Quieten Your Mind with Daily Meditation
 

Quieten Your Mind with Daily Meditation

By Arunima Rajan
The benefits of this ancient practice are rumored to include increased alertness, smarts and sense of humor. Can meditating actually help you to find a more sustainable pace, and enjoy life?

The answer is “Yes”, says Shambhavi Chhugani, who conducts group meditation sessions in Powai. "Most of our lives happen within our heads. It's important to make meditation part of your morning ritual, as everybody needs ‘me-time’. It helps to block negative thoughts and better equip a person to handle his day.”

1. Sip your way to peace

What’s more, even a daily routine like drinking your morning cuppa can be meditative, if you set the intention, say enthusiasts.

“When was the last time you really enjoyed your morning cup of tea?” asks Khirein Lalka, an IT professional. “Paying attention to even a small morning ritual like drinking tea itself can be considered as a form of meditation.”

The million-rupee question, the one that work -coaches are asked every other day, is how to respond positively to daily situations. Citizens of Mumbai and Delhi face daily stress triggers, from a toddler spilling her milk to long waiting lines at the supermarket (not to mention the fact that in 2011, Indian women were the most stressed on earth, according to a poll of 6,500 females).

We are constantly searching for a way to deal with everyday stress, and many of us want to know if meditation may be the answer.

“We usually recommend employees to divide their lives in to four quarters, and allocate five minutes for meditation per quarter. I personally recommend one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening, though 20 minutes either end of the day is commonly recommended. Picking regular and comfortable spots is important for creating the habit,” says Nelson Carvalho, executive coach and Country head of Dynamic Results. He also adds that the practice helps a person assess a situation without getting anxious, as well as to be more compassionate and creative.

2. A daily dose of calm

Whether you focus on transcendental, vipassana or another form of meditation (confused? Check out a basic primer on meditation techniques), experts say there is no right or wrong way to do it. But it is important to practice regularly.

“It is really about your personal connection to yourself in a space where you are at peace within, despite what’s going on without. Any practice, any activity in the day can be a meditative experience and for each person different approaches work,” says Radhika Chopra, a transformation coach.

Need more motivation? How about this: in one study, people who underwent eight weeks of meditation actually changed the structure of their brain. The pre-frontal cortex, associated with awareness and concentration, becomes thicker. Meanwhile the amygdala, linked to fear, shrinks.

Don’t be afraid to start small: if paying attention to your breath for even three minutes feels like a chore, just pay attention to three breaths for now.