Thursday, March 31, 2011

Meditation To Go

Need help staying on focus? Find yourself distracted by off-topic mind wandering? Mindfulness can restore balance and help you stay tuned-in to the things that matter most to you.

Several research studies point to the benefits of meditation for physical and emotional well-being, including the reduction of the stress hormone, cortisol, and improvement in overall mood. Meditation has been shown to help people coping insomnia and depression and medical illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease and multiple sclerosis.

The classic mindfulness technique of following the breath, keeps your attention on the very center of things, where all your options wait to be discovered. That's great news but who has time to practice mindfulness? Just about everyone it seems. Formal mindfulness meditation may be learned in quiet, still places, but it is meant to be practiced in everyday life, no matter how fast paced or stressful. In fact, the more stressful, the more immediate the benefits.

Here are a few simple tips for bringing mindfulness into everyday situations:

At the office....
When you arrive at the office and are waiting for your computer to boot up, try sitting comfortably in your chair, settle into your body, and concentrate on your breathing for three minutes. Do nothing else. No talking, no reading, no listening to music. Simple sit, breath and pay attention to your breath. This technique, practiced every day will help break the cycle of launching yourself into the pressure cooker before the workday begins.

When you find yourself in the slow lane coming home from work, instead of mentally asking "Why me?", concentrate on the rhythm of your breathing, acknowledge the frustration as a temporary annoyance, and realize that what is happening is simply happening. It is not happening "to" you.

Washing your hands...
It's important. Hospitals now train their health givers to wash their hands thoroughly and often to prevent the spread of germs. Public health offcials tell us that simply washing our hands often helps to prevent colds and flu. Next time you wash yours, take your time. It takes all of a full minute. Stop talking. Don't think about what your going to do next. Follow the breath and come home to the body. Carefully adjust the water temperature and notice the sensory experience of the soaping and massaging the hands. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry, being aware of how each activity feels.

That's all it takes to experience all the physical and emotional benefits of meditation. A few minutes each day that you are going to devote to the activity anyway. The only thing you need to do differently is be intently aware of what your doing.


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