Many of us know we should probably meditate more to help reduce stress, improve brain functioning and even to reduce pain. But as with lots of good intentions, we forget, get frustrated or just flat-out don’t know where to start.
Here’s a little secret: You can meditate for as little as two minutes a day, and you don’t have to do it perfectly. With an open mind, patience and consistency, any lawyer can begin to benefit from this mindfulness practice.
What is meditation? The world “meditation” is used loosely in the modern world, which leads to confusion. Some use it to mean thinking, contemplating, concentrating or daydreaming. But meditation is a practice for resting the mind and attaining a state of relaxation and calm that is totally different from the normal waking state. Meditation is not a part of any religion; it is a science and produces results that can be verified. In meditation, the mind is clear, relaxed and inwardly focused. When you meditate, you are fully awake and alert, but your mind is not focused on the external world or on the events taking place around you.
Benefits of meditation. Meditation is a proven way to reduces stress, control anxiety, promote emotional health and optimism. It also lengthens attention span, reduces age-related memory loss, increases positive feelings and actions, help fight addictions, improves sleep, helps control pain and decreases blood pressure.
It doesn’t need to be perfect. Mindfulness is the ability to be present, to rest in the here and now, fully engaged with whatever we’re doing in the moment. Meditation is a skill. Learning to meditate is like learning any other skill. Think of it like exercising a muscle that you’ve never really worked out before. It takes consistency. It’s meditation practice, not meditation perfect. There’s no such thing as perfect meditation. Sometimes your focus will wander or you’ll forget to follow your breath. That’s OK. The mind can be a weird place. It takes time to get comfortable with your mind. There might be setbacks along the way but that’s part of meditating. Keep practicing.
Try this meditation practice for two minutes to start, and then try it for longer.
- Sit or lie comfortably.
- Close your eyes.
- Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally.
- Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe. Observe your chest, shoulders, ribcage and belly. Simply focus your attention on your breath without controlling its pace or intensity. If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breath.
Free Guided Meditation Apps
Jonathan Jordan is a personal trainer, nutrition coach and corporate wellness consultant in San Francisco. Check out his blog JJ Fit 24/7.