5 Ways You Can Start Meditating With a Busy Schedule

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You’re busy. It’s part of the responsibilities that come with the modern life. There are very few gaps in the schedules today and those that do occur are generally given to family and friends. It doesn’t seem like meditation can work its way in there somehow, but it really can. Here are 5 ways you can start to meditate even with the busiest of schedules.

#1. Begin your day with meditation.

It’s important to have a morning routine that is your special place. You might take this time to watch CNN, relax in the shower, or eat breakfast while reading a book. There’s a good chance that you also spend a little extra time in the morning just staring at the ceiling. Take that time, even if you never get out of bed, to try meditating. This means you’re not trying to add something new to your schedule. You’re just using your time in a better way.

#2. Use your breaks throughout the day.

There’s no rule that says you have to set aside a 20 minute block for meditation. If you get a couple work breaks during the day, try bunkering down into a quiet corner to try meditating. Two 10 minute sessions during the day equal to 20 minutes, after all. This way you can also avoid the sometimes awkward chatter that happens near the water cooler or vending machines.

#3. Force yourself to take a moment away.

We often think of meditation as a classic pose, arms outstretched, maybe sitting on a Yoga mat. Meditation is effective in the classic pose, but it can take on many forms. If you take a walk to help yourself calm down after coming across conflict, you’re actually meditating. Stepping away from triggers and conflicts is the perfect time to try meditating because it creates a natural focus point. You have a difficult emotion that needs to be resolved. This practice on a singular focus can then translate into other focus points later on when stress isn’t present.

#4. Bring in the family.

Even stay-at-home parents who never seem to have a moment to themselves can find time to meditate. Sometimes group meditation is the best solution to the time crunch of the modern life. Gather family and friends that are trusted, meditate together for a few minutes, and see what happens. Kids tend to find it hard to sit still at first, but don’t give up on them. New routines are tough to establish sometimes. If you keep it up over the course of a week or two, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised by the results.

#5. Stay up a little later.

Maybe you can’t make any more time in your schedule. That means the only place of flexibility is when you decided to call it a day and go to bed. Extend that time outward by 10-20 minutes as an experiment to try blending meditation into your life. You may find that it easier to sleep afterward, which gives you more energy to get through the next day successfully.

Meditating as a beginner can be challenging. There are new habits, experiences, and challenges to face. Give it enough time and it can be an amazing experience, even if a schedule seems impossibly busy.

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Meditation Makes You Smarter

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We know that meditation is an effective treatment for stress. Did you know that it is also an effective method of increasing your intelligence? Neuroscientists believe that the brain’s functionality and even its chemistry can be altered even with short-term practices. Just starting the habit of meditating is enough for the brain to begin to change.

The key to unlocking additional intelligence through meditation is through the generation of additional gamma waves. These help to energize brain cells, thereby improving cognitive function. There is even some belief that higher levels of gamma waves can be a proactive prevention for age-related neural degeneration.

Meditation practitioners can process information at a faster, more steady pace. Over time, there is also a greater focus because less reactivity occurs with distractions in the long-term meditator’s environment due to additional resilience that develops over time within their amygdala.

Meditation Is Like a Good Workout for the Brain

Just as the metabolism benefits from a good workout throughout the day, the benefits of meditation are able to do the same for the brain. Even while sleeping, research indicates that the parietal-occipital area of the brain remains more active with gamma waves even while sleeping. It shows that meditation is able to influence the neuroplasticity of the brain.

This means there is hope for many who are struggling with certain mental disorders or the side effects of medication treating certain conditions. Instead of taking a stimulant for ADHD, meditation may help to restore a person’s focus. People who have suffered from a traumatic brain injury may be able to re-learn skills that have been lost. Meditation is even being explored as an option for learning disabilities in children.

Then there’s the added ability of emotional stability. Have you ever tried to read a book while angry? Remember a TV show when you were feeling sad? The rise of emotions corresponds to a falling focus that depletes our learning ability. Meditation helps to stabilize this.

