If you think only buddhist monks and hippy PAs are the only ones who meditate, think again. It’s the one of the many whole health medications that you have access to at all times. There are myriad of benefits and I wrote about 77 of them here. Most people think about meditation being a remedy for stress, this is true, but becomes a stressor when we pressure ourselves to be ‘good meditators’. So I ask that you let this idea go and just focus on disconnecting for 1-2 minutes a day, that is it. If my pops could do it with his late-stage Alzheimer’s, I believe you can do it too!
I really got into meditation through Headspace. I felt so freaking relaxed after a few minutes, I was hooked. Then I followed some other guided meditations for years until I had the tools to do 12 minutes on my own. Herb Benson is the pioneer of the Relaxation Response and a hero of mine. Just like we have a stress response our bodies can go into relaxation, with just a little more effort.
Here is his method:
1. Sit quietly in a comfortable position.
2. Close your eyes.
3. Deeply relax all your muscles,
beginning at your feet and progressing up to your face.
Keep them relaxed.
4. Breathe through your nose.
Become aware of your breathing.
As you breathe out, say the word, “one“*,
silently to yourself. For example,
breathe in … out, “one“,- in .. out, “one“, etc.
Breathe easily and naturally.
5. Continue for 10 to 20 minutes.
You may open your eyes to check the time, but do not use an alarm.
When you finish, sit quietly for several minutes,
at first with your eyes closed and later with your eyes opened.
Do not stand up for a few minutes.
6. Do not worry about whether you are successful
in achieving a deep level of relaxation.
Maintain a passive attitude and permit relaxation to occur at its own pace.
When distracting thoughts occur,
try to ignore them by not dwelling upon them
and return to repeating “one.”
With practice, the response should come with little effort.
Practice the technique once or twice daily,
but not within two hours after any meal,
since the digestive processes seem to interfere with
the elicitation of the Relaxation Response.
And if this seems too daunting, just take a moment away from all stimuli and breathe, seriously. Meditation, mindfulness, stillness, resilience building comes from just tapping into the inner wisdom we all have inside of us. Go to the bathroom and sit on the toilet and just breathe away from others, your phone, computer, kindle, ambient noise and listen to your breath. There. You’ve done it. Now keep on and you’ll see how your life transforms. I promise.