I've talked here a bit about taking time off, unplugging and generally making a quiet space so that your can have more energy and life to live. One of the best ways to do that if you don't have a private retreat or a weekend off is with some meditation. It can be five minutes, twenty, or a full hour if you've got the time. The point is to center your thoughts and your mind, sort of like a power nap. If you're religious, praying while meditating can help you achieve greater clarity in your spiritual goals.
Here are three quick, easy ways to start bringing meditation into your daily routine. The longer you can spend meditating the more benefits you'll reap, but start small and work your way up:
Being mindful of our breathing, body position and overall emotive state is a powerful tool for recalibrating negativity and working through our day. This is the closest meditation to traditional prayer, and combining the two will help you achieve a more full experience.
Sit comfortably on the floor with your legs crossed. If you're at work or stuck in a chair, place your hands on your lap and your feet on the floor. Close your eyes. Take deep, cleansing breaths. Breathe deeply and evenly, concentrating, if you must concentrate on something, on the breath. A good way to stay unfocused and in the moment is to count your breaths to 10, so every time your mind starts to wander, take a breath and start back at one.
Start at five minutes, and work up to 15.
I love walks. The gentle movement of arms and legs, and feeling your body re balance itself while your mind is doing the same can be a soothing experience. If, like me, you prefer movement to stillness, this is a good one to try.
Make sure you're in a place where you can get a good 20 paces in, whether indoors or out. clasp your hands gently in front of you with straight arms, lower your shoulders, and look slightly down ahead of you. Walk slowly, taking five to 10 seconds for each step, fully experiencing every muscle movement propelling you forward. Once you reach your end point, turn around to retrace your steps. Don't fret if you stumble a lot at first, you're training your mind and muscles to respond to this kind of meditation.
Try this for about twenty minutes a day.
This type of meditation is a helpful tactic if you're an office dweller, have kids, or can't get to a quiet space.
Start sitting comfortably as in the mindful meditation. Close your eyes, slow and deepen your breath, and listen to the sounds surrounding you: computer typing, a radio, cars driving by, the electric hum of the lights and air conditioner. Imbed these into yourself, enveloping the sound so that it almost vibrates inside you and becomes a part of you. Whenever you start to wander, refocus on the sounds as a whole, instead of an individual sound.
Work up to 15 minutes.