Meditation has been hands-down one of the biggest game-changers to improving my focus, productivity and self-reflection in the past 2 years. Daily meditation literally changes the grey matter in your brain, improves your immune system, and decreases anxiety. No wonder monks are some of the happiest people in the world.
Despite the growing number of scientific studies to support these benefits, many people remain curious about meditation but haven’t explored it much. It feels silly, difficult, or maybe there’s just “no time” in the day. If you feel that way, then I have some good news. You don’t have to wake up at 5 am and pretzel your legs into an impossible position to meditate. You can, in fact, meditate anywhere and anytime.
Here are some activities you can explore in the comfort of your own home without having to wake up early or travel halfway across the world to visit a monastery.
Mindful Eating: Next time you have a meal, eat in silence (no talking, no music). Don’t read, look at your phone, or focus on anything else except your food. Every time you take a bite, set down your fork, chew and enjoy. Then repeat. You’ll find that you get full a lot faster, eat less, and enjoy the experience infinitely more.
Mindful Walking: Take a stroll outside near your home or work, walking at a very slow pace. You are looking down at your feet as you walk. As you pick up one foot, consciously inhale. Setting your foot down, consciously exhale. Focus only on your breathing and footsteps. If thoughts start to pop up in your mind, refocus back on your breath. See how you feel after 10 minutes.
Mindful Breathing: The act of simply observing our breath creates inner focus and is the easiest way to start. It’s also the basis of most meditation practices. Try counting each breathe for 5 minutes. Inhale, exhale. One. Inhale, exhale. Two. etc. Eyes open or closed. Do this for 21 days and see how you feel.
For those totally new to the concept of mindfulness and meditation, I would suggest starting with the book Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World. For the science behind it, my friend Joseph has a great video on how it rewires your brain. And if you’d like to take a crack at guided meditation, the Headspace app is the best one (which I also use daily).
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