To a little kid timeouts are considered punishment, but for overworked and overstressed adults, any kind of break sounds pretty good. But who has the time for a timeout? Well, actually, we all do. According to studies from the University of Pennsylvania, meditating for just 12 minutes a day can improve your overall mood. This daily small pause can also help to reduce stress, ease anxiety and lower blood pressure. So, how do you achieve inner peace in the time it takes to make a cup of coffee?
What we’ve learned is that there are many varieties of meditation – spiritual, religious or just for relaxation – but most types share certain practices, such as being sure you are in a comfortable position, focusing your attention and trying to ignore all distractions. According to experts, just slowing down and taking a nonjudgmental view of your thoughts and feelings, makes you become more aware and creates a greater balance. We can certainly use some more of that!
Here are some simplified steps that we’ve gathered to get started:
Have a purpose. Understand why you want to meditate, i.e. improve sleep, lower stress, etc. Although the purpose may evolve, it’s important to know your intention.
Just sit. Commit to doing nothing other than sitting quietly. Don’t pick up the phone, don’t check your email, or add another item to your to-do list. Just sit.
Make the commitment. Give it a chance… whether you begin with 12 or 5 minutes a day, just start and be consistent.
Focus your mind. Think of your mind as a muscle…it takes time to train. Using your breath to relax and as an anchor will help when your mind wanders off. Some experts suggest focusing on a favorite word or a phrase… the rhythm of the repetitiveness can lull you into a relaxed state. It’s okay when your mind wanders off, just recognize that you drifted and get back to it.
Think positive and be kind. Sounds easy, but sometimes we need to remind ourselves that it’s the simple things which make us feel the best.
Twelve minutes a day to achieving inner peace? You can count us in.