5 Easy Ways to Make Meditation Part of Your Daily Routine

Daily Meditation Routine

Did you know that your daily routine can become part of the way you meditate? Many of us tend to do the same things every day as we get ready for work, eat lunch, or drive home along the same route after a stressful day. By changing how we view these routine items so that we’re more mindful of what is going on, it becomes possible to create meditation moments throughout the day that can create a barrier against stress.

Here are 5 ways that you can begin to make that happen right now!

#1. Use cleansing as a meditation ritual. Whether you wash your face in the morning or you have a shower at the same time, take this moment as a way to start off your day with meditation. Let the warmth of the water surround you. Take notice of the soap or cleansers and how they smell. Feel the smoothness of the lotion as it glides on your skin.

#2. Take moments to breathe. What gets so many of us in trouble during the day is forgetfulness. It’s not that we forgot a deadline or the gallon of milk we were asked to pick up. We forget to breathe! There are numerous moments throughout the day where you can just take a couple moments to enjoy a deep breath. Let the experience overwhelm you and relax your muscles. You might just find more patience to tap into when you do this on a regular basis.

#3. Lunch is perfect for meditation. There’s a good chance that you’re practicing mindfulness during lunch without even realizing it. Great flavors and a wonderful atmosphere that allows you to be quiet and contemplative will create an enormous level of personal satisfaction… and that translates into relaxation!

#4. Take a walk to decompress. Exercise helps to reduce stress, so imagine what combining mindfulness and exercise could be like! Take a brisk walk and enjoy the movement in your muscles as your feet hit the ground. Feel the brush of a leaf against your arm or the grass beneath your bare feet. Let your thoughts wander, send them away if you wish, and focus adding a breath to each footstep for an incredible experience.

#5. Check your speech. It’s easy to have a sharp retort. It’s not so easy to speak words that can empower others to do something great! The tongue really is a double-edged sword, but a moment of mindfulness can make the decision to create kindness much easier to make. It isn’t just to other people that you can practice this either – negative self-talk can be just as damaging as if someone else spoke those words to you.

With so many ways to add perfect little moments of meditation to your daily routine, it will become easier to incorporate mindfulness into life. Try these five methods today and you will see some immediate changes begin to develop that include more patience and the ability to withstand stress in better, healthier ways.

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Could Slow Reading Be a Form of Meditation?

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Have you ever noticed how a good book can relax you? You settle in for a few minutes of reading and before you know it, the entire night has almost passed you by! What is unique about a slow read is that your mind is solely focused on the words being read and how that relates to the pictures that are created in your mind. You know what else creates that same effect? Meditation.

Is Reading a Good Book the Same As Meditating?

If you’re trying to read for speed, then your mind is not solely focused on the book or ebook that is in front of you. You’re trying to get through the book for some specific purpose and that purpose is at the forefront of your mind, driving the experience. Speed equates to stress and that means meditating benefits are ignored for the benefit of obtaining speed.

For a slow read, however, your mind is focused on every word that is observed and then given comprehension. It’s like meditating with your eyes closed and choosing to focus on a single idea, thought, or experience. Your mind gets tunnel vision, closing out the racing thoughts and other problems that may be surrounding you at any given moment because the next word is powerful and profound.

Slow reading does more than just break the chains that the outside world tries to put onto you. It helps develop the skill of concentration and this deepens a person’s ability to actively listen in any given situation.

How Can You Take Advantage of Slow Reading?

The first and most critical component of using slow reading as a form of meditation is to eliminate all of the distractions that might be around you. Turn off your phone completely because you’ll hear the vibrations, even if you’re upstairs and the phone is downstairs. You’ll want to turn off your computer as well because even with notifications turned off or the volume muted, you will be tempted to check your Facebook page in the middle of a good read.

A slow read also helps with reading comprehension skills. The mind must be fully focused not just on each word, but each part of each word in order to fully understand the nuance and meaning the author is attempting to put into the text. Books also have more formal language than what you’ll find on social media sites like Twitter, which means a complete understanding of language can be developed by the mind. Instead of reading abbreviations to understand them, you’ll start converting the abbreviations to their full meaning in your head before understanding them.

