Updated: Aug 24, 2021
PharmD. Candidate 2022
Ohio Northern University
How to meditate
1) Take a seat Find place to sit that feels calm and quiet to you.
2) Set a time limit If you’re just beginning, it can help to choose a short time, such as five or 10 minutes.
3) Notice your body You can sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, you can sit loosely cross-legged, you can kneel—all are fine. Just make sure you are stable and in a position that you can stay in for a while.
4) Feel your breath Follow the sensation of your breath as it goes in and as it goes out. Take a deep breathe inhale through your nose. Hold air for 10 seconds, exhale through your mouth. Repeat this cycle at least 5 times. Focus on your breathing.
5) Notice when your mind has wandered Inevitably, your attention will leave the breath and wander to other places. When you get around to noticing that your mind has wandered—in a few seconds, a minute, five minutes—simply return your attention to the breath.
6) Be kind to your wandering mind Don’t judge yourself or obsess over the content of the thoughts you find yourself lost in. Just come back.
7) Close with kindness When you’re ready, gently lift your gaze (if your eyes are closed, open them). Take a moment and notice any sounds in the environment. Notice how your body feels right now. Notice your thoughts and emotions.
How to make mindfulness a habit
Put meditation reminders around you. If you intend to do some yoga or to meditate, put your yoga mat or your meditation cushion in the middle of your floor so you can’t miss it as you walk by.
Refresh your reminders regularly. Say you decide to use sticky notes to remind yourself of a new intention. That might work for about a week, but then your autopilot brain and old habits take over again. Try writing new notes to yourself; add variety or make them funny. That way they’ll stick with you longer.
Create new patterns. You could try a series of “If this, then that” messages to create easy reminders to shift into the intentional brain. For instance, you might come up with, “If office door, then deep breath,” as a way to shift into mindfulness as you are about to start your workday. Or, “If the phone rings, take a breath before answering.” Each intentional action to shift into mindfulness will strengthen your intentional brain.
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