Meditation is often overlooked by busy people. We suspect we should be doing it, we have friends who swear by it, but who has the time?
Ironically, these are the exact people that would benefit most from the exercise. And you can start with just 3 minutes a day- so there’s really no excuse. But does it actually make you feel better? The answer is yes. There is even cold, hard science to prove the benefits. Regular meditation will make the body less responsive to stress hormones, reduce the risk of heart attack, ease chronic pain, and fight insomnia. And amazingly, it can even make you smarter! So, your task today is to get peaceful with yourself.
To get you started, follow Matthew Johnstone’s Four Steps to Calm:
1: Sit in a comfortable position on the floor or in a straight-backed chair. Imagine a piece of fishing line running from the base of your spine up your back and out the top of your head, pulling you upright. Concentrate on the feel of your feet anchoring to the floor, your bottom sinking into the chair, your clothes against your skin.
2: Tune your hearing into what's going on outside the room –people chatting, a dog barking, the sound of the wind. Then acknowledge the room you're sitting in – a ticking clock, electrical appliances buzzing. Finally bring your attention within, to the feel of your heart beating and any areas of tightness in your body. As you breath in repeat to yourself "I am here" and as you breath out "I am now".
3: Imagine your mind and body slowing down, like a ship that's been on "full steam ahead" through rough seas. See yourself entering calm, still water where it is safe to take your foot off the accelerator. If your mind is abuzz, rather than owning your thoughts, try to observe them from a distance. Picture your thoughts as a swarm of bees that are behind a glass sliding door.
4: Be kind to unwind. I often hear people say "I tried meditation once and just couldn't do it" but that's like going for one jog and expecting to be fit instantly. It takes time to train a busy mind to be still and some days your meditations will be turbulent. Whatever happens there is still great benefit in sitting quietly.