It’s a subtle difference, but an important one. It means a complete understanding is desired by the mind! That desire will fuel you in a number of personal and professional ways, from feeling less stress to being able to read and understand more effectively.

If you’re struggling with a routine that includes meditation, then try slow reading as an alternative. The benefits are similar to what meditation can provide and you’ll be able to discipline your mind to a new way of thinking. In return, you might just find that life itself can be much more exciting!

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5 Ways Students Can Benefit From Meditation

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Whether you’re just entering high school or you’re a semester away from earning a college degree, meditation can become an integral part of your life. When practiced on a regular basis, students have shown to have higher performance levels that are consistent and a number of additional benefits that can help them make the grade. If you’re ready to increase your focus, then consider these 5 essential benefits that meditation could bring into your life.

#1. Meditation Naturally Increases IQ Levels

Students who regularly practice meditation for at least 15 minutes per day have an overall increase in their IQ levels. It isn’t just intelligence that increases when meditation is practiced either. Students who meditate regularly also have higher levels of creative thinking and practical awareness as well. This means students can have a better focus on the materials that are presented to them and then retain more of the information for future use.

#2. Meditation Causes Stress Levels Go Down

Studying for a mid-term exam can be a highly stressful experience. It’s also very stressful to try to navigate the maze of hallways that come with a first day of high school. For students who regularly meditate, however, the stress levels they experience every day are remarkably lower when compared to students who do not meditate at all. With less stress affecting the mind, students also have a higher level of alertness and are able to increase their concentration levels on certain tasks.

#3. Meditation Helps With Academic Progress

Students who can meditate twice per day during the school year can show an amazing amount of progress at their grade level in a short amount of time. In just 3 months, it has been shown that students who meditate more than once per day can achieve more than 40% improvement in their academic progress. That is 30% more progress than students who don’t meditate at all. Students who just meditate once per day fall into the mid-range of academic progress in these groups.

#4. Meditation Creates Stability

Students who regularly meditate tend to be healthier overall and have fewer incidents of aggressive behavior in school. It is believed this occurs because the act of meditation helps to calm the mind and relieve anxiety and the typical pressures that school can provide.

#5. Students Who Meditate Are More Confident

When students meditate regularly, they feel more confident because they can see their mental skills increase over time. This evidence translates into higher levels of self-esteem and emotional control as well over the course of just a semester, even if students had never tried meditation before. Students were also able to relate to feelings and emotions much more effectively.

Meditation isn’t just for adults. Students of any age can immediately benefit from daily meditation as well! With amazing results being seen in just 90 days, the time to begin meditating is now.

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The Art of Being: Finding What Meditation Is All About

walking at the beach

Where is it that you find the highest levels of inner peace? Could it be possible to meditate while taking a stroll around the neighborhood or even at the park with the kids? Many people have this vision of meditation as sitting in a dark, quiet room and adopting a certain pose. Mantras are hummed, yoga mats are utilized, and there’s an expectation that a mind must be calm and quiet in order for someone to be truly centered.

In practicality, however, none of this needs to happen. Meditation is about what’s right for you, not what others tell you it must be. It is something that is done in any given moment when you pursue inner peace, wherever you happen to be. We often say that we “practice” meditation, but the reality is that we simply meditate to bring joy and enlightenment in whatever form that might be.

Meditation Is the Art of Being Aware

When was the last time you went outside, took off your shoes, and just enjoyed the feeling of grass underneath your feet? If you live near a beach, when was the last time you dug your toes into the sand to feel the warmth of the Earth as the waves naturally relaxed your body? Meditation isn’t always about scheduling in moments to search for peaceful perfection. Sometimes it is about finding the perfection that comes in every moment that surrounds you instead.

How can these perfect little moments be discovered in the world around us? It is in the aspects of life that bring us the greatest joy. There is perfection in the laugh of a child swinging high in a swing. There is perfection in the simplicity of a leaf beginning to turn a golden yellow as summer turns to fall.

