Written by: Grant Thomas
Emails, texts, Snapchats, friends, Slack messages, Instagrams, Facebook posts, co-workers, Twitter, family, networking, politics, Linkedin, news articles, safety… There’s about a million and one things that vie for attention constantly. Life is complex. On top of all of our relationships with people we’re given a towering amount of channels to talk to each other, each of those more tailored to one relationship than the next.
Did you see the latest company acquisition?
What about the game last night?
That band on Jimmy Fallon this weekend?
Read that email from the boss?
We receive input after input after input after input — Respond! Reply! Forward! Retweet! Repost—all of them calling for action. Do we ever stop reacting to the constant busywork thrown at us from every which way? How can we stop ourselves from drowning in a sea of busyness?
Meditation helps cut through the emails, slacks, and snaps. It’s a short assessment of your mind and body, that lets you understand yourself more.
We often carry stress and tensions in our body without being aware of them. The more I do meditation, the more I am conscious of my body. I catch myself slouching in a chair, or realize I’ve been clenching my jaw for the past thirty minutes. These are all things that might seem trivial and passing, but stem from our thoughts and manifest in our bodies.
Body language has long been used to talk about how we relate to other people. Do we feel nervous, dominant or tired? Is our jaw clenched, our legs spread or our attention drifting? Our body reflects our thoughts and feelings through our body. When we take minutes to meditate, we give ourselves time to decompress and assess.
We decompress by focusing on our breathing. We learn that we can’t stop the sea of busyness, but that we can stop fighting it. It’s the difference between spending your energy trying to push back the ocean and swim with the current.
With repetition we learn to carry that awareness throughout the day.
Meditation helps me understand myself and my thoughts on a metacognitive level. It gives me an awareness of my own thought processes and helps me address negative habits that manifest themselves in my life in various ways. Once you create that pattern of recognition, you can understand more and more why you are doing something and how to stop it or help it grow.
When we become aware of our thoughts, we can more clearly trace back their origins. Then we can address our thoughts proactively rather than reactively.
Sometimes it can be hard to meditate especially in our busy schedules. Here are some tips to get yourself into a mindfulness rhythm.
1. Schedule it
Try to meditate at the same time every day. Studies have shown that we are more likely to continue a habit when we do it at the same time everyday. Some people meditate in the morning and some at night. Figure out what your schedule looks like, try it out for a few weeks and see what difference it makes. Simple Habit has short sessions that are only five minutes. If you can’t find five minutes in your day to lock it in, you probably need it more than you think.
2. Give it 100%
There have been many times when my scheduled meditation is interrupted by this that and the other. So I try to straddle mindfulness and the other. Learn from my experience. It’s never worked out. I end up higher strung than I was going into it.
There’s no one-size-all, so try various meditation routines. Simple Habit has a library of different options from SOS to mid-commute to just taking a break. Try them out and see which ones work best for you.