Meditation has re-wired my brain. I don’t walk on clouds every day, but I do feel like a new person three years in to maintaining a daily practice (and 120 days in to a consecutive streak). I know, I know. One shouldn’t promote meditation as a miracle cure. But if you have an active mind, one that veers toward anxiety and stress like me, take a listen to this week’s Pivot Podcast.
I am not a guru—I am a normal person who finally found a way to integrate this habit into my morning routine after 10+ years of dancing around it as a nice idea . . . for someone else. I share common objections people have, how I finally got into a daily practice, 5 tips to make the habit stick, and my favorite books and apps.
Take what is helpful—try a few new things—and ditch the rest. Ultimately, make your meditation practice your own. If I waited until I “knew exactly how to do” meditation, or judged myself for not doing it right—which was on the tip of my gremlin’s tongue as I recorded this show!—I would be seriously missing out. And so might you.
TOPICS I COVER
- Common objections—myself included! I’m too busy, I can’t sit still, I don’t know how, my mind is too active
- Details of how I practice: when, how long, breathing exercises, physical ways to settle in
- Low-key mantras: Let Go (Inhale, Let—Exhale, Go); Rising, Falling, Sitting
- 5 tips to make the habit stick: including my favorite apps, books and courses
- The “behind the waterfall” and RAIN strategies that Dan Harris shares in his book (Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Non-Identification)
- How I incorporate inquiry to feel into challenging questions and arrive at answers from a different level of consciousness
- The surrender strategy from Outrageous Openness by Tosha Silver
- How I incorporate guided meditations for when I need help easing into sleep
- Just like yoga, some days are better than others. It took me 10 years until I actually enjoyed Warrior 1 in a class for the first time.
- I also tried Kundalini yoga for the first time recently—awesome! Love the focus on breathing, chakras, and awakening and enlivening our energy body. Not your typical yoga class, but if you’re open to it, you might just experience one of the best natural highs when you leave. Shout out to Sally Hope
- Mindset: Meditation is the most important thing I can do today (and I now really believe that); gratitude in the last few minutes of the practice.
- Bonus: Notice your performance, clarity, focus, calm over time; intrinsic benefits will start to set in
- The benefits I have noticed in my life:
- Sharper, more focused strategic work; I know what is most important on any given day
- Feeling like I have an inner resourcefulness for when things get tough
- Being more observant of a busy versus calm mind
- One deep breath can take me into a centered feeling during stressful situations
- Overall I am more loving, accepting, compassionate, grateful and trusting
HOW MEDITATION RE-WIRED MY BRAIN + FIVE TIPS FOR MAKING THE HABIT STICK
- Lucent newsletter archives
- Article: The Basics of Mindfulness Meditation
- Pranayama, or breathing exercises: breath of fire, alternate nostril, relaxation response low, deep breaths
- White Lotus in Santa Barbara where I completed a two-week residential yoga teacher training in 2010
- Sunshine School in Chiang Mai, Thailand where I completed Thai massage training in 2012
- My monthly Moleskine notebook planners (where I write “__Meditate” every day on my to-do list so I can get the ping of satisfaction when I check it off)
- Dan Harris’ panic attack on GMA; his 10% Happier book, app (comes with your own coach!), and podcast
- Additional apps:
- 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works—A True Story by Dan Harris
- Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom by Rick Hanson
- Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening by Joseph Goldstein
- Outrageous Openness by Tosha Silver
- Pivot Podcasts:
- Belly of the Pivot Beast: On Bouncing Back from Zero with Adam Chaloeicheep
- Stacy Sims on Somatics: Why How You Sit Might Cause Stress
- Intuition and Frequency with Penney Peirce
- Dreams: A Guide to 24-Hour Consciousness with Penney Peirce
- Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking with Oliver Burkeman
Check out other episodes of the Pivot Podcast here. Be sure to subscribe via iTunes, Android or SoundCloud, and if you enjoy the show I would be very grateful for a rating and/or review! Sign-up for my twice monthly behind-the-business newsletter to receive curated round-ups of what I’m reading, watching, listening to, and new tools I’m geeking out on.