This means that meditation is more about your perspective than it is anything else. This doesn’t mean that chanting or humming or sitting cross-legged on the floor is a bad thing. It isn’t and thousands of people use these meditation techniques every day with great success. The point being made here is that they are just “techniques.” Your job is to discover the techniques that work best for you!

What Is Required of Meditation?

The only real requirement there is for meditation is that you must be present in every given moment where you’re attempting to find joy or enlightenment. You must let the experiences of the world soak into your soul and replace those racing thoughts that try to keep you awake at night. The worries of the future are slowly and surely replaced with the joy in each perfect moment that is experienced.

This means your focus, your attitude, and your contentedness all have influences over the quality of your meditation. Are you content with the home you have or the salary you make? Do you take the good out of any situation and always find a way to rejoice? Or does your mindset tend to stray toward the negative instead?

Meditation builds you and those around you up instead of trying to tear you down. Find your perfect moments today and the joy that it brings. When you do, you might just find yourself meditating!

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3 Key Strategies To Create Consistent Meditation Practices

meditating by water

One of the biggest struggles that people face when first starting out with meditation is to create consistency. In the hustle and bustle of life, it is easy to forget to do things that haven’t become part of the daily habit. The only problem with forgetting one meditation session is that you’ve actually started on the first day of a new habit… of not meditating!

Beginners are often targeted when it comes to creating consistency within a meditation routine, but even folks who are advanced in this practice can find it rather easy to get out of the practice and then struggle to get back into it. If you’re ready to create a more consistent experience, then here are the 3 key things you need to do to make it happen for you.

1. Don’t Make Things To Complicated

The easiest mistake to make and one we’re all guilty of is to make things complicated when they’re really quite simple. It’s a symptom of living in a society that focuses on instant gratification. When you make time to meditate, you should already be meditating like a master, right? Wrong.

Instead of trying to force yourself into a small box with a large goal, give yourself a large box with a small goal instead. Begin by setting a goal to meditate at some point during the day. When you achieve this, set a more specific goal of meditating for at least 10 minutes. When you achieve that, then begin progressing your goals toward more and more specific items and you’ll end up achieving your results not instantly, but faster than you might believe.

2. Find Consistency, Even If Only In One Place

After a busy day at work, it can be nearly impossible to quiet down the mind to meditate. On the other hand, the craving for coffee first thing in the morning can also overwhelm the senses! Instead of sitting still, trying to achieve these huge goals without success, look for consistency in other places. Did you just meditate at the same today as you did yesterday? Were you able to get in some breathing exercises? Did your mind quiet – even just a little?

It is more important to meditate daily, even with poor results, then to not meditate at all. That’s why consistency is really important!

3. Keep Calm and Carry On

When the mind won’t quiet down and you can’t feel the stress dissipating, it can become extremely frustrating to meditate. When that happens a couple days in a row, the anger can begin to mount. Once that happens, it can be nearly impossible to get yourself into a positive mindset and begin the meditation process!

If you feel thoughts come in, deal with them. If you focus on an external noise, let your mind drift into the particulars of that noise. Let yourself become adaptable in your meditation practices instead of rigid and soon enough, you just might find that you’re practicing advanced meditation concepts even though there are distractions about you!

With these three key factors in play, you can begin creating a healthier, more consistent routine that includes meditation. Start structuring your routine today and begin to see results!

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Having Trouble Starting Meditation? Here’s How You Can Start!

Woman Writing in Note Book

It’s never really easy to start meditating, especially if you’ve just decided to start taking it up. It can become very disheartening to expect mental bliss, but then sit down and discover as much mental chaos within your mind after meditating than before. If you’re having trouble getting started or are struggling to find success, here are some ways that you can begin easing into the practice.

#1. Keep a journal of each meditation session. One of the fastest ways to eliminate difficulties in meditation is to discover patterns within your practices that you may not be noticing while you’re in the thick of it. Keep a journal of each session and note the struggles and the successes you’ve experienced. At the end of the week, go back through the journal to look for any patterns of difficulty that you may be able to alter.

