Meditation: it’s one of those things that most people know about, but haven’t actually ever tried to DO IT (Jamie’s note: myself included). Here’s the deal- it doesn’t have to be hard…meditation has been proven to provide stress relief, improve your self-esteem, and increase your productivity and focus. And, with those same few minutes, you could also develop a stronger immune system, relieve chronic pain, and increase neuroplasticity (that’s the good kind of changes to the brain, by the way).
There are tons of books, schools, and styles of meditation, but the basic principles are almost always the same:
1) Pick a time. Since the benefits are from meditation being a regular habit, try to choose a time that’ll you be free every day, like when you first wake up, on your lunch break, or when you first get home from work.
2) Set aside two minutes. If you start small, you’re more likely to stick with it, and get long term results. You can always add time once you start to feel like two minutes isn’t enough.
3) Find a quiet space. Silence your phone, tablet, and computer. It doesn’t matter where you are, as long you won’t be interrupted.
4) Find a comfortable seat. You don’t need to sit in lotus, but many people find that sitting cross-legged is easy on the body. Try sitting with your hips propped up on a folded blanket or cushion. You can lean against a wall, or sit on your couch; just sit anywhere you can sit straight, comfortably, in stillness.
5) Focus on your breath. Once you’re comfortable, take a long, slow, full breath. Follow the breath as the air enters your body, into your nose, down the length of your throat, into your lungs, deep into your body. Keep your exhale long and slow, and follow the breath from the base of your lungs all the way out. Keep your eyes open or shut, whichever helps you focus more. If your mind wanders (and it will) just notice that it happened, and bring your mind back to your breath.
That’s it! Easy, right? This type of practice is all about learning to focus your attention – perfect for those of us that can’t help but scroll through our Instagram feed while we’re supposed to be working. The benefits can be amazing, and since it takes such a small amount of time, it’s easy to incorporate into your daily routine.
– Jo Walker, Intern
Another good resource is calm.com. It helps jump start a meditation routine. Especially useful at higher stress points and in the midst of a busy day.