How meditating a few minutes a day can help you cope with today’s information overload
I love the Internet and social media is great, but sometimes it can all just be a bit too much. Turn on your phone and within minutes you’ll be greeted with a surfeit of prompts – each demanding your immediate attention: a Facebook notification here, a Viber message there, update reminders on the regular, all topped off with an endless stream of emails. It’s very easy to get sucked into the vortex. If you can relate with this overwhelm, then read on to know how meditating a few minutes a day helps cope with today’s information overload.
What is meditation and how do you meditate?
Meditation is the exercise of intentionally focusing awareness on one single thing. A lot of guided exercises will ask you to focus on your breath, but – at its core – it’s really all about focusing on a solitary stimulus at a time.
To start meditating, follow these steps by meditation instructor Paul Harrison:
- Get comfortable and have good posture.
- Take a few deep breaths to start.
- Tell yourself how long you will meditate for. You might like to set a timer for this.
- Silence your mind. Quiet your thoughts. Focus your awareness. If you do have stray thoughts, just let them come and go as they will.
- Focus on your breathing.
- Carry on for however long you decided to meditate for.
This is the most basic way to meditate.
So how is meditation helpful?
According to Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D. of Psychology Today, the following are some of the scientifically-validated benefits of meditation:
- it boosts your health by increasing immune function and decreasing pain;
- it boosts your happiness by decreasing depression and stress;
- it boosts your social life by increasing your emotional intelligence and making you more compassionate; and
- it improves your productivity by improving your memory and your ability to think out of the box.
Here’s another compelling argument for practicing it: there are so many factors in the external environment you are not able to control. What you can control, though, is your internal environment. You can’t control a lot of things, but you can control your mind and thus how you respond to the world.
If you have a hard time concentrating on just one thought at a time, take comfort in the fact that it’s impossible to completely silence your mind. To have a healthy mind is to have a mind full of thoughts, says Blon Lee of Tiny Buddha (bookmark this site!!). The most important thing when meditating is to not judge yourself for getting distracted. Don’t try to resist those annoying thoughts too. The more you try to resist them, the more they’ll bother you. Accept them as they are, let go, and then try to bring your attention back to that thing you were originally focusing on.
Meditation resources for beginners
If you want to try meditating, let me direct you to a few of my favorite online sources for doing so. To start, let me share my favorite morning routine by Deepak Chopra. (Mr. Chopra has other meditation videos on YouTube, but this is a good starting point if you’re a meditation newbie like me.) It takes only six minutes so it’s perfect for those who don’t have much time to spare:
You can also follow Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh on Facebook or read his books like Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life for tips on mindfulness, meditating, and being in the moment. I adore this orange meditation post of his. It’s deceptively simple and really profound:
Another great reminder to stop and smell the roses and not let life pass you by is this Facebook page by illustrator Mollycules called Buddha Doodles:
Needless to say, meditating is a wonderful addition to your self-care routine. It’s a mini-break that helps you effectively manage the sensory overload that is the Internet.
By the way, I might also write about meditation apps soon! I tried Calm‘s 7-day free trial and really enjoyed its bedtime stories feature, so we’ll see.
Have you tried meditating? What online resources do you use to help with your meditation practice? 🙂
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