Rule #68. Meditate
When you think about meditation, you may envision Mr. Miyagi, Splinter, Kung Fu Panda, and Yoda. Or if you’re a more realistic person you may see a monk or a hermit, cross-legged on a mountain, intoning “Om.” As far as role models go, you could do a lot worse, but I want to encourage you to see meditation not as something for special enlightened individuals (fictional or otherwise), but as something for everyone. Even you.
There are tons of benefits to meditating. You can reduce pain, improve your sleep, boost your immune system, and increase your pain tolerance.
Meditation can increase willpower, resilience, and emotional strength. It improves decision making skills, even when under extreme stress. Meditation improves your body’s ability to manage heart and respiratory rate, improving heart rate variability.
This is only scratching the surface when it comes to the health and mental health benefits meditation provides.
If you’re willing to put in a little bit of time, meditation can make huge improvements to your life. Start with five minutes a day, that’s all it takes to get started. Not sure where to start? Try this simple meditation.
Sit and or lie down comfortably, and get ready for some deep breathing. As we do this, think of your breath like it’s inflating you. Imagine your belly inflating like a balloon, and slowly exhale blowing all the air out of your lungs. Then repeat. Do you feel the difference between your normal breath and that deep breathing?
Slow this process down; the ideal is 4-6 slow breaths a minute, but don’t worry if you’re not breathing that slowly at first. As you do this, just focus on the sensation of breathing. The rise and fall of your chest and belly, the feeling of the air as in comes in and out of your nose. If you have thoughts or distractions pop into your head, don’t fight them. Acknowledge them, and return your focus to your breathing.
Do this for five minutes. There you go, that’s a simple meditation. If you commit to doing this every day, you could see benefits in as little as one to three months. Don’t worry if you feel like you’re experiencing a lot of distractions; research indicates that you will get all the benefits of meditation even if you’re “bad” at it.
Five minutes a day to improve your life. My meditation practice has made me a better writer, athlete, and adventurer. Think about what it can do for you, and make time for a meditation practice of your own.
I can’t think of any other five minute investment that will return so much value, so don’t make excuses, don’t put it off, and don’t think just because it’s simple that it won’t work for you. It will, you just have to put in the time.
“Rules for Intrepid Living” is a weekly post about how we can live more adventurous lives.