I am noticing more of my clients are interested in learning to how mediate. When I first tried mediation – 13 years ago – I’d go along to a class in Melbourne with a colleague one night a week – and I’d have a lovely one-hour sleep ?. A few years later, I got more serious, and now I cannot live without mediation in my life. It helps me to decompress, focus and re-energise.
In today’s connected, fast-paced world we are so overstimulated – rushing, busy, continually interrupted and distracted, yet much of what we need to do requires our attention and concentration. There is a truckload of research that speaks to the efficacy of meditation, and I can vouch from personal experience. I use it in the morning and evening and between my coaching sessions as a way to relax but also to focus my attention.
Keys to starting out
- Realistic expectations: The most common comment I hear about people struggling to meditate is “I just cannot do it, I cannot shut down my brain.” Unless you are some Buddhist monk who spends eight hours per day in meditation, ‘thoughtlessness’ is an unrealistic measure. Everyone – even people who meditate all of the time – think in meditation. I have spent HOURS sitting in my meditation space thinking about my to-do list, articles, business ideas, the kids, holidays – you name it! Even if you spend your ENTIRE time thinking, at least you’ve had some quiet, focused, thinking time! ?
- Broaden your definition: Meditation can take many forms; it is really about reducing stimulation to allow your body and mind time to relax and recover. It’s about being present to your world and yourself. It’s even about noticing the negative feelings and emotions that come up for you. There are many ways to do this; you don’t have to sit cross-legged with incense burning.
Here’s how to get started in less than five minutes:
|How long do you have?||What to do?||When to do?|
|30 seconds||30-second breathing space
Deep inhale for the count of four, hold for the count of four, exhale for the count of eight.
|I do this before every coaching session to calm me down from whatever I was doing before and allow me to focus on my next task. It is magic!|
|3 minutes||Listen to a guided meditation
Try these 3 minute (free) guided meditations: http://franticworld.com/free-meditations-from-mindfulness/
The Calm or Headspace apps have a great variety of meditations, talks and sleep stories.
|Particularly useful if you’re having a busy or tough day.|
|5 minutes||Savour your morning coffee
Take five minutes to mindfully drink your morning coffee – sipping slowly and noticing all the delicious flavours.
|When you want to make something great even better!!|
|5-10 minutes||Take a walk
Leave the iPhone at home and notice the sounds of nature or focus on the leaves in the trees.
|You’ll get the most significant benefit first thing in the morning when it helps to reset your circadian rhythms but any time of day will be helpful to you.|
If you get distracted – which you inevitably will – be kind to yourself. When you notice you’re thinking about your to-do list, you are being mindful! Simply congratulate yourself for being aware and go back to your breath or your coffee.
There is an old Zen saying: You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day. Unless you’re too busy, then you should sit for an hour.