GOOD

Five Steps to Stoplight Meditation


The mental and physical health benefits of meditation are endless. Even taking a few moments to quiet your mind and focus on your breathing can significantly reduce your body’s stress response, keeping your blood pressure low and your immune system strong. There’s evidence that regular meditation can be just as effective as anti-depressants in treating clinical depression.
So why aren’t more people meditating? One reason may be that people simply don’t know exactly what meditation entails. Another reason may be the most common excuse people give to nearly everything: “I don’t have the time.”
Martin Boroson, author of One-Moment Meditation: Stillness For People On The Go, knows a thing or two about adding meditation to your daily life, even for those with a busy full-time job, kids, and keeping up with the bills.
For people who don’t know where to begin with meditation, he recommends focusing on the rhythm of your breathing to center yourself. No need to worry about mantras, correct sitting positions, or ceremonial bells.
And for the people who claim they just don’t have the time, he offers these five steps to meditation no matter how crazy your day may be.
1. Micro meditation. Though meditation may conjure images of Buddhist monks sitting in caves for hours at a time, meditation can literally happen in just one moment—like those 30 seconds when you are waiting for the traffic signal to turn green, or those few minutes waiting for the receptionist to call your name at the doctor’s office. Even if you take just 10 seconds of your time to close your eyes and focus on your breathing at your desk before you open your e-mail inbox, those 30 seconds will go a long way toward keeping you centered for the rest of the day.
2. Right here, right now. Though it may help to have a regular spot at home to get into the groove, you really can meditate just about anywhere, anytime. In the car, at your office, in your bed, at a restaurant, on the plane, in the presence of large crowds or all by yourself. No matter where you are, you can take those mere 30 seconds to bring your attention back to your breathing and realign your thoughts.
3. Channel that stress. Are you freaking out about an upcoming project, your lack of sleep, paying the bills, or whatever else is on your plate? Use your high level of stress as an excuse to meditate right away before you lose control. As Boroson says, “There is no situation—other than a true emergency—that can’t be improved by a moment of meditation.”
4. Find “gap time.” We all like to say we’re busy. But there are probably many small bundles of time you’re wasting too. The next time you are stuck in line for something or trapped in bad afternoon traffic, use that “gap time” to meditate instead of fiddling with your smart phone or aimlessly checking your e-mail.
5. Use “gift time." When things take less time than expected, use some those moments to meditate. Though we often don’t pay attention when this happens, sometimes things really do take less time than expected—speedy traffic during traffic hour, say, or an hour-long conference call that ends in 40 minutes. Invest in that saved time by meditating. Increased mental focus, reduced anxiety, a more optimistic outlook, and a heightened sense of intuition are some of the many mental health benefits you’ll begin noticing when you meditate regularly and often, even when you’re super busy.

This post originally appeared on www.refresheverything.com, as part of GOOD's collaboration with the Pepsi Refresh Project, a catalyst for world-changing ideas. Find out more about the Refresh campaign, or submit your own idea today.
Articles
AFP News Agency / Twitter

A study out of Belgium found that smart people are much less likely to be bigoted. The same study also found that people who are bigoted are more likely to overestimate their own intelligence.

A horrifying story out of Germany is a perfect example of this truth on full display: an anti-Semite was so dumb the was unable to open a door at the temple he tried to attack.

On Wednesday, October 9, congregants gathered at a synagogue in Humboldtstrasse, Germany for a Yom Kippur service, and an anti-Semite armed with explosives and carrying a rifle attempted to barge in through the door.

Keep Reading Show less
Communities
via Andi-Graf / Pixabay

The old saying goes something like, "Possessions don't make you happy." A more dire version is, "What you own, ends up owning you."

Are these old adages true or just the empty words of ancient party-poopers challenging you not to buy an iPhone 11? According to a new study of 968 young adults by the University of Arizona, being materialistic only brings us misery.

The study examined how engaging in pro-environmental behaviors affects the well-being of millenials. The study found two ways in which they modify their behaviors to help the environment: they either reduce what they consume or purchase green items.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

One of the biggest obstacles to getting assault weapons banned in the United States is the amount of money they generate.

There were around 10 million guns manufactured in the U.S. in 2016 of which around 2 million were semiautomatic, assault-style weapons. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry's trade association, the U.S. industry's total economic impact in 2016 alone was $51 billion.

In 2016, the NRA gave over $50 million to buy support from lawmakers. When one considers the tens of millions of dollars spent on commerce and corruption, it's no wonder gun control advocates have an uphill battle.

That, of course, assumes that money can control just about anyone in the equation. However, there are a few brave souls who actually value human life over profit.

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via Reddit and NASA / Wikimedia Commons

Trees give us a unique glimpse into our past. An examination of tree rings can show us what the climate was like in a given year. Was it a wet winter? Were there hurricanes in the summer? Did a forest fire ravage the area?

An ancient tree in New Zealand is the first to provide evidence of the near reversal of the Earth's magnetic field over 41,000 years ago.

Over the past 83 million years there have been 183 magnetic pole reversals, a process that takes about 7,000 years to complete.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Pixabay

The final episode of "The Sopranos" made a lot of people angry because it ends with mob boss Tony Soprano and his family eating at an ice cream parlor while "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey plays in the background … and then, suddenly, the screen turns black.

Some thought the ending was a dirty trick, while others saw it as a stroke of brilliance. A popular theory is that Tony gets shot, but doesn't know it because, as his brother-in-law Bobby Baccala said, "You probably don't even hear it when it happens, right?"

So the show gives us all an idea of what it's like to die. We're here and then we're not.

Keep Reading Show less
Health