Stress, anxiety, depression and substance use have increased during the Covid-19 pandemic. This has a lot people thinking about better self-care.
I’m helping one of my employers with a four-week “meditation challenge.” It grew out of a recent lunch and learn for employees that included some material on mindfulness. The more the merrier, so I’m sharing this with my entire social network.
Here’s the challenge: Meditate three times per day, generally in the morning when you wake up; sometime in the afternoon; and again in the evening right before you go to bed. Start with 5-minute sessions, increasing the duration week-by-week as follows:
- Week 1: 5 minutes, 3 times per day
- Week 2: 10 minutes, 3 times per day
- Week 3: 15 minutes, 3 times per day
- Week 4: 20 minutes, 3 times per day
In terms of technique:
- Assume any comfortable position. I personally like a semi-supine position (see below)
- Set a timer (e.g., on your phone) with a soft alarm
- Close your eyes
- Direct your attention to your breath. This might be your nose, chest or belly
- Follow your breath in and out. Some people use simple mental mantras for each in-breath and out-breath. Examples are: in-out, deep-slow and calm-ease
Internal and external distractions will occur. Just let thoughts, emotions and sensations pass without judgment. Return to your breath, using a mantra, if needed. On the flip side, don’t worry if you feel sleepy or even doze off. Allow that to pass without judgment, too.
And that’s it!
Please let me know how you feel during and after the challenge.
I’ve greatly benefited from Alexander Technique lessons. One tip/trick is something called constructive rest, which involves the semi-supine position depicted below.
I’m also a fan of Muse, the brain-sensing headband, but that’s a post for another day. ✸