the beauty of meditation is the fact that it is accessible to you anytime, anywhere.
To develop daily meditation as a habit, begin by devoting a small amount of time to meditation. You may meditate for as little as two to five minutes. Use simple techniques, like monitoring your breathing, visualizing yourself in a soothing landscape, or repeating a personal mantra.
Try to designate a time or trigger to meditate each day.
7:00 AM, after you brush your teeth, after you get home from work, 3:33 PM. Having a time designated for meditation helps you avoid forgetting to meditate or procrastinating!
Try to be mindful of the effect that meditation has on you. If your experience is highly rewarding, you might want to increase the amount of time you spend meditating. If you don’t feel fulfilled, you might try a different meditative technique.
Incorporating Meditation in Your Life
Consider meditation like water. Taking a sip of water at a designated time every day is refreshing, but you might feel thirsty at other points throughout the day, especially if you have had to exert more energy than usual. In fact, your body needs a constant circulation of water to stay healthy. The same is true of meditation. Having time set aside each day to meditate is great, but the seamless integration of meditation into your life is even better!
During the time you set aside for meditation, you are usually in a passive state, sitting comfortably in a quiet space with your eyes closed. To integrate meditation in your life, you should try meditating in an active state.
Take a walk, paying attention to your breathing and senses rather than the worries of your day. Listen to birds. Smell freshly cut grass. Try eating and doing chores in a meditative state. Remember to concentrate on the present moment rather than any worries from the past or future.
Meditation can be particularly useful when you find yourself in a chaotic or emotionally stressful situation, but achieving a meditative state in such situations can be a challenge! Don’t worry. Practice makes perfect.
If you know that rush-hour traffic is correlated with a spike in your blood pressure, try clearing your mind and relaxing your body when you’re in traffic. If you find yourself in the midst of an argument, take a deep breath and try to re-center your actions with the lifestyle you want.
Enjoying the Rewards
Most new habits take a disruptive approach to changing your life: quit smoking, count calories, sweat for 30 minutes every day. The habit of meditation takes a constructive approach to changing your life. From your very first deep breath, meditation rewards you with clarity and relaxation. These rewards quickly build into a lifestyle you can enjoy!
- Tags: Lifestyle