Tuesday, November 15, 2016

10% Happier?

At a work conference this summer, I attended a breakout session about reducing stress.  In that session, we were led through a 10 minute guided meditation.  I was reluctant - but came away with a relaxed body and an open mind.  Perhaps I would try some of the reading materials suggested by an instructor.  One book turned out to be particularly good, 10% Happier by Dan Harris. I enjoyed the book a great deal.  If a type-A, highly competitive news person could benefit by meditation, perhaps I should give it a try.

Now (almost) every morning, I start the day with a few stretches, maybe some light exercises, and then 5 minutes of breathing meditation.  I set a timer on my phone and stop when it goes off.  Some days it’s easier than others.  “Just” concentrate on your breath.  Breath in, breath out - just think of the breath.  When your mind wanders - and it always does - come back to the breathing.  Most days it feels good physically, the light movement and breathing is relaxing.  On other days, it feels good both physically and mentally - and my ability to concentrate and remain - in the moment stays with me all day.  If you need a recharge - just stop what you’re doing and breath in, then breath out.  I find that the deeper the breath, the better.  You can do it in meetings (provided you you’re not a heavy breather type.  It’s great in the car - especially good while stuck in traffic or red lights.  

Now I have a meditation “practice” -  if I dare call it that.  It’s about breathing, paying attention to the breath, staying in the moment, focusing on the here-and-now.  It’s like the concept of “Be Here Now” that I encountered in a corporate training last year.  And of course there’s a Beatles connection:  George Harrison recorded a song, Be Here Now, on his 1973 album Living in the Material World.