Quick Fix Meditation

Articles abound regarding the health benefits of taking time to include meditation in our daily care. The health benefits listed include things like greater clarity of thinking, deeper relaxation, better quality sleep, increased productivity, greater creativity, more energy etc.  Most people acknowledge that spending time every day in quiet introspection and relaxation is a great idea.  The question is “How”?  How do we find the time?  How do we prepare ourselves?  How do we do it?  How?

Trying to establish a meditation routine is similar to establishing any other routine. It takes commitment, time and patience with oneself.  It needs to be something that you believe is benefiting you.  And it should be something you look forward to doing.  But many people find they cannot commit the time or they find they cannot slow their minds down enough to concentrate on meditating. Where is the benefit?

Some people start their practice, but later on, let other things get in the way of routinely meditating. When people don’t follow through on a promise or commitment they made to themselves, their “inner critic” cranks up the volume and the tendency is to get angry with themselves.  No sense beating yourself up over this issue- this is the complete opposite of what you are trying to achieve by meditating!

Enter the One Minute ~ Most Days ~ Meditation Practice as described by Dan Harris of ABC’s  Nightline and weekend Good Morning America. Dan has also written a book entitled,  Meditation for Fidgity Skeptics; a  book based upon his own experiences with meditating!  By aiming to meditate most days, rather than every day, the chances of better consistency exist because your “inner critic” will not get on you if you miss a day or two.  You can more easily pick up where you left off, because guilt, shame or annoyance are not beating you up.  Asking for only one minute a day to meditate is less daunting than asking people for more time out of a busy day. What often happens is that after one minute, people realize that they are “doing it” and enjoying it, so they continue a bit longer.  With this shift in believing that one “has to do it” to more of  “likes to do it”,  meditation becomes something that really can become part of one’s self-care routine.

There are three other suggestions Dan Harris makes to help people stand strong on their commitment to daily meditation.  These are:

  • Think strategically about your schedule and what works for your personality – is there a better time in your day that would work best for you?  If so, set that out as your meditation time.  If your schedule is unpredictable, set your time in association with an activity you already do every day (eg. brush teeth, park car, feed your pet) or just tell yourself you’ll enjoy the “adventure” of a new time to meditate each day
  • Make yourself accountable – telling someone about your daily meditation practice (especially if you live with others) or joining a group that routinely meets to meditate helps set up positive peer pressure.  You may find that being around like-minded people makes it easier for you to practice on your own time
  • Focus on the benefits – when we think about how meditation helps us, we are more likely to continue with the practice.  What makes it pleasurable to us and what we notice as positive effects in our daily lives helps us to stay the course.

So what can you do in a minute?  Become comfortable, close your eyes, breathe slowly, count your breaths, use colours or symbolic imagery, bring forth a happy thought or memory, remember a song or poem.  And smile!

If you can dream, you can meditate!  If you can breathe, you can meditate!  If you can count, you can meditate!  If you can be still for just one minute, you can meditate!  Go ahead – try it!

 

Article written by Pat Antoniak Registered Nurse Registered Aromatherapist and owner of the Natural Comfort Wellness Centre in Tsawwassen, BC.

 

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