I am sitting (standing actually) by the pool bar at the Hyatt in Atlanta, Georgia on the Monday after the SCW Atlanta Mania Fitness conference. Mindy and I missed our flight home last night and decided to stay on the east coast and head directly to our next conference, DCAC, in Washington DC this coming weekend. The SCW conference was awesome. Great people and very passionate. Mindy and I presented our lecture Living and Thriving With Cancer for the first time! You can download the entire presentation in .pdf format for free from our website very soon. To be notified of when that will happen, make sure you are on our weekly newsletter.
I want to make everyone reading this aware of a simple daily act which takes only a few minutes, costs no money, requires no physical exertion, but can drastically improve your life both physically and mentally, regardless of your current mental and physical condition: Meditation
I have personally been meditating every day going on 4 years after reading the benefits to cancer patients of the practice in Dr. Keith Block’s book, Life Over Cancer; If you or anyone who has been affected by cancer, please buy his book and read it! Anyway, being the data driven person that I am, I was very skeptical at first because the the whole process seemed so…unscientific. But, I am so thankful I was open minded enough to go ahead and give it a try.
Upon further investigation, I discovered that there actually is a significant body of scientific research demonstrating that daily meditation can:
- Restore inner peace (this is a VERY high priority for cancer patients)
- Reduce stress hormones
- Improve quality of sleep (with the exception of time zone changes, I sleep better now than I have my whole adult life)
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve your ability to concentrate
- And most importantly, it just makes you feel better!
Meditation helps me to stay focused on the present moment and mitigate the all the other non-value added thoughts of the past and the future that I have no control over. And it is so simple and easy. I think most people feel as though they simply do not have the time to engage in one more daily activity, which is exactly why you should give it a try.
I meditate for between 20 and 30 minutes a day. I am sure more is better. Having said that, only 5 minutes a day is a great way to start. Here is my practice:
Find a quiet, dark place with a chair. I like to meditate listening to gentle music without a beat (love Stephen Halpern) with noise cancelling head phones. I keep the volume of the music only high enough to drown out any background noise. Get comfortable but sit up with good straight posture. Close your eyes and do nothing else except concentrate on your breath. I use Deepak Chopra’s mantra technique of saying to myself, “so” on the in-breath, and “hum” on the out-breath. Many thoughts will come into your mind, which is what is supposed to happen. But just let the thoughts come and go, always bringing yourself back to focusing on your breathing.
THAT IS IT!
Please give it a try for 2 weeks for even only 5 or 10 minutes a day. You may not be able to put it in words, but you will begin to feel more composed, calm, centered, and happier! It’s simple, free, and it makes you happier! Why not give it a try?
I usually meditate in the early or late afternoon, but any time works. I know these are precious moments in my day and the practice is an integral component of my personal well-being program. I look forward to it every day and I meditate for the rest of my life.
Mindfulness and meditation is a core component in Mindy’s and my One Day to Wellness and One Weekend To Wellness emersion programs. Come join us and begin to change your life for the better!
In good health,