Is your mind a streaming dialogue? Does the mental chatter leave you exhausted and anxious? Maybe you need meditation to restore calm and balance.
Several research studies point to the benefits of meditation for physical and emotional well-being, including a 2007 Chinese study that suggested meditation reduces cortisol, a stress hormone, and improves mood. Meditation also has been recognized for helping some people cope with medical illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease and multiple sclerosis, plus insomnia and depression.
Meditation strengthens your capacity to be aware of the present, says Klia Bassing, director of Visit Yourself at Work, which teaches meditation in the workplace. Bassing helps clients gain clarity by focusing on the breath. “When you pay attention on a deep, internal level, you bring awareness to the very center of things,” she says. “It allows you to know you have a choice about how to relate to something, and whether you’ll give it energy.”
Too busy to sit still? Here are some on-the-spot tips to practice mindfulness during the daily grind:
At the office. Before checking e-mails and voice messages in the morning, sit at your desk, close your eyes for a few minutes and “let yourself arrive,” advises Bassing. A daily meditation such as this helps break the cycle of constantly “leaning into the future” with thoughts like “Will I make my deadline?” or “What does my co-worker think of me?”
At the supermarket. When you get stuck in a slow checkout line and think, “Why does this always happen to me?,” breathe and notice the anxiety and self-judgment. “You’ll notice that the situation is happening, but not happening to you,” she says.
Washing dishes. Connect to the sensory elements of the water, soap and dishes to help reframe what might be a dull chore into a pleasant ritual, according to Bassing. “It also keeps the mind from drifting to other negative thoughts that occur while doing something boring.”
– By Sally J. Clasen