The Meditation HabitSep 07, 2021
Meditation is working with your mind to be in the present moment. This moment, the moment you are reading this sentence is all you have. The past
is gone and cannot be changed regardless of what you do. The future is not here yet.
Training your brain to be in the present will help you deal with issues like sadness, anger, pain, and other difficult life circumstances, when they arrive.
This is not to say that you should always be in the moment and not think about the future. You certainly should make a plan and take action to create a better future for yourselves and others. But constantly worrying about it creates nothing but stress.
Research done at the University of California suggests that focusing on the present, rather than letting the mind drift, helps lower the stress hormone cortisol. Less cortisol in our body means we can deal more easily with life circumstances. But how do we focus on the present moment?
Many of us have limiting beliefs about meditation that hold us back from even trying. It was the same for me until I decided to attend the Certificate of Positive Psychology program offered by Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar. While doing breathing exercises, a faculty member, Deborah Cohen, taught me one of the most important lessons of meditation and I finally felt comfortable not just trying, but meditating daily afterward.
She taught me that regardless of the type of meditation you are doing, unwanted thoughts will come to your mind. As long as you are aware of these thoughts you are being mindful and meditating. Observe the thoughts and then return to the chosen focus.
If the same or similar thoughts return, that is okay. Again, as long as you are aware of the returning thoughts, you are being mindful and you are meditating. All you need to do is observe them again and continue your meditation. And just like with anything else in life, the more you practice, the better you become.
There are hundreds of meditative practices that can help you focus on the present. Regardless of the kind you practice, another important fact to keep in mind is that there is no right or wrong way of meditating.
The mindful eating, walking, and breathing habits we discussed earlier are types of meditation. There, we focused on the object (eating, walking,
and breathing). Since the activity can be considered meditation, we can mindfully focus on any daily activity.
In her book How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with your Mind, Pema Chodron recommends meditating during your daily activities such as brushing your teeth. That becomes the focus of your attention.
Chodron recommends you say to yourself: “This is going to be a meditation period, and my attention is to stay present as I’m brushing my teeth. When my attention wanders, I’m going to bring it back to brushing my teeth”.
To make it even more powerful, combine this meditation habit with what we learned earlier in this book—brush your teeth with a non-dominant hand. This way you will improve your willpower and start a new meditation habit at the same time.
Braco Pobric is an Internationally Recognized Positive Psychology Expert and Corporate Trainer. He is the bestselling author of Habits and Happiness: How to Become Happier and Improve Your Wellbeing by Changing Your Habits. Braco is a founding member and Chief Happiness Officer of the Life Success Academy Certified Positive Psychology Master Trainer and former globally Certified Trainer and Business Coach for Dale Carnegie Training. He trained over 60,000 Students in 172 countries.
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