Real Ways Meditation Can Help You
A sample meditation to improve your workday.
I believe that helping busy, warm-hearted, individuals, couples, parents, teens to live mindfully is the most effective way to deal with stress, anxiety, depression, loss, and really, to make the world a better place, one heart at a time. And there are many ways to live mindfully that contribute to having more harmonious relationships, navigating the challenges of family life, and managing your own emotional life with grace.
A regular meditation practice is just one way to expand your practice of living mindfully. For many, it is a core practice.
I hope the idea of a regular meditation practice doesn’t scare you. Please know, you can start it with just a few minutes a day, and still experience some benefits.
I have been meditating regularly for over ten months now. Mostly for 30 minutes at a time. A handful of days for 5 to 15 minutes only. But every day some formal meditation since March 12, 2017, when daylight savings time changed. The biggest impact for me is experiencing a kind quieting of my internal whirring of the mind. And appreciating all the related experiences that come with that.
I’ve noticed many benefits to this, like:
- Paying even better attention to my clients
- I have a more harmonious home and family life
- The typical annoyance or upset coming up with my partner and being truly embroiled in it – for a moment – and then noticing it has passed – like a fire that doesn’t take
- More focus as I do my writing and work projects
- More moments of being awestruck by nature or my surroundings
- I’m remembering things better
- Less personal sense of inadequacy
- More calm and more confidence that I can become calm, or get to it, or help others get to it
- Less irritation with those things that get to me
- When I notice my reflection in the mirror, I like it
- I can directly feel when my heart is closing and notice it before acting on it
- I can be with a hot flash or other painful feelings (like jealousy, resentment, loneliness, rejection) for the whole course that they take, as they arise and eventually pass
- I breathe better and pay more attention to my breath
- I am endlessly aware of simple things I feel gratitude about
- I am more competent
- I am less afraid
- I navigate sticky or conflictual interactions better
- I feel depressed, anxious, overwhelmed, lonely less often, and for less length of time
- I have deeper empathy
- When I get panicky I can slow my breathing down more easily
- I feel generally less defensive, and more open when I hear criticism
- I feel better about myself, and listen less to negative self-talk
- I have more capacity to learn
- I can tell better, what’s true to my heart and right for me
Many of these things are subtle, nuanced, not necessarily noticed on the outside, but felt and profound on the inside.
There are many ways to do formal meditation. I might vary the focus of my daily meditations, depending on what I need or where I’m at – physically or internally. Sometimes during my meditations, I listen to sounds or use the time to think through all my projects, or I focus on the feelings I’m having about a particular experience. Sometimes I count breaths, sometimes I count the waves I hear, or let my feelings conjure up beautiful colorful abstract paintings. Sometimes I practice loving kindness, wishing well for someone who is suffering. Sometimes that someone is me. Sometimes I sit at that tender place of tenderness and vulnerability and poignancy and just bring forth compassion. Sometimes I do a body scan. Sometimes I just am aware of my breath. Sometimes I’m just aware of my awareness; or my humanity. Sometimes I feel connected to the whole world. Sometimes I just amplify the feelings of love. Sometimes I do special breaths (a 7–11 Breath, or a 4-7-8 Breath, or four short breaths in and one long exhale…). Sometimes I listen to a guided meditation. Almost always I have chimes and waves.
When I have a day dedicated to some work projects I want to complete, I might meditate on that, asking for things that will help me be productive.
This morning it went something like this:
May I be present to the work in front of me…May I be clearheaded and ready… May I integrate what I’ve been learning… May I share information that’s helpful to others… May I write freely and with wisdom…May I take regular breaks… May I get up and move several times an hour… May I not be distracted when I feel dis-ease… May I stay with my moments of discomfort a moment longer… May I be responsive to influences outside of me that require my consideration and care… May I be attuned to the influences inside of me that bring forth character, courage and compassion… May I keep coming back to the work at hand… May I give thanks before each meal… May I do breathing exercises throughout the day… May I be honest and true… May I be more proactive than passive (write more than I watch/listen to)… May I trust that I already have everything I need to know for this day’s work… May I stay present… May I be grateful for being able to work with a clear head… May I appreciate all of my teachers who have given me guidance… May I be able to check some things off my list… May I not multitask…May I be creative and strong. ..May I work well… May I not fritter my time away with procrastination, self-doubt, resentment or negative thinking… May I appreciate the preciousness of this time before me, and be with it to the best of my ability… May I work in a flow that doesn’t overthink or overlook anything…
The work time that followed was indeed productive and came from a place of clarity and depth. I credit the precious time I had spent, being present with myself in morning meditation. All of my wishes for myself were stated as intentions that would favorably impact my work day.
You might try to build some quiet moments of meditation into your daily life, and notice more focus in your work life, better sleep, more harmony in your relationships, being better able to manage your emotions, more ease in parenting, conflicts that get resolved a little easier, decreased depression, anxiety and worry.
If you or someone you care about needs some help to develop some constructive self-soothing tools, please contact me for a therapy appointment.
For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.
Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
May I make the time today (and every day) to read and re-read Cindi’s email and find the peace and calm of which it speaks in this ever busy life I lead. Thank you.