A frequently asked question I get is what particular tool or strategy is the best for smoothing the demands and stress of daily living. By far, the best tool, and one that I have been using for over 30 years, is daily meditation. Taking only 15 – 20 minutes per day, meditation’s physical and psychological benefits are numerous and well documented. Easy and effective, there are many ways to meditate…read on for the “how to”…what have you got to lose but your stress?
- Locate and seat yourself in a quiet space where you will not be disturbed.
- Seat yourself in the chair with your butt pushed against its back, feet slightly forward of your knees, and your hands rested either on the arms of the chair or in your lap.
- Let your muscles relax as best you can. Don’t try to relax. Trying is work, not relaxation. Just assume a passive attitude in which you focus upon your breathing. Allow whatever happens to happen. If you feel relaxed, fine; if not, accept that too.
- Next, close your eyes and repeat in your mind the word one every time you inhale and the word two every time you exhale. Do not consciously alter or control your breathing; breathe regularly. Continue to do this for twenty minutes.
- Lastly, when you stop meditating, give your body a chance to become readjusted to normal routines. Open your eyes gradually, first focusing on one object in the room, then focusing upon several objects. Take several deep breaths. Then stretch while seated and, when you feel ready, stand and stretch. Since your blood pressure and heart rate are decreased while meditating, rising from the chair too quickly might make you dizzy and is not recommended.
Although you shouldn’t experience any problems, if you feel uncomfortable or dizzy, or if you experience any unpleasant images, just open your eyes and stop meditating. While these situations are rare, they occasionally do occur. Simply try again later that day or the next.
To fully maximize the benefit of this surprisingly powerful technique, practice it daily. As well, doing it twice a day, immediately upon arising and then right before dinner, will give you added benefit.