#2. Schedule time for yourself every day outside of your relaxation time. Instead of forcing a choice between a favorite television show or time meditating, try to find time for both outside of your normal work day. Let’s face it – with 8 hours of work and 8 hours of sleep, you’ve still got another 8 hours to fit some extras in, even if you have some OT to work or need a little extra sleep.

#3. Keep an open mind. One of the biggest obstacles to meditation is our own preconceived notions. This can be both positive and negative! When we expect too much from meditation, then we have a need for instant gratification in our results. If we don’t see meditation in a positive way, then there won’t be a 100% commitment to the meditation session.

#4. Focus on your breathing above anything else. If you can just focus on one thing, then focus on your breathing. Ignore all of those other visualization exercises and just breathe in… and then breathe out. Repeat. And then keep repeating. If you cannot get your mind quiet, then maybe practice some visualizations that work well for you. If not, then just work on relaxing your muscles, release the tension from your shoulders, and enjoy a peaceful moment.

#5. Allow for transition times. If you have 30 minutes for a break, then plan for a 20 minute meditation session. The mind needs a little time to get back into the rhythm of a busy day and when you’re feeling great, you don’t usually want to stop feeling that way, right? Slowly open your eyes, restore some movement to your limbs, and allow the experience to stay fresh in your mind.

#6. Your way is the perfect way. Despite all of the advice that you can find, your way to practice meditation is the best way. If something isn’t working for you have a few efforts at it, then try something else.

If you’re tired of the stress and want to make some changes, then you shouldn’t have to worry about how you meditate. Use this guide to help develop your own methods so that you can create your own perfect way to meditate and then use it every day.

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Meditation Helps You Choose a Calm, Happy Life

meditating at park

Does it seem like stress and anxiety threaten to flood your soul every day? Would you choose to live a different life if you could? Although modern lifestyles demand a lot of energy and the ability to cope with unheard of amounts of stress, the good news is that meditation can make your mind and body become more resilient to the demands being placed on it. Simply taking time out of every day to breathe, relax, and focus can create the foundation of a calmer, happier life!

Which Meditation Type Would Work Best For You?

Any type of meditation can provide a mind with more strength every day. If you’re able to work on the specific type of meditation that you need, however, you’ll be able to maximize the results that your efforts can bring. Here are the four basic types of meditation to consider adding to your life starting right now

1. Awareness cultivation. By being more mindful of the environment around you, a certain level of empathy begins to develop. As your breath enters a rhythmic cycle that enhances your ability to relax, your mind will begin to wander. Experience these memories in a tactile way, but be conscious of difficult memories that could trigger a negative response. Push these away, focus on the good, and you’ll be able to use meditation to rejoice.

2. Focus. One of the most common reasons why people avoid meditation is because they feel like they can’t focus their thoughts like so many people say they should be able to do. This is just one type of meditation – if it isn’t working for you right now, then try another method! Using chants, mantras, or even music or guided meditation, streamline your focus onto one thing and keep it there.

3. Transcending. This is a more advanced form of meditation. In this method, you’re looking to eliminate all aspects of yourself as you meditate. Instead of focusing on your own worries or even your own descriptors of events, just be in this moment and allow it to exist as it is with you. Mantras help to bring about this form, but don’t focus on the mantra. Just let your mind go.

4. Energizing. Deep breaths naturally relax the body and restore its energy levels. If you find stress is bothering you, even when you try to meditate, then focus on this method first. It will help to calm you down and allow you to then proceed to one of the other methods. It’s also fine to just stay with this method to feel energized on a daily basis.

How Often Should Meditation Be Practiced?

You can realistically meditate twice a day without developing a resistance to its benefits. The more you meditate, in fact, the greater the benefits are likely to be! A good place to start is one meditation session for 15-30 minutes per day. Put it into your calendar if necessary so you reserve the time. Advance to two 15-minute sessions per day for deeper calm as you can.

With regular meditation, your mind can perform regular maintenance. Choose the method of meditation that works best for you, commit to it, and you’ll soon find that the stresses of each day won’t seem so bad!

