Mindfulness And How to have more inner peace in just seconds a day!

Before we start.  I want you to take a nice long, deep breath so that your chest rises with all the good air in it and then holding it for a second exhale just as slowly. Great! Now do that two more times. I’ll wait…

Awesome job! Now we are ready to start. Actually guess what? You already started!

Wait? Breathing deeply is that it, all I need to do you’re asking? No, but it is a powerful way to bring yourself into the moment and out of the stressful conversations about our lives we all have going on in our heads. 

Breathing is in all but the direst situations always something in our control. It reminds us we are the one who makes decisions about what we do, what we think, and how we feel and it brings life-giving oxygen to our brains so they work better.

I call this the 3 Breath Mindfulness Meditation. I do it while I’m standing in line somewhere, while I’m waiting for my computer screen to stop buffering (usually just when I don’t want it to), or when I’m stressed out in traffic. Sometimes as I inhale I include the phrase “I breathe in love and peace” and on exhale I think “I let go of stress”.  You can actually customize it to your own needs but you get a general idea. 

Here’s an example of how you can customize the 3 Breath Mindfulness Meditation and have more inner peace in just seconds a day

You can really get creative with this and there is no right or wrong way. When it comes from your heart there is only your way.  So as you inhale taking a long deep breath of fresh air, you can visualize yourself sitting on a peaceful beach and with each breath in the waves coming ashore. With each breath out you picture the waves receding back into the Ocean.  You can remind yourself of what the great poet Rumi said, “We are not drops in the Ocean, we are the entire Ocean in a drop!”  We are powerful, because we are all one.

You can say to yourself, “I am connected to the Oceans of life” then exhale and say “I am connected to all the streams of life” or “My life is river flowing effortlessly to good health and happiness”.  Feel your connection to the world, to nature and you will be calm, relaxed and on your way to inner peace.  Now it’s important and somewhat humorous that one would have to say this to remember not to close your eyes or be distracted while driving your car!  But you can breathe deeply while waiting at a light or stressing out about someone not doing what you think they should in traffic.

Remember you can do this inner peace exercise anywhere! You don’t have to sit with your legs crossed and chant Ohmmmm! Although that’s really wonderful to do and I recommend you try it sometime.  You can do this technique while at your desk at work and nobody really needs to know what you’re up to.  You don’t even have to close your eyes. Breathing is life and life is a series of choices we make about what we do and think and feel. 

Our thoughts can serve us, they don’t have to be our masters. Our thoughts determine our feelings and our feelings empower our actions. The great author philosopher, speaker, doctor Depak Chopra often recounts how the human brain thinks over 90% of the same thoughts each and every day. Many of these thoughts are negative and self-critical. The brain means well, in fact it is trying to preserve and protect us as survival is its prime directive. But many of the lessons we have all learned about how to be safe stem from things we’ve encountered and heard from parents and other adults when we were in our most formative years as very young children. Those adults also meant well and wanted to protect us but they didn’t always have the best tools for cultivating positive self-images and healthy childhood development and often came from a space of fear and worry as parents tend to do. 

So we as adults have taken this fear based critical messaging into our memories and into the deepest parts of our subconscious where we are not consciously aware of them. But there they sit and in times of stress and anxiety or challenges these messages emerge in our lives in ways we are seldom aware of.  We may experience it as a critical voice questioning our capabilities or self-worth and sometimes it speaks to us in ways we would never tolerate if it were coming from another person.  

The good news is there are ways of dealing with this negative self-talk and criticism and not giving it ownership of our feelings!  One of the most powerful tools I’ve found in this respect is called Mindfulness Meditation.  It is a practice of meditation that is sweeping the nation in fact it’s growing in popularity all over the world!  In the next section of Our Journal at BetterWorld.store we will take a look at mindfulenss meditation and how we can all use it to become happier and increase our inner peace.  Keep breathing and smiling!

Mindfulness … think of the word for a moment. When you think of meditation and what you may have heard about it you might think that meditation is about emptying one’s mind of all thoughts or feelings right? So the very term “mindfulness” seems in opposition to this does it not? 

If you’ve ever tried to block and quiet all thoughts through meditation it was probably not an easy thing to do. Our mind is always thinking and thoughts become feelings so we are always moving from thought to feeling and back to thought again. This is just how we are all built. The goal of Mindfulness practices including meditation is not to silence our inner chit chat but is instead to be aware of it so that we can choose to pay attention to it or to something else and therefore not be at the mercy of our inner conversations.

We want to be able to enjoy our lives and experience the goodness in it as fully as possible so we can be healthy and happy people right? A powerful way to do more of that is to become aware of our own consciousness or lack of it and be able to decide for ourselves what we want to pay attention to. 

Think of it this way perhaps. When shopping at the store, what we pay for we get to keep. In life what we pay attention to we get to keep for a time too. So being aware of our thoughts and feelings is like shopping for the quality of life we want to experience.

Conversely if we are not aware of our thoughts and feelings because many of them happen at a subconscious automatic level it is like others in our life are shopping for us placing things in our cart. And the things they place in our cart might not be what we really want like guilt, resentment, feelings of inadequacy or shame.

When we become aware of the thoughts that sometime run amok in our own minds we can acknowledge them and then as if you were shopping and noticed that someone placed a shirt or gift item in your cart that you don’t really want you can gently say oh no thanks and keep moving down the shopping aisle of life.

So being mindful is not removing all thoughts that are unpleasant or unpleasant feelings but instead being aware of them and making a conscious choice of where to place your focus in this moment. One way we can do this is to focus on our breathing like we mentioned above. By gently reminding ourselves to come back to our breath we focus on life in this moment where we take a long slow calm inducing deep breath in and out.

When you start to experience stress as in anger or worry remind yourself by telling yourself “back to my breath” and taking that moment to begin a slow deep breath in and then out again.