You know how effective meditation can be in reducing stress and improving your brain functioning and creativity, but it’s tough to find the time to sit quietly and, when you do, your monkey-mind spends its precious meditation time making shopping lists and finding witty comebacks to past transgressions.
If this sounds familiar, you are certainly not alone. Meditation can take years to master, but it is worth the effort. Here are a few tips to help you still your mind and focus on your breathing for a successful, mindful meditation.
Schedule your ‘Me’ Time
Your meditation will be more successful if you aren’t in the thick of things because ‘stealing’ ten minutes between your meeting and picking up the kids will make it difficult not to let your mind wander.
Instead, try first thing in the morning or last thing at night, so you don’t start thinking about all the things you could and should be doing.
Make sure that you turn your cell phone and TV off at least ten minutes before your meditation begins. This gives you a little time to decompress.
You do so much for so many people, you should take at least fifteen minutes a day that is just for you. Taking this small bit of time for yourself will vastly improve your ability to deal with everything in your life, so make your meditation a non-negotiable part of your schedule. Giving it the respect it deserves will help you to get into a routine that will train your brain to switch off during meditation.
Drink Matcha Tea
Ok, so perhaps drinking tea doesn’t sound like a viable way to improve mindful meditation, but a cup of matcha tea actually helps to relax your body and focus your mind. Zen monks have been utilizing matcha to increase mental clarity and focus in meditation for over 900 years. You see, the L-theanine in matcha helps to reduce stress and lower your heart rate. It also reduces psychological and physiological stress responses and a study utilizing EEG scans found that L-Theanine had a marked effect on the brain: “There was a greater increase in alpha activity… The data indicates that L-theanine, at realistic dietary levels, has a significant effect on the general state of mental alertness or arousal.”
Matcha tea has a unique ability to relax your body while increasing your focus and concentration which makes it perfect for meditation and mindfulness.
Zen as a Lifestyle
Being mindful and ‘present’ should become part of your day. Creating a space for the present will make meditation easier as your brain becomes more adept at focusing and not attaching itself to random trains of thought. Take a moment before you go into a meeting, before you enter a restaurant for dinner with friends or before you give that big presentation, and be in the moment. Take stock of where you are and what you are about to do so that you give each task your best.
When we live mindfully, we are able to give our best to each challenge, to enjoy each moment and you won’t have to stop to smell the roses anymore, it will already be part of your day. Your life will seem less hurried and you’ll have more time to really apply yourself and appreciate all the good things that happen in a day.