Life can come at us quickly with many stressors daily. Do you feel that it can sometimes feel hard to keep up? This happens to each of us occasionally, but if it seems to be happening frequently it may be important to stop and reassess the priorities in your life.
One practice that can provide stability and a sense of calm during chaos is mindful meditation. Cathy Wong, from Verywell Mind, explains, “Mindfulness meditation is a mental training practice that teaches you to slow down racing thoughts, let go of negativity, and calm both your mind and body. It combines meditation with the practice of mindfulness, which can be defined as a mental state that involves being fully focused on “the now” so you can acknowledge and accept your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment.”
Do you have a favorite mediation practice that works for you? If not, here are a few tips to get started on loving-kindness meditation as recommended by the American Heart Association. Loving-kindness meditation is a practice that helps us feel unconditional compassion for ourselves and all beings. It can also create feelings of connection and empathy and help reduce feelings of bias, anger, depression and anxiety.
Begin by sitting quietly and finding a space of love and acceptance for yourself. You will then expand your circle of compassion towards others.
- Begin with self: Direct kindness and compassion to yourself by repeating a thought like, “May I be happy.”
- Family and friends: Direct your kindness to someone you love or care about by repeating, “May (list name) by happy.”
- Someone neutral: Think about someone you feel neutral about, like a coworker, neighbor or acquaintance and direct your compassion to this person by name.
- Someone difficult: Think about someone you dislike or have a tough time being around. Direct your kindness to this person by name.
- Group: Think about all these people together and equally direct your kindness to all of them, “May they be happy.”
- Everyone: Finally, direct your kindness everywhere. “May all beings everywhere be happy.”
These simple efforts take less than just a few minutes each day, but they can make a huge impact on the way you view yourself and others and how you approach the world around you. Start short and simple and see if you can gradually extend the time longer. Take note of how this practice positively impacts your life. Small efforts can make a big difference!