Meditation Helps Us Learn New Skills

The visual cortex, supplementary motor regions, and the prefrontal cortex are all critical components of being able to focus attention on a specific learning task. Meditation not only helps us become more aware of our surroundings, but it also provides us with the ability to recognize that we are increasing our learning capacity.

It’s like running 2 miles on a treadmill. The first time you run that length, most people feel like they’re going to die before they make it. After a couple of weeks, it becomes a lot easier and the initial difficulties aren’t even remembered. Meditation is the same way. It can be difficult to get started at first and the benefits of increased intelligence might not be noticed right away, but it is there.

Day by day, you can increase your focus so that learning becomes easier. With better learning comes better intelligence and that’s how meditation can help starting today.

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Here’s How To Make Sure You Have Time to Meditate

How To Not Turn Meditation Time Into Thinking Time

There are a number of reasons why we’ll say we aren’t meditating throughout the day. The most common reason is that there just isn’t enough time. Forget about the fact that we’ve spent 40 minutes on Facebook and another hour combined on other social networks. We all waste so much time throughout the day and call it “being busy,” but the truth is that we’re busy because we choose to be that way.

Here’s how you can quickly carve 10-20 minutes out to make sure you have time to meditate.

­­#1. Make It First

How many times do you hit the snooze button every morning? If it’s more than once, then you have time for meditation. If you’re getting up immediately, then set the alarm clock to wake up 10 minutes earlier and you’ll start your mind off fresh.

#2. Make It a Priority

We always seem to have time to do the things that we have prioritized as important. It becomes a lot easier to have meditation time when that time is considered a top priority every day.

#3. Make It Comfortable

We are all creatures of comfort. If we’re in a strange environment or sitting in an uncomfortable position, then it becomes very easy to give up and find something else to do.

#4. Make It Yours

One of the easiest ways to start finding time to meditate is to link it to the other tasks you need to complete every day. This way you can begin to make meditation yours. Think about saying “I’ll eat breakfast and then meditate” or “I’ll read this book and then meditate” and it will become part of your life.

#5. Make It Flexible

Maybe you have scheduled regular meditation time, but the demands of life have pulled you away from it. If meditation is flexible enough where you can begin practicing it in different places and at different times, you’ll have a greater chance of success.

#6. Make It Judgment Free

We are often our own worst critics. If you miss a meditation session, then forgive yourself. There is no “bad” in this equation to hold you back.

#7. Make It Excuse Free

How much energy gets spent trying to think up excuses for not doing the things we feel like we should be doing? Try this: write down the excuse you give yourself for not meditating. Then the next day, read that excuse with a fresh perspective. Excuses often sound brilliant in the moment, but a second look at them is often an eye-opener.

#8. Make It Accountable

When we are accountable to report our actions to others, then we are more likely to accomplish our goals. If your doctor is watching your weight, then you’re more likely to watch what you eat. If a friend is checking in on how often you meditate, then you’ll be more likely to meditate.

#9. Make a Checklist

Meditation offers numerous benefits. Make a checklist of all the benefits that you begin to see each week and track your progress. As you notice more success, you’ll be more encouraged to reserve time to meditate.

It’s also important to manage your expectations of what meditation can provide. We often see meditating as an instant solution to our problems, but it takes some time for the long-term benefits to appear. Stay strong, make time for meditation, and enjoy life.

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5 Ways You Can Get Rid of Negative Energy Right Now

get rid of negative energy

A good life is a positive life. Negative thoughts will always come your way, but the energy that comes with that negativity doesn’t have to weigh you down. Here are 5 ways that you can get rid of that negative energy right now.

#1. Forgive First… and Forgive Often

Forgiveness must always be a top priority. It isn’t always other people that must be forgiven either. Sometimes the most difficult choice is to choose self-forgiveness. We are often are own harshest critic and the bonds of anger and bitterness often stay wrapped around us not because of what others have done, but because of our desire to “serve penance” for mistakes made. Let love come into your heart for others and for yourself.

