Build your mental strength and reduce stress through meditation

A disaster can really test your patience. The stress, chaos, and the disruption of your normal daily routine can create enormous stress. This is one of those great moments where you care so much for your family, and yet they can drive you crazy at the same time. 

A simple thing anyone can do is take a quick mental break. If you've never meditated, or it's been a long time, here's a few quick steps you can take to help lower your blood pressure and come back ready to take on the world. 
  • Pick your mantra. You’ve heard of the classic “ohmmmmm.” That works, but if you think it’s a bit cheesy, find a word or phrase that has meaning for you. Maybe it’s a short prayer, or just a couple words that make you feel comfortable. 
  • Find a quiet place to sit where no one will bother you while you’re meditating. 
  • Find your position. You could sit in a chair, but I find sitting on a small cushion on the ground, with your back straight, is the best for relaxing, without falling asleep. Your hands should stay in one place, maybe resting on your knees, or folded in your lap. 
  • Set a time limit. Use a timer on your watch, or even an alarm clock. I realize an alarm may be a jarring sound, but you want to meditate for a set amount of time, not just until you feel like stopping. Start with five minutes, and work your way up eventually to 30 minutes, or even an hour. 
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Your heart rate will slow down, your breathing will slow down, and you’ll begin to relax. 
  • Slowly repeat your mantra, over and over. Notice when you start to think about something that is not your mantra, and gently remind yourself to go back to repeating your mantra. With practice, your mind will wander less, and your brain will focus for longer periods on nothing but your mantra. 
  • When your alarm goes off, give don’t respond immediately. Take a moment before you open your eyes to become aware of the sounds around you. Now open your eyes and get ready to return to your day. 

How to get started

People will get anxious when they see you calm and serene. Tell your spouse you need a few minutes alone. Find a quiet place, set your count down timer, and start some hard core meditation. For more inspiration on what you can do in your down time, tap on Ideas to help the course fly.