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How You Can Overcome Common Obstacles to Mindfulness

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The benefits of mindfulness are clear, but it is also one of the most difficult paths to follow. There are a number of roadblocks that get in the way, causing distractions from the peace and joy that can come with an increased awareness. Once negative circumstances happen, it’s easy to begin following a new journey! By paying attention to these common obstacles to mindfulness, you’ll be able to enjoy more than just the good life. It’ll be a great life!

#1. There Isn’t Enough Effort

Mindfulness can be very difficult. It takes ongoing effort every day in order for this specific skill to develop. It can be very discouraging to practice mindfulness at first because it feels like there is no progress being made. When you make the conscious effort to stay in control, even when you feel like you’re out of control, then eventually it will get easier.

#2. There Are Too Many Distractions

There are always going to be distractions during your journey toward mindfulness. Plan ahead of time what you’ll do if the negative thoughts begin creeping in. You can also proactively work to eliminate common distractions like email notifications so that your time won’t be disturbed.

#3. Expectations Are Unrealistic

Even though we live in a society that expects instant results, most of the time people need to pay their dues in order to taste success. That’s very true with mindfulness! Some days will seem incredibly slow and there’s nothing wrong with that. Instead of being upset about a lack of progress, try being content with the progress you do experience.

#4. Giving Up

When there is a roadblock in the way, it’s very easy to throw your hands up in the air in frustration and just walk away from the journey. A roadblock is a challenge, nothing more. You can rise to meet this challenge, just as you meet other challenges every single day.

#5. There Are Conflicting Goals

Mindfulness is a wonderful goal to have, but it can also create conflict with some of your other goals. This creates a conflict that ultimately manifests itself in stress. Goals are intended to make people happy, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of mindfulness or your peace of mind. If you’re experiencing a conflict, then it’s time to reexamine the goals you’ve got.

#6. The Eyes Are Looking Behind

The reward of mindfulness isn’t the final destination. It isn’t what has happened in the past either. The reward of mindfulness is the journey that you undertake every day. Meeting goals might bring temporary satisfaction, but that is all. With mindfulness, there is a curve of growth that allows people to be a little better every single day.

#7. You’re Just Done

Sometimes it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. You’d rather do anything than practice mindfulness at that moment… and there’s nothing wrong with that. Being mindful means being aware of what you and your body needs as well. Just make sure to come back when you are in a good space and you’ll be able to conquer any obstacle.

There are common obstacles that can get in the way of mindfulness, but these challenges can be defeated. They will make you stronger. When that happens, you’ll find that the benefits of mindfulness won’t be very far behind!

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7 Things You Can Do Today to Increase Your Happiness

Woman on tree swing smiling

Almost everyone would love to be happier. Luckily, science exists to help us figure out how to become both healthier and happier. These seven things are backed by scientific evidence proving that they can add to your level of happiness.

1. Get Up and Get Moving

Exercise can have a significant effect on your feelings of happiness and well-being. A recent study has proven that working out can help to boost your mood and reduce your anxiety levels as well. The “runner’s high” is often talked about, and many people suggest that exercise can be addictive.  This new study has shown that not only can exercise provide an immediate mood boost, the relief may be effective long-term. Some researchers have even suggested that psychologists, medical doctors, and counselors write exercise prescriptions that include advice for getting started and daily doses.

2. Get More Sleep

Sleep helps your body and mind repair themselves from the stresses of the day. Getting enough sleep is vital to your ability to focus and be productive. Now it turns out that scientists have discovered that getting the proper amount of sleep is vital to your happiness as well. As it turns out, taking that afternoon nap may make you less prone to suffering from negative emotions such as sadness, anger, and fear. #

3. Get Outside

As it turns out, spending some more time outside may be critical to becoming happier, but where you spend that time also matters. In fact, in a study conducted by the University of Sussex found that participants reported substantially higher levels of happiness when they spent time outdoors in natural environments than in urban environments. If possible, head to the beach, as these areas increase happiness by the highest amounts, followed by mountains, forests, and then farms.

4. Volunteer

Volunteering your time to help others can make you happier. According to a German study published in 2004, people became less happy when their opportunity to volunteer was taken away. This shows that volunteering your time in order to help improve the lives of others in a significant way can help to improve your own by making you naturally happier.