#2. Let Go of Things That Hold You Back

Sometimes we don’t want to let go of things because there are precious memories involved. At other times, good friends may become negative influences and there seems to be no change in sight. If something isn’t nourishing your heart right now, then it is time to let it go. Negative energy will drag you down. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hope that your friends can do the same thing, but sometimes you need to put some space between you and those providing negative energy.

#3. Stop Being Negatively Self-Critical

There’s a heavy sigh. “How could I have been so stupid?” We say these words out loud in frustration. It is fine to be self-critical because that’s how we improve as individuals. Our self-criticism can be constructive or it can be negative. We often choose to abuse ourselves because there seems to be a sort of righteousness in the act, but there is not. When a person berates themselves, it leaves the same negative marks as if they were verbally abusing another person.

Try this instead: “What could I do to change things so this doesn’t happen again?” Some criticism, yet constructive because it encourages different outcomes.

#4. Make Time For Yourself

You deserve at least 5 minutes to do something that you love to do every day. If you can give yourself more time, then do so. Don’t let this be time where you’re watching TV, playing video games, or reading a book. Take time to enjoy the quiet, breathe deeply, and release the negative energies that you feel are pent up inside of you. This is a conscious choice.

#5. Learn to Be Content

Much of the news today is filled with sad stories of people who have made choices because of an overwhelming amount of negative energy that is around them. At the core of negative energy is one piece of common ground: a lack of contentment. Good things and bad things happen every day. If we’re content in our circumstances, then come what may we can find positive lights in some of the darkest corners of life.

Negative energy can release its grip. You can make it let go.

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How Mindfulness Can Enhance Your Happiness

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Mindfulness is an ancient practice that may have its roots in religious studies, but today is used every day in order to find greater focus and inner peace. From the board room to the classroom, millions have embraced mindfulness to enhance their happiness and so can you. Here’s why it is so effective.

#1. Mindfulness stops negative thought cycles.

Have you ever noticed that the first things you remember from almost every life experience tend to be the negative components? It might have been the perfect wedding, but a microphone cord was unplugged. It might have been an A+, but it was 99/100 and that one problem stopped a perfect score. Mindfulness helps to re-train the mind to focus first on the positive instead of the negative.

We already practice mindfulness without realizing it. If you power through those negative emotions, what happens? You remember the joy of a first kiss after the wedding ceremony. You remember the fun you had studying for a test with friends and all the laughter you had. We judge ourselves far too harshly. Mindfulness stops the negative thought cycles by stopping the judging.

#2. You connect on a deeper level.

It’s true that some people are comfortable living by themselves and they avoid social interactions. Yet every person benefits from social interaction. Loneliness is actually a risk factor for numerous diseases because of the stresses that get placed on the human body. With mindfulness, we can connect with others on a deeper level so that the social awkwardness or discomfort has the chance to go away.

#3. Your contentment matters more than you think.

How long did you spend on your morning jog today? How much have you spent for those ultra-high powered workout videos? We often believe that changing one thing we don’t like about life will make us happier, but it’s not always true. Happiness only comes when we’re able to tap into our inner contentment. We must learn to let go of the things we cannot control and place a sense of personal well-being as a higher priority than surface issues.

This can be difficult to do in an age where consumerism equates to happiness. Buying more stuff won’t create prolonged happiness. Being content is the only way.

#4. It’s the attitude of gratitude.

An amazing thing begins to occur as the first three components of mindfulness begin to take shape and form within your inner being. A sense of peace begins to settle on your heart. A weight gets lifted off of your shoulders. A feeling of gratitude begins to take over.

It’s a genuine gratitude that is reflective of the fact that today is a new day. There are new experiences to enjoy. New joys to find. New moments of perfection to explore.

