Meditating in the Age of Overthinking

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Sitting still and not thinking for a period of even 10 minutes is a lot to ask of someone in 2020.  It goes against many of our desires- to be productive, to be entertained, to stay in contact with friends and family.  On top of that, many of us are finding ourselves experiencing increasing anxiety in the age of Coronavirus.  We find ourselves analyzing our personal relationships, physical health problems, job security and financial situations.  We find ourselves constantly thinking.  

Because of this, meditation, and making efforts to quiet the mind are important now more than ever.  Meditation reduces stress, anxiety, and in turn improves immune response and physical health.  It can help you sleep better, relate better to others and be more productive.

While it may not be realistic to jump from having no experience with meditation to being an expert, I’ve included an exercise below which can help you get an introduction to the basics of meditation- increasing our awareness and acceptance of our own thoughts, feelings and behaviors.  Happy Mediating!

Evening Meditation Exercise

1. At the end of the day find a quiet place, close your eyes or relax your gaze. Accept that it is the end of the day, at this point no more can be done, allow yourself permission to rest and relax.  Give yourself time and mental space to regenerate so that you can have more energy and productivity tomorrow.

2. Identify any judgement you had towards yourself or others today- forgive yourself and allow yourself permission to let it go.

3. If parts of the day were challenging, without criticizing yourself, think about what you could do differently to be more prepared for similar situations that may arise in the future.

4. Reflect on positive aspects of the day- What went smoothly? What did you do well? What did you complete?  If today was a rough day it may be hard to identify positive aspects but try to consider what is good in your life, no matter how small.  
We often put so much pressure on ourselves we neglect to acknowledge what we have done well.  If you notice your thoughts drifting into judgement or criticism about what you could have done better, gently redirect your focus- just appreciate what you did well today and anything you can be positive about

5. Identify 3 things you are grateful for- it doesn’t have to be something extraordinary, just something that you can feel positive about.  Take some time to consider the people and things that add value and support to your life. Who supports you? What adds value to your life? What things may you take for granted such as having a roof over your head, food to eat, and access to resources to improve your life.

6. Identify 2 things you are looking forward to- no matter how big or small.  These things may occur in the short term or long term, but visualize something that makes you feel warm and happy.  Visualize what you look forward to, to give yourself hope.  Make a pact with yourself to appreciate this experience when it happens.  Send yourself love.

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