The reasons to start meditating in 2019 are stacked a mile high. Meditation could protect you from cold and flu infections. It has been shown to reduce blood pressure and make IBS more manageable. It could keep your brain young. And for 10 (or more) blessed minutes a day, it will shield you from the bad news beatdown that is this news cycle, helping you find a sense of calm to take with you as you go about your business. Just look at the millions of people who have downloaded the meditation-for-the-masses app Headspace, which saw a 44 percent surge in usage the day after President Trump was elected.
Consider doing something nice for your poor, flustered brain.
Don't know how to meditate? Neither did we! So we asked Andy Puddicombe, the cofounder of Headspace and the voice on its app, to write this basic script. Have a friend read it to you slowly, setting a timer for 10 minutes. It would help if this friend had a soothing voice, preferably with a British accent.
THE 21-STEP MEDITATION GUIDE
1. Sit with your hands resting in your lap or on your knees, keeping your back straight.
2. Your neck should be relaxed, with your chin slightly tucked in.
3. Unfocus your eyes, gazing into the middle distance.
4. Take five deep breaths, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth.
5. On the last exhalation, allow your eyes to close.
6. Slowly settle into your body. Observe your posture and notice the sensations where your body touches the chair and your feet meet the ground.
7. Feel the weight of your arms and hands resting on your legs.
8. Acknowledge your senses: Notice anything you can smell, hear, or taste; sensations of heat, cold, or wind.
9. Turn your mind inward. Scan your body from head to toe, observing any tension or discomfort.
10. Scan again, this time noticing which parts of the body feel relaxed. Spend twenty seconds on each scan.
11. Then turn your awareness to your thoughts. Notice the ones that arise without attempting to alter them.
12. Consider why you're sitting today. You may realize you're hoping to stop your thoughts—remind yourself it's impossible to do this.
13. Next, observe the rising and falling sensation your breathing creates in the body. Notice where the sensations occur, whether they're in your stomach, chest, or shoulders.
14. Focus on the quality of each breath, noticing whether the breaths are deep or shallow, long or short, fast or slow.
15. It's normal for thoughts to bubble up at this moment, so simply guide your attention back to the breath when you realize your mind has started to wander.
16. Silently count your breaths as they pass: one as you inhale, two as you exhale, three on the next inhalation, and four on the exhalation, until you reach ten.
17. Then start again at one.
18. Let go of any focus on the breath now. Spend thirty seconds just sitting. You may be inundated with thoughts or feel calm and focused—just let your mind be as it is.
19. Become aware of the physical feelings—the chair beneath you, your feet on the floor, your arms and hands in your lap. Notice anything you can hear, smell, taste, or feel.
20. Slowly open your eyes.
21. Form a clear idea about what you're going to do next, like brushing your teeth or e-mailing your boss. It's easy to jump up off the seat and lose the calm you've just created. Carry this awareness with you to the next activity.
From: Esquire US