Mindfulness helps us all to slow down and enjoy the moment. Just trying it for a few days could change your world. Happiness can be found right now and it starts with a choice to embrace mindfulness.

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Meditation Tips For Beginners

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Meditation Tips For Beginners

The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. The same is true for the development of meditation skills. Beginners need to start somewhere and build healthy habits so that meditation becomes more beneficial with every passing day. These tips will help to make that happen.

#1. Decide to make it a habit.

If you aren’t committed to including meditation into your daily routine, then it isn’t going to happen. Decide right now that you’re going to make meditation a habit instead of a task to be completed.

#2. Take baby steps.

Any amount of time you spend meditating helps to improve your balance. Some people can meditate for 20 minutes twice a day. Others struggle to make 5 minutes for meditation. Find your comfort zone, keep at it, and increase the amount of time when you can.

#3. Schedule it in.

When you first get started with meditation, you’ll find that many other distractions will demand your time. Ignoring those distractions doesn’t always happen. To establish meditation as a habit, try scheduling in a specific time during your day on your calendar that is 100% dedicated to it. Make it yours no matter what.

#4. Get comfortable.

Meditation doesn’t require a specific pose. Some people transition from prayer to meditation and just remain on their knees. Others sit in a recliner. Some folks meditate while standing in the shower. Find what works for you so that your body feels supported by the practice.

#5. Set clear goals.

Meditation improves when you have something specific to accomplish. Reducing stress is a worthy goal. Improving your emotional stability is a great goal as well. By creating something to achieve, the subconscious is able to better work with the conscious mind to provide you with success.

#6. Find a focus point.

Many beginners tend to focus on their breathing as they start to meditate. Counting breaths and feeling the air flow in and out is good. Slow the breathing down. Feel your body relax. Anything that can help you focus can do the same thing.

#7. Stop worrying.

It’s easy to become frustrated when it feels like meditation time isn’t happening the way it should. Maybe the wind wanders or you feel worries creeping in as you’re trying to de-stress. Don’t worry about finding the perfect way to meditate. Find your own path.

#8. Be content in all things.

There is a lot to appreciate in life. Look for these things and be content with where you are. Good things will still come to you and bad things will still happen from time to time. Being grateful in all things allows us to look for good in any place and that can change the way stress is approached.

#9. Focus on the moment.

There is perfection that can be found in every moment of every day. We often get lost in looking forward to what will happen in the future. The future can wait. The moment right now that you’re in will only experience in this instant. Focus upon it and let it flow over you.

Far too often we focus on the process of meditation instead of the outcome. How you meditate is less important than the purpose of meditating. Set time aside, include these tips as they make sense, and you may just find it is a little easier to settle into a habit of meditating.

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6 Ways Meditation Could Change Your Life

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People choose to meditate for many reasons and there is much research to support the benefits of daily investment in this practice. When we make the decision to meditate, we can actually provide ourselves with a way to give our bodies the rest they need to withstand the problems a day may contain. Here are six ways meditation can make your life change your life.

#1. It helps to reduce stress. You don’t even need to put in a 20 minute meditation session to begin to relieve stress. A few simple deep breaths can be enough for your body to let that tension go. Deep breathing provides extra oxygen to the brain and the body, which then stimulates the remainder of the nervous system. In response, the body creates less of the stress hormone called cortisol.

#2. It can reduce the intensity of pain. All it takes is 4 days of meditation to begin experiencing all of its benefits. When there is more oxygen in the body and you are focusing on one task, such as the rhythm of your breathing, an interesting thing occurs: pain subsides. That doesn’t mean the pain isn’t still there. You’ve just made it less of a priority in your mind, so it discards the discomfort for more important things.

#3. It can lessen worry and fear. What’s the first thing we tell people to do when they’re feeling anxious? “Take a deep breath.” That’s right – meditation is so ingrained in our global culture that we encourage people to meditate without realizing that’s what we’re doing. When worries and fears take over a life, nothing seems pleasant any more. Meditation helps to take control back.

