Practice #7: Meditate daily to increase your sense of well-being. Meditation has entered popular culture as a way to reduce stress in our Type A lives. Studies show that regular meditation reduces blood pressure and improves your immune system. The science of understanding how this happens is ongoing. One study at the University of Wisconsin documented increased electrical activity in the left frontal lobe after just two months of meditating. This area of the brain tends to be more active in optimistic people. Whatever the physiological reasons, those who meditate know that they feel happier and have a better day when they meditate.
How to meditate
Mediation engages you in quiet time, putting the world aside by sitting in stillness. There are many ways to meditate. Some are secular and others are tied to spiritual practice. You can take a class or start on your own. Sit quietly and focus on a candle or just close your eyes and count your breaths to ten then begin again. Put your body in a relaxed position and empty your mind of thoughts for the next 20 minutes. It’s normal, especially when you first begin, to have your mind continue to chatter. Just sweep those thoughts away and enjoy the stillness. You have all day to deal with all those other things in your head. These few minutes each day are your precious time to enjoy the quiet.
Try a guided meditation
If you’ve never meditated, try one of Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra’s free 21-day mediation series. They’re offered several times a year. Each day you’ll be guided through a 20 minute experience. Oprah talks for a while, then Deepak talks for a few minutes and guides you through a ten minute meditation with a mantra and soft music. The duration of 21 days is enough to establish a habit of starting your day with a meditation. We’ve done several and have enjoyed them all. You can find out more here: http://www.chopra.com/21-day-meditation-experience