Over the last 3 months I’ve been practicing meditation in order to be more mindful. While I’m neither a master or an expert in meditation and mindfulness, I thought I’d pass on a few handy hints and tips that have helped me.
- Expectations: If you’re expecting some zen like experience then you’re probably going to be disappointed. Where it’s really helped me is in my ability to focus, pay attention and make better choices.
- Motivation: Before I practice my meditation, I think about my motivation for doing it. I practice to help me be more curious, more focused and more compassionate. It helps me stay grounded and refocus.
- Dedication: At the end of each session I dedicate it to my family and those around me. It helps me feel the benefit during the rest of the day.
- Persistence: Keep at it. Like learning any skill, a little every day is better than one long session. Make it a habit.
- Application: Don’t just keep it to a single meditation session. Try and be more mindful during the day. Feel yourself being distracted? Take 3 deep breaths. Having your lunch? Eat slower and really take the time to enjoy your food. Even Washing up can be turned into a more mindful experience. Take every opportunity to practice.
- Group: If you can, group to meditate with. Here at Microsoft we have regular daily meditation sessions, and it’s amazing how sitting in silence in a room with other people helps you focus.
- Journal: I try and journal every day and get every single task written down that may distract me.
- Celebrate: Some sessions are better than others. I celebrate each distraction, because that gives me more practice. And the more practice I have the better I get. Don’t beat yourself up if you lose focus. Just think of it as an opportunity.
- Variation: There’s many ways to meditate above and beyond the simple breathing exercise that is usually recomended. If you’re looking for a bit of variation then try “Mindfulness, Meditation, and Mind Fitness”
- Mountain: I have to balance between getting so relaxed I nod off and my mind just filling itself with thoughts. I like the metaphor of standing at the top of a mountain. On one side is drowsiness and on the other is distraction. Try to stay in the middle.
- Smile: Smiling helps you feel better 🙂 .Try it next time you’re meditating.
And while we’re at it, here’s a couple of books that have helped me.
I hope you enjoy your journey towards mindfulness as much as I am.