5. Smile (and Think Positive Thoughts)

The simple act of smiling can make you feel happier, but you can boost this effect by thinking positive thoughts to back it up. It’s not enough to simply fake a smile – this can actually make your mood worse according to a study led by researchers at Michigan State University. Instead, you need to back your smile up with positive thoughts or memories in order to improve your mood. This is particularly true for women – the study found that women who faked their smiles were more significantly harmed by the act than men.

6. Meditate

You’ve probably heard that meditation can help improve your focus and reduce your stress levels. As it turns out, meditation can also make you happier. A recent study has shown that by practicing mindful meditation for eight weeks can make measurable changes in your brain that effect how you feel about yourself, improve your memory, and lower your stress levels. In the study, participants practiced meditation exercises for an average of 27 minutes every day in order to achieve these measurable results.

7. Be Grateful

Remembering everything that you have to be thankful for can help increase your happiness as well. If you are married or in a relationship, sharing with your partner all the reasons you are thankful for them each day can actually improve your relationship as well. According to this recent study, making a point of paying attention to the things you are grateful for each day can actually improve your mood over the long term.

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5 Ways A Daily Meditation Practice Can Change Your Life

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Many people move through their lives with a feeling of inadequacy. In spite of everything we do to support our families, maintain our households, and keep track of our relationships, our negative self-talk constantly repeats to us that we’re still not doing enough or not good enough. We constantly remind ourselves of our shortcomings instead of replaying our strengths.

This tendency toward self-negativity has a detrimental effect on almost every aspect of our lives. As our self-esteem falls, so does our happiness. We become less productive at work and at home, and we begin to isolate ourselves from friends and family. Unfortunately, this only feeds more into our negative self-talk. The less productive and more withdrawn we are, the more our negative inner voice crows in victory that it was right. So how can we break the cycle?

Meditation can help us calm the inner turmoil. While it may seem like such a simple step, meditation has been used for centuries by people all over the world to improve the quality of their life. Read on for five ways adding just 10 minutes of meditation to your daily routine can really change your life for the better and increase your happiness.

1.  A Better Start

If you’re like most people, your alarm goes off at the last possible moment before you have to get up, dressed, and rushed out the door. This results in an almost panicked start to your day as you hurry to try to remember everything you need as you rush out the door, skipping breakfast because you’re already late. By taking the time to meditate in the morning, you can give yourself a far more focused start. Though you’ll likely still feel like you have to drag yourself out of bed, you’ll have 10 minutes to breathe, focus, and center your intentions for the day ahead. This can make you feel more in control of everything that happens, instead of having the impression that life is something that happens to you.

2. Be More Positive

Spending ten minutes a day focusing on the positive when you wake up can help you recognize the positive events throughout your day. When you meditate on sending positive, compassionate, and loving energy to others, it becomes far easier to recognize this energy when it comes your way. Additionally, it has a tendency to make you have a more positive outlook throughout your day. “Energy flows where attention goes,” they say. So spend some time focusing your attention on the positive in order to attract more positivity your way.

3. Be More Confident

All that focus and positivity has a side effect: you’ll feel more confident. Those negative voices are remarkably susceptible to the positive effects of meditation. As you begin to become accustomed to your new routine, you’ll find that those negative voices will be far quieter. After all, when you’re starting your day in a more focused way and seeing more of the positive influences in your life, it can be far easier to see the positive traits in yourself as well.

4. Less Anxiety, More Fun

As your meditation practice begins to help you view yourself more positively, you’ll begin to care less and less about what others think of you. You’ll be freer to be yourself in social situations, making you more relaxed and fun when you’re hanging out with friends. You won’t worry so much about heading up on stage for karaoke or out on to the dance floor, because you’ll be far too busy having fun.

5. Feel More Connected

In the beginning, most people find meditation extremely difficult. Calming your mind for 10 minutes seems like an insurmountable task. However, the more you practice meditation, the more you can find value in that internal dialogue. When you’re listening to yourself without distractions, you become more connected to who you truly are. This gives you insights as to the actions you can take that will help you be truly happy in a meaningful way.

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