We live in a stressful world. All day long we are bombarded with bells ringing, cell phones dinging, alarms chiming, deadlines looming, commitments demanding, news blaring, kids screaming, and more and more to do every day.
As a result, our “fight-or-flight” response is constantly being activated, and this constant barrage of stimulation is hard on our physical health, on our relationships, on our emotional well-being, and more.
Today I want to share an easy way to get started implementing one extremely effective countermeasure to the craziness: Meditation.
Watch the video above for a more in depth treatment of this topic.
I personally had a massive breakthrough in my life after starting to meditate just a few years ago. And I don't even meditate that much!
The spark that finally drove me to give meditation a REAL try was an analogy I read in a book called Already Free by Bruce Tift.
Here’s my rough version of what he said (PS – I highly recommend reading the book)…
Imagine your brain is like a row of dominoes set up so that when you knock one domino over, they all fall down. Tift says meditating in the morning is like pulling apart the dominoes, so that you knock one over, it just lands, and doesn't knock the next one over or the next one over.
In real life, what this looks like is instead of dropping the milk in the morning and freaking out and having that annoyance spill over into your drive to work, so then you/re driving like a maniac and someone flips you the bird, and by the time you get to where you’re going you’re thinking: “I’m having a bad day…”
If you’re meditating, you drop the milk in the morning and go “Oh, I dropped the milk.” And that's all there is to it. It's not this huge thing that leads to the next thing and the next thing.
Once you start meditating, one of the coolest things is that it doesn't take a long time to start seeing and feeling the benefits. Nor do you have to meditate for long stretches, either. While 20 minutes a day is amazing, you can even see benefits with just 5 minutes.
So how to get this practice in place? Well, start by understanding how you work best because it’s more effective to align new behaviors with how you naturally operate best.
Are you someone who likes to build things up slowly or do you generally implement big sweeping changes all at once?
I'm someone who likes big sweeping change all at once. So from the get go, I set aside this long chunk of time in the morning where I know I have plenty of time to get my meditation in and all the other things I want to do (green smoothie, yoga, journaling, etc.)
Now, if you're someone who tends to build behaviors up slowly, then you might instead say all right I'm going to start with 5 minutes tomorrow and every day for a week, or a month.
Another thing to consider is getting a support system in place. Maybe asking a friend for accountability. Obviously your most reliable friend. Not your flaky friend. Maybe they want to do a buddy system and then check in each day.
Something that has really supported me is technology. I found this gadget, the Muse Headset, that measures brainwaves and it gives me feedback through my headphones (birds chirping) when I’m calm. There are also lots of apps that you can get for your phone like Calm, Headspace and Insight Timer to support your new practice.
So, these are three things that you can think about before you get started meditating to help support your brand-new meditation practice. Now, let's talk about actually meditating. So, you don't need technology, you don't need a Muse Headset. You don't need anything at all, really.
All you need is your breath. Slow yourself down enough to pay attention to the breath coming in through your nose, and out through your mouth. That’s it!!
And as your mind wanders, which it will – and that’s okay – just come back to the breath and focus again on your breath. It helps to pay attention to the air as it goes in through your nostrils; feel the coolness of the air as it enters your nostrils. And then feel it as you blow out through your mouth.
Another thing you can do is count; counting can really help you stay on track. You can count 1,2,3,4 and then start over at 1. And the moment you notice that you've gotten off and you’re on 6 or 7 or even 11, just come back to 1. That is the simplest technique for meditation that you can possibly try.
There are plenty of other techniques with mantras and guided meditations. But none of that is necessary to get the benefits. Meditation is simply coming back to the breath and staying present and focused in this moment. And this moment. And this moment.
And when you notice that your mind is wandering, thinking, strategizing, planning… just bring it back to the breath. Your mind will wander. That's what our minds do. That's what they’re designed to do, nothing wrong with it. But sometimes we can be hard on ourselves when we notice it.
Part of the practice is being compassionate with yourself and letting go of needing to “do it right” or be “perfect.”
Just come back to the count, back to your breath. Meditation is just one piece of an overall self-care strategy. Go ahead and check out my video “What is self-care and why it's important?” to learn more about that.
Interested in connecting with me personally to explore how to integrate your strategic business strategies with more self-awareness, joy and fulfillment?
Visit www.SuperstarActivator.com/go and follow the thread where it leads you 🙂