The world is a busy place and we are caught up in this hectic pace. Most of us lack sleep from trying to work hard in order to live the life we want or from worrying that we are not working hard enough or doing enough to achieve our goals. We are anxious about the past and scared about our futures. We forget to live in the moment.
Every day we judge ourselves and we disappoint ourselves with too much and too many expectations. We distract ourselves from the difficulties of life by trying to do more. We crowd our daily schedules with so much but at the end of the day, we go to bed exhausted but still unable to alleviate our fears and worries. We forget that we have not even taken time to be alone and just be with ourselves.
What is Meditation?
Many successful people have learned the benefits of taking time out for themselves thru meditation. Each person does it their own way and may call it different things such as “me time”, “alone time”, “moment of silence”, “emptying your mind” or “calming your mind”. This time for yourself is called meditation. When you pray by yourself, softly whispering or silently, that too is a meditation.
Simply put, meditation is the practice of calming your mind, not really emptying it but focusing your mind on something else other than thinking; putting your mind on a break from all your usual thoughts, fears and worries.
Meditation is one thing that can contribute to your overall wellness and success. Try to get a complete overview of your current level of wellness so you know which areas of wellness you need to work on.
Benefits of Meditation
There are many benefits to meditation including a calmer demeanor right after and even more energy; clearer thinking and improved concentration on tasks at hand. Long-term effects include improvement of overall health, better sleep, better communication and relationships and a more a positive demeanor.
All this translates to self improvement and increased chances of success in many areas of life. No wonder many successful people have made this a habit.
Some people who have incorporated this practice into their daily routine include these celebrities:
- Self-made millionaire Tony Robbins – meditates 9-10 minutes
- Entrepreneur Arianna Huffington – meditates 20-30 minutes
- CEO of LinkedIn and former Yahoo executive Jeff Weiner – cuts out blocks of his daily schedule for meditation and thinking time
- Singer and entrepreneur Katy Perry – meditates sitting in bed for 20 minutes
- Clint Eastwood – practicing Transcendental meditation for over 40 years now
- If you search online, there are many more names to add to this list.
How to Start a Meditation Habit
Meditation is best done in the early morning or before going to bed. As a beginner, you need at least 10-15 minutes of time alone, in a silent place where you can focus on meditating. You may do this sitting on a chair or on the floor or lying down but be as comfortable as you can.
Close your eyes and breathe deeply thru your nose and mouth. Breathe normally and just focus on your inhales and exhales. If thoughts come, just go back to focusing your attention on your breathing. This is all you need to do for 10-15 minutes.
If you are doing this in an office setting, you can use headphones to drown out as much background noise as you can, then play relaxing music to calm you down. There are many meditation music available online and there are also guided meditation music to make it easier for you to meditate.
As much as possible, use music that has no lyrics as the words will just add to your thought process. Instrumental, acoustic and nature sounds are most recommended.
Do your best NOT to follow a thought. If you get distracted by a thought that pops up, go right back to your breathing. You may feel you have failed the first time because you did not feel as calm as you expected but just practice again the next day until you get to a calm state.
You may exceed the 15 minutes but that is also alright. Some people who have meditation as a habit do this for up to an hour a day. Others do this several times a day in 10-15 minute blocks.
Some people may find it so relaxing and end up falling asleep especially when meditating while lying down. This is alright too since you are trying to calm yourself anyway. You can just try to do it again the next day without falling asleep. A timer would help too so you don’t go over your break time at work.
Once you have integrated a meditation practice in your daily routine, you can decide whether to devote more time to it than just 15 minutes a day. You may decide to do it twice a day or it may be more effective for you to do it several times throughout the day. You can even decide to meditate if you feel that you have too many things going in on your mind and you need to clear out the confusion.
Start taking baby steps to creating a meditation practice in your daily life. Do tell us about your experience the first time you meditated or give us more tips to improve our meditation practice if you are doing this already.