Happiness is a Skill
Does this happen to you? You start talking about something like how to be happier, or play a better game of golf or basketball, or even add meditation to your life and before you know it, it’s become the theme of the week. Not because you planned it. Not because you set out to make it your topic, it’s just what shows up, for you, for me, for everyone around you.
That happened to me this past week and the topic was meditation. First one person then another brought it up and what I noticed was that almost everyone who mentioned it told me they were having a really hard time finding the time to sit and practice meditation regularly.
So is Meditating.
Having been there myself, in that place where it’s hard to find time for everything I want to get done in a day, much less adding in time to sit, breath and let my mind go quiet, I understand the challenge. I also thought about the assumptions I often make that can keep me out of my practice, so I asked, “how long are you sitting for”? I often got back answers like, “ohhhh….. 30 or 45 minutes”, accompanied with the kind of sigh that is both weary and frustrated.
“IF THERE WERE A LITTLE MORE SILENCE,
IF WE ALL KEPT QUIET
…MAYBE WE COULD UNDERSTAND SOMETHING.”
― Federico Fellini
I’m gonna tell you something that might radically change how you think about meditation.
It might go against everything you’ve ever heard about building a solid practice for yourself, and…..
I guarantee it will help you reap the benefits of meditation in a way that’s both useful, simple and relatively pain-free.
As Simple as 1, 2, 3…
Find a quiet place to sit where you won’t be disturbed and sit down for two minutes. Now breathe in and out easily and deeply, without forcing your breath. Notice the flow of air in your nostrils and lungs. Notice how it feels when your body is filled with air and when it’s empty. At the end of two minutes, smile a little, thank yourself for your practice and move into the rest of your day.
But Amy….. what ARE the real benefits?
The Science proves it! Meditation increases Happiness.
Here’s what happens when we sit quietly and intentionally for 120 seconds in a row (or longer).
Your mind gets a “reboot”.
When you practice focusing all your attention on something like your breathing, or the ocean or clouds, you mind get s chance to settle down and clear out much of the noise that clouds our thinking during the day. 2 minutes of mediation allows you to calm your busy brain enough so that your mind starts to flow more clearly.
Geek tip: Scientists have measured a decrease in beta waves in the brain after meditation. Fewer beta waves = lowering of stress response in the entire body. Calm your brain and you calm the whole system down, and was all know that it’s easier to think more clearly when we are “calm, cool and collected”.
Focus, Focus, Focus!
By practicing focus on one thing for the entire two minutes, you are training your brain to be better at doing this all the time. Just like learning to tie your shoelaces, in the beginning you had to watch yourself doing it, now you can probably tie them without looking or even thinking much about it.
Geek tip: just like learning to tie your shoes or shoot hoops, starting with a few minutes of concentrated practice is the best way to build a new skill. It’s also been proven that your ability to focus is a lasting effect. The more you practice daily, the longer lasting you’ll reap the benefits.
WITNESS YOUR THOUGHTS AS THEY COME AND GO.
Where is your favourite quiet place to be?
The more you meditate, the more you loosen certain neural pathways that can cause anxiety. Think of meditation as a way to unknot your system. As you practice, you are allowing all those kinks and knots to loosen and unravel, and that’s a good thing.
Geek tip: By calming the medial prefrontal cortex, we loosen the connexion between our brain’s pain centres, and our body awareness. On a practical level this means that we don’t trigger the “fight, flight, freeze” response quick so quickly or strongly. Feeling calmer and less anxious is an effect of this loosening.
Be More Creative.
The more you practice meditation the more you open up pathways in the brain that enhance your ability to think creatively. As you become more aware of patterns and flow in your breathing, your body and the world around you, you’ll also see new ways to solve problems and generate fresh ideas. Meditation practice allows you to become an observer and the more you do this, the more willing you also become to allowing yourself new ways to approach all aspects of your life.
Geek tip: Being more creative doesn’t juts mean you might suddenly take up painting. It does mean that you will see new ways to approach every spect of your life. The more you meditate, the more options and choice you’ll see being available to you, and who doesn’t like having choices?
All Together Now
At the end of the day, pun intended, meditation for two minutes will get you benefits that you can start to notice right away. Want to build even more goodness for yourself? Try going all out and meditating for five or even a whopping ten minutes daily! The more you do, the more benefits you’ll reap from your meditation practice.
Are you wanting more support or information for building your own meditation practice, I’d be happy to help! Shoot me an email and we’ll jump on a call together! Hello@anunstoppablelife.com