Over the past year, I’ve been fortunate enough to make incredible leaps in my transition from a desk job to a freelancer. It’s been a whirlwind of excitement and trial and error trying to manage my time while also managing to not exile myself from society. It’s safe to say I’m still long ways away from completely understanding how to find a balance between work and play, but I believe I have found a tool that anyone can integrate into their daily routine to achieve success whilst remember to call your friends and love your boyfriend.
This tool is meditation, and I’m about to rock your world with all the benefits meditating once a day can bring to you.
The Importance of Balance
Balance is key. It’s a simple idea that for some (me) is quite hard to execute. When I have ideas, my brain flips a switch and I’m off to the races putting 110% into making this idea successful. But, what’s happening to those other things I’m working on? They’re left in the dust. Similar to projects or ideas, if you find yourself deep in a relationship but become enamored with another, that first relationship is left in the dark.
When we lose our sense of balance, our mental and physical being start to suffer. For example, if you start an extreme diet without easing into the transition, you become irritable and moody. Your body is communicating to you that you need to take a step back and give it something familiar. That is why 65% of people gain back weight after an extreme diet – they never gave their body a chance to grow accustomed to the lifestyle change.
Changing our lifestyle is essentially what we’re doing whenever we throw the body and mind off balance. We need time to get comfortable and into a routine, so when you put 110% into a new project or a new relationship, it’s no wonder you feel off-balance.
Meditation Allows For Equanimity
Meditation has always been daunting to me. Sitting still and quiet with no stimuli is such a contrast from what we’re used to, I think we all may get a little fearful when we’re left alone with the mind and body. However, it is within that stillness that we are able to find clarity and peace. That sharpness can be harnessed in a way that allows you to be productive without throwing off the balance of work and play.
Meditation allows us to witness the magic and treasure in basic human experiences. It allows us to really feel the earth beneath, to smell the scents around, and to hear the beauty of the universe outside and within us. It’s a way to grasp just how infinite we are as connected beings – to others and the universe. It helps you to stay in the present moment free from worry about the future.
By giving ourselves permission to be a witness of the mind, we find equanimity, clarity, and concentration. We are allowing ourselves to just be, by not grasping to nice experiences or straying away from unpleasant ones. That equanimity that we find can be carried along throughout your day giving you an opportunity to focus in on what matters while not being distracted by what does not serve you. The sense of calmness that meditation brings allows you to not run around like a chicken with its head cut off and actually get some work done.
With meditation, you’re checking out for a moment to check back in and really tap into the productivity within your mind and body.
Start With This Simple Meditation Practice
Integrating meditation into your daily routine sounds like a chore, but if you take baby steps (remember, no drastic lifestyle changes) then you are giving yourself an opportunity to really make meditation happen.
As of now, I only meditate for 7 minutes every morning. As I feel comfortable, I will work my way up, but taking it slow and allowing yourself to just be is the whole point of this practice. Don’t try to bite off more than you can chew when first starting out. Instead, start with 5 minutes in the morning before you do anything else. I only grab for my phone to use the timer, but otherwise, I won’t check any emails or texts until I’m complete.
Meditation apps like HeadSpace offer guided sessions which are incredibly helpful for anyone starting out. If you don’t have a smartphone, then just close your eyes and focus on all your senses one-by-one. I like to try and pick up every noise in my environment while concentrating on my inhales and exhales. From there, I’ll focus on what I can smell, feel, and see behind my closed eyes.
If your thoughts start to wander, rather than giving up and thinking you’re doing it wrong (you’re not!), come back to your breath and allow that thought to cross your mind. We’ll never be completely free from our thoughts, so just say “thank you” to it as it crosses your mind and let it leave. Your breath will always bring you back to the present moment – it really is your best friend when it comes to meditation.
Do you have a daily meditation practice you’ve found useful? Leave it in the comments below so others can try it out – including me!