#4. Relationships become healthier. The reason why many relationships are close to failure is because of personal uncertainties. Am I good enough? Should I be loved? What if I’m not loved back? We worry about past decisions or what the future might hold. In the meantime, we ignore what happens right now, in this present time. Meditation helps to put everything into a greater perspective so that if there are issues, they can be seen from multiple perspectives instead of a personal perspective.

#5. It slows the aging process. This could technically fall into the “dealing with stress” category. When there are many stressors affecting the human body, there can be many health consequences. Sleep can be affected. Mood stabilization may disappear. Aches, pains, and even nervous system issues like muscle twitches can begin. All of these negative symptoms age the body. Meditation helps you to rest better, stay calm more often, and this helps to naturally fight the aging process.

#6. It helps with depression. Severe depression must always be treated by a doctor. Any time depression exists for a prolonged period of time should result in a medical consultation. For those moments when you feel sad or lose interest in doing things that you’d normally enjoy doing, then meditation can help. This is because it allows the mind to better process the information it is receiving so that it can counter the issues that are being encountered.

Meditation can help you live a full life. Meditating just a few minutes per day has a transformative power that cannot be ignored. Even if you can only meditate for 5 minutes, do it. When you do, then you’ll be able to experience many of these benefits personally.

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How Mindfulness Meditation Leads To Real Happiness

meditation

Have you ever noticed how so many people spend their day trying to find a way to be happy? Sometimes that happiness can never be found. Here’s a secret that makes finding happiness easier: it’s a choice.

We choose not to be happy. We choose to remain unbalanced. Many times we don’t even realize we are making these choices. Negative attention is better than no attention, so often we’ll choose to be unhappy because at least that allows others to send some attention our way.

This is where mindfulness meditation can really help. Instead of trying to find joy in fleeting moments, mindfulness helps us be able to discover the perfect joy that exists in every moment. Even when the bad things of life strike and pain is everywhere, there are still moments of joy that can be found. Why? Because mindfulness meditation helps us to choose happiness over any other emotion.

How Does Mindfulness Meditation Transform People?

There are thousands of articles online today that talk about how stress, emotional stability, and mental healing can all come from the practice of meditation. These are all wonderful benefits, but they are not benefits that transform people. What mindfulness meditation does is connect your mind to rest of the world.

It’s a practice that Carl Jung once called “individuation.” In essence, it’s the quest to seek out what we each consider to be divine. Many people use individuation as a way to seek out a supernatural being or long lost prophet. It’s a way to connect the spiritual side with the physical side so that every moment of the physical and spiritual worlds can eventually be experienced.

Individuation doesn’t have to be the pursuit of a deity. It can also be the pursuit of your own local awareness. Focus on the closest window next to you right now. Is it cold? Firm? Warm? Now go beyond these sensations. How does the firmness of the window feel against your fingertips? Does the cold of the window send chills through your nervous system? Then do not allow the moment to stop. Choose to keep experiencing it.

That’s What Leads To Choosing Happiness

In order for an athlete to become a professional, they must put in thousands of hours of practice to achieve their goals. Mindfulness meditation is not going to lead to happiness overnight. It isn’t a magic solution to all of life’s problems. What it does do is provide exposure to the mechanisms that are necessary for mindfulness to begin growing roots so it becomes easier to choose happiness over time.

If you’re ready to get started, then today is as good a day as any to explore mindfulness meditation. Take a few moments right now, close your eyes, and let the outside world fade away. What do you hear? What do you feel? Now take these feelings and find the perfection that exists within them. In doing so, you’ll be taking the first steps toward a life that is filled with real happiness.

