So in January I shared I was embarking on a 30 Day Meditation Challenge. So many people have asked me online and off how it went that I felt compelled to share an update.
The simple answer is….
IT WENT GREAT. In fact, it’s still going great.
Though I haven’t quite found the disciplined to do deep mediation daily, I have managed to carve out time for what I like to call mediation breaks each day. These little breaks may be 3-5 minutes or 15-20 minutes depending on what I have going but they have been tremendously powerful. They really help me reset both mentally and physically. This simple conscious act of just focusing on my breathing and letting my mind declutter for a period of time, however long that is, has made a tremendous difference in my life, my productivity and how I’ve found myself handling the daily stresses and challenges of life and work.
My little 30 Day experiment has turned into a ten month journey. I am by no means an expert and I am sure I do a lot of things wrong when it comes to my meditation breaks or my more prolonged meditation sessions, but I don’t care. What I am doing is working for me and that’s all that matters.
Since so many people have asked me about what I’m doing during these mediation breaks, let me share a few of my strategies. Perhaps they can help you.
I often spend a few minutes in between calls or meetings with my eyes closed and do some deep breathing for 2-3 minutes. The restorative powers of oxygenating the blood is incredibly powerful and even just doing it for a few minutes seems to reset everything for me.
When I sense a stressful situation is taking hold, I get up and change my environment. Mediation doesn’t always have to be in some cross legged position humming “Ohmm”. In fact I can honestly say I have no desire to do this anyway. But when faced with something that is draining me, like a stressful situation, frustrating phone call, etc. I go outside and let nature be my meditative reset. I just look up at the sky and let my mind wander. Or I’ll stare at the beautiful flowers my wife has planted around the yard. Sometimes I will just simply close my eyes, listen to the birds and let the wind tussle my hair or the let the sun warm my face. I do something to change my environment and get away if only for a few minutes from whatever is nagging at me. No matter what, I do I alway maintain focus on consciously breathing.
Whenever possible, I may simply get up from my desk and lay down, close my eyes and focus on my breathing. Sometime these little sessions turn into 5-15 minutes of just focusing on my breathing and when I come back from this little mental sabbatical I find myself restored, reenergized and ready to take on my next challenge. Who needs Red Bull when you can do this yourself eh?
When I’m faced with a problem, before I immediately dive in, I give myself permission to take a moment and simply reset. I use my breathing again to reset my mental state and clear out anything that may be distracting me in any way from tackling what needs to be tackled. Sometimes just a few huge deep breaths and a silent reminder to myself that “I got this” works wonders.
I have found these little meditation breaks have worked wonders for me. I feel less stressed. I am way more chilled out throughout the day. I am less likely to jump to anger if something disappoints me. And most of all, I just feel healthier, I’m sleeping better, I’m more relaxed and overall noticeably more happy. Not a bad side effect if you ask me.
My meditation journey continues and I suspect will for sometime to come. I plan, over the holidays, to do a lot of reading and researching into the art of deeper mediation as I am fascinated with what it can do to unlock the deeper regions of the brain. In the mean time, I’ve found a pretty nice little cadence that is working wonders for me. If you’re interested in finding your own sense of balance, give it a try. I bet you’ll be surprised where your journey will take you.
P.S. I did for The Ripple Effect Podcast with Steve Harper that talks a bit more about this. Take a listen will ya?
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