At the beginning of the year I started meditating and journaling. I've journaled every day but only meditated every other day, which I still consider an achievement.
I started doing both these practices to try and be more engaged in the moment. To be present and aware. It's definitely a process but I am seeing some incremental changes. I realize when I'm distracted and take a few deep breaths before redirecting my focus on the task at hand.
I've also been putting my phone away at night (number one source of distractions). When I lay down in my bed to go to sleep, I would use that time to scroll through social media. Then I would have a hard time actually getting to sleep because of the sensory overload. Now, when I crawl under the covers I put the phone face down on my nightstand and turn away from it.
The process of meditation is also helping me be more creative and productive as well. It's only been 18 days but I've made some noticeable progress. The hardest part for me is making the time to actually meditate but I notice if I do it at the same time everyday it becomes more habitual. I would definitely recommend that everyone practice some form of meditation or conscience awareness to help eliminate stress and distractions. Here are some tips for getting started:
1. Find a tool to guide you- Guided meditation is probably best for newbies because you have someone talking you through the process and timing you as you go. There are a ton of apps for this or websites. I use the Stop, Breath & Think app. They provide a list of meditations such as Mindful Breathing, Be Present, Gratitude, Change, Falling Asleep and much more! You can meditate for as little as 3 minutes or up to 20 minutes.
2. Find a quiet space free of distractions- Turn off the TV and turn on the "do not disturb" feature on your phone so that you aren't getting calls or notifications. If you have kids or pets at home, go into another room or wait until they are napping. For meditation to be effective you need that uninterrupted time. You want to be able to quiet your mind and focus only on your breathing.
3. Find a comfortable position- You typically see images of people meditating in the "lotus" pose (crossed legs and wrists resting on elbows) but you do not have to meditate in this position. Just get comfortable and make sure you are in a position, preferably sitting, that is comfortable. You will have to release the tension from your arms, shoulders, legs etc. So you want to make sure you are not cramped or at an awkward angle that might keep you from focusing.
The point of meditation is to get you to focus on you breathing and to slow your hear rate, which will help relieve anxiousness and stress. The hardest part of meditation is keeping your mind from wandering while trying to be present. BONUS TIP: Focus on an image in your mind of the ocean, or the sky or floating in a swimming pool. These calming images should help you find your center and keep you focused.
Today is International Peace Day. This day is devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. While I wholeheartedly agree with the idea of strengthening peace among all people and nations, I particularly like the idea of strengthening peace within ourselves. I think when we are filled with internal peace, we aren't as distracted or destructive. When we are happy and content with our own lives, it makes us more compassionate with each other.
It's easy to get frustrated with all the demands of daily life but here are five things you can practice to achieve peace within yourself:
1. Practice Gratitude- Count your blessings daily. Consider keeping a gratitude journal and write down at least two or more things you're grateful for each day. This will help you put things in perspective.
2. Practice Faith- Find something to believe in. A higher power, something greater than yourself. Allow yourself to believe that there is an orchestrator of the universe looking out for you. Believe that the good you put out there will come back to you and pray for discipline to stay the course.
3. Meditate- Carve out at least five to ten minutes per day to be still . . .to just focus on where you are and all that you've accomplished. Let your mind be still and let go of your anxiousness. Remain calm and carry on.
4. Affirm Yourself- Think of all you've overcome and use that as motivation and plant a seed of confidence. Repeat these affirmations in the mirror daily: I AM STRONG. I AM CONFIDENT. I AM SMART. I CAN HANDLE WHATEVER LIFE THROWS AT ME.
5. Take care of your mind and body- Get some form of exercise everyday, even if it's walking to the corner and back. When your body is healthy it energizes you and makes you feel stronger. READ! Grab the community newspaper, log on to your favorite blog or pick up a novel or self help book. Keep your mind stimulated.
Treat your inner peace as something sacred and don't let anyone disturb it- including you.
Writer. Reader. Designer. Creative Spirit.
“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”