By Kimberly Akuna
Mindfulness practices are gaining in popularity. Celebrities, radio personalities and motivational speakers are throwing the word “mindful” around as if it’s the best thing since sliced bread.
Science-based data is backing up many of these claims. Studies show that meditative practices can reduce stress and anxiety, result in better sleep, boost emotional health, increase self-awareness, lower blood pressure and clear the mind.
There are many different ways to meditate -- journaling, walking meditations, mindful eating and breath work are just a few styles proven to be effective.
So the real question is HOW. Contrary to popular belief, one doesn’t need a lot of time or experience to meditate. It’s free and can be done anywhere.
Here is one easy way to reset your day and help you face life’s challenge with a calmer frame of mind.
Meditation in 6 Easy Steps
- Sit (or stand) in an upright position, feet planted on the floor.
- With eyes closed or gazing downward, take a deep breath in and exhale completely (through your nose if possible).
- In the next inhalation, expand the abdomen first. Pause for a moment then roll the air into your low rib cage expanding the chest. As you exhale, deflate the belly first then the chest.
- As you breathe in, silently say to yourself, “inhale.” As you breath out, silently say, “exhale.”
- Try to time each breath with the word itself, so the word “inhale” begins and ends with the inhalation. Do the same with the word “exhale.” Draw each word out as long as you need to time it with your breath.
- Repeat 10-20 times.
Remember, mindful practices are called “practices” for a reason. If you lose track of the steps or get distracted, give yourself a break. Have reasonable expectations. You won’t make up for pulling an all-nighter or silence your stomach for skipping the last two meals. However, with practice, you will be better able to take on your day, one breath at a time.