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I often mention the importance of being mindful and how it is the key to defeating negative thoughts and living in the stress-free moment. But I realize that it’s not always clear how to learn to be mindful of your thoughts when you’re not used to doing so.
Well the answer is actually pretty simple: you practice being mindful of your thoughts through meditation.
Meditation is an amazing skill to have which will help you throughout all aspects of your life. At its essence it is practicing mindful observing. Its just you and your thoughts and the present moment, and it’s a habit you can build by practicing everyday.
Don’t worry, it doesn’t require burning incense and hiking to the top of a mountain to be one with nature (although that doesn’t sound so bad, huh?)
In fact, one of the easiest ways to get more meditation in your live is by listening to your Circle + Bloom program. All of our programs are a great way to meditate and incorporate meditation and mindfulness as a regular part of your day. If you’re listening to them once a day you are already off to a great start with making meditation a habit.
There are a few more things you can do to make sure you really nail this whole meditation thing. The best instructions for how to build the meditation habit that I’ve come across are from Leo Babauta at Zenhabits.net.
Here are his simple steps to incorporate meditation as a regular part of your day.
- Commit to just 2 minutes a day. Start simply if you want the habit to stick. You can do it for 5 minutes if you feel good about it, but all you’re committing to is 2 minutes each day.
- Pick a time and trigger. Not an exact time of day, but a general time, like morning when you wake up, or during your lunch hour. The trigger should be something you already do regularly, like drink your first cup of coffee, brush your teeth, have lunch, or arrive home from work.
- Find a quiet spot. Sometimes early morning is best, before others in your house might be awake and making lots of noise. Others might find a spot in a park or on the beach or some other soothing setting. It really doesn’t matter where — as long as you can sit without being bothered for a few minutes. A few people walking by your park bench is fine.
- Sit comfortably. Don’t fuss too much about how you sit, what you wear, what you sit on, etc…Any cushion or pillow will do, and some people can sit on a bare floor comfortably.
- Focus on your breath. As you breathe in, follow your breath in through your nostrils, then into your throat, then into your lungs and belly. Sit straight, keep your eyes open but looking at the ground and with a soft focus. If you want to close your eyes, that’s fine. As you breathe out, follow your breath out back into the world. If it helps, count … one breath in, two breath out, three breath in, four breath out … when you get to 10, start over. If you lose track, start over. If you find your mind wandering (and you will), just pay attention to your mind wandering, then bring it gently back to your breath. Repeat this process for the few minutes you meditate. You won’t be very good at it at first, most likely, but you’ll get better with practice.
And that’s it. 2 minutes is simple enough, right?
Try to incorporate 2 minutes of meditation into your day and let me know how it goes! Do you already meditate and have some helpful tips? Let us all know by commenting below.
As always, please email me with your questions and stories.