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How To Make Meditation A Daily Habit

 

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It’s no secret that meditation has a lot of benefits and can help you with many aspects of your life. That’s why it is important to include meditation in your daily activities. A lot of people have the misconception that they have to dedicate hours a day in order to be good at meditation, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You don’t have to take up your entire day or go out and purchase hundreds of dollars in equipment; all you need to do is take a few minutes of time each day and meditate in a quiet and relaxing area.  Let’s talk about some of the ways that you can include meditation into your daily schedule.

One of the things you’re going to want to do when you’re first starting out with meditation is to pace yourself. You don’t need to spend hours meditating, in fact its best that you ease into it because you can certainly burn yourself out if you try to spend too much time meditating. It’s best to keep it short and start out with 5 minute sessions to begin with. Just like lifting weights, you’re going to want to start out slow and work your way up. The quality of your meditation always is better than the quantity of time you spend in meditation.

It’s very important that you set a schedule you’ll be able to stick to. Put 5 or 10 minutes aside each day to have your meditation session. You don’t have to have your meditation session at the exact same time every day, but it’s best that you try to keep it generally at the same time of day. After you wake up or after you get home from work is a great time of day to base your meditation schedule around. As long as you’re making an effort to meditate once a day, at around the same time you are doing a good job.

A lot of people believe that they need to have a special room, candles and other meditation equipment to have a successful meditation session, but this is untrue. You don’t have to setup an elaborate area for meditation; it just needs to be somewhere quiet. You have the option to sit on the floor or on a chair while you meditate; there are no rules as long as you’re comfortable. Try to find an area that doesn’t have a lot of noise and is free from distractions.

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7 Reasons Why Your Mondays Can Be Better With Meditation

meditation mondays

The alarm goes off on Monday morning. You groan, hit the snooze button, and lie in bed with a bad feeling in your gut. You are dreading this day. It’s more than just the realization that the two days of freedom from work you just experienced. Professional responsibilities bring stress, anxiety, anger, and even sadness. This roller coaster of emotions, combined with the feelings of dread that Mondays can produce serves no good purpose.

That’s why meditation as part of your morning routine can be so beneficial. It does more than just take you off of that roller coaster. It helps to make Mondays happier. Here’s how.

#1. You get to collect your thoughts. Meditation slows the mind and body down so that the real issues of the day can be faced. The flood of worry and fear that grips the mind is difficult to navigate, which means the core issues are never really addresses. Meditation is the GPS that lets you get through that flood of negative emotion.

#2. You can forget about Monday. Meditation will always take someone to a place they don’t expect. Instead of worrying about what is going to happen on Monday [or any other day], an emphasis on gratitude, contentment, or loving-kindness can be achieved.

#3. It provides a barrier. Taking care of your initial anxiety can help to make a Monday better, but what about the worries that you will face throughout the day? Meditation helps to create a barrier for the mind so that it can better resist anxiety, unhealthy fear, and other negative emotions that can be bothersome so you can focus on the task at hand.

#4. There is a moment to speak with yourself. Life gets pretty busy today. We all get focused on the tasks that need to be completed more than anything else. In the hustle and bustle of life, we can even lose touch with our core being. Meditation forces you to slow down, breathe deeply, and listen to who you really are.

#5. You can remember more things. How distracting is your environment? From televisions to social media to kids screaming in your ear, there are many things that can take the mind’s focus away from the task at hand. Meditation gives the mind a tool to help filter out these distractions so that the critical information can be better retained and recalled.

#6. It can help with hypertension. A busy lifestyle often means a high blood pressure reading. The benefits of meditation can start to be experienced in just 4 days. Nitric oxide, which helps the blood to flow better, begins to build up from that point in time until it effectively reduces blood pressure in 90-120 days for many people.

#7. You can see perfection. Meditation doesn’t look for a long-term view. It seeks to find perfect moments that exist around every person right now. With regular practice, you can begin to experience these small miracles of time yourself.

How long should you be meditating? A goal of 20 minutes is what many set, but even just 2 minutes of meditation can be beneficial. Incorporate time into your routine every day for meditation and you may just find that Mondays will no longer be a day to be dreaded.

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