Meditation can help you deal with life’s ups and downs, mostly because the ups and down don’t seem so severe when you have a regular meditation practice. This came to mind this morning because my husband sent me a link to a Time Magazine article that how how meditation helped the author deal with our nation’s current political situation.
Meditation is by no means a cure-all for our era of mean tweets and mindless tribalism. I’ve been meditating for years, and yet during one of the Trump-Clinton presidential debates I stress-ate a family-size bag of popcorn. I didn’t realize what I’d done until I looked down to see my feet surrounded by stray kernels. Nevertheless, I really do believe meditation can help you survive this season of discontent and division.
And then I had The TODAY Show on and Maria Shriver did a story on how mindfulness is becoming mainstream and helping to improve people’s health and well-being.
While the benefits of meditation are becoming more well known, most people don’t know how to start a practice. The great thing is that you will reap the benefits of meditation with a regular practice of even just five minutes a day. Here’s a simple way to get started.
5 Steps for a 5-Minute Meditation
- Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed.
- Sit in a comfortable position with a nice, tall spine and your feet flat on the floor. Gently tilt your chin toward your chest, just until comfy. Place your hands where they’re most comfortable, your lap, legs, palms up or down, whatever works. Close your eyes if that is comfortable, or gaze gently downward with a soft focus.
- Begin with your normal breath. Become more aware of your breath, breathing in and out of your nostrils. Feel your belly rise on your inhale and contract back to your spine on your exhale. Begin to extend your exhales a bit longer than your inhales. Keep this “sweet and steady” breath throughout your practice. It should be effortless and natural.
- You can either continue with this breath or choose to silently repeat a mantra to yourself. A simple mantra is to repeat “So” on the inhale and “Hum” on the exhale. Many people find that mantras help them to stay more focused on their practice. Don’t worry if stray thoughts come into your mind. They come into everyone’s mind. Just notice a thought when it pops into your mind, let it go, and go back to focusing on your breath or your mantra.
- When your time is up (Check out the free Insight Meditation Timer app available in Google Play Store or iTunes Store.), take your time coming out of meditation. Drop the mantra, gently begin to gaze around the room, move slowly. Then go about the rest of your day.
That’s it! Yes, it is that easy. You can do this at home, at school, at work, anywhere. (I meditate while in planes all the time.) I am hosting a 28-Day Meditation Experience beginning February 1st. It’ll be via a private Facebook group, so you can live anywhere in the world and have any schedule, yet still participate. Check out the link for details and to sign up. You might want to also check out some of the other blogs I’ve written on meditation: How to Start a Meditation Practice, Six Myths About Meditation, Perceived Barriers to Beginning a Meditation Practice, What Type of Meditation is Right for You, and Silence is Important for Your Health.
“May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.” – Rochelle
About the Author
Rochelle Barcellona is an animal-loving, family-and-friends-embracing, yoga-meditation-and-ayurveda-teaching, happy red-headed yogi who owns Nourish Mind Body & Spirit in Northern California. You may learn more about Rochelle here. Rochelle may be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and 916-353-5200.
(Photo of Rochelle courtesy of Bella Barcellona Photography.)