To misquote a piece of '80s movie wisdom, life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and meditate every so often, you could miss it.
Simply put, meditation can make your life better. The practice has a host of health benefits: It can reduce stress, ease inflammation and lower blood pressure. It can also help a person feel more present -- a state that leads to productivity, creativity and comfort. If you've ever left the office feeling entirely drained but unsure of what you accomplished, meditation can fix that, too.
A simple coffee (or tea!) meditation is a good place for newbies to start, but works well even for advanced meditators who are stretched for time. Purposeful pauses -- mini meditations during the day -- offer the opportunity to bring your mind and body back to the present moment, Janice L. Marturano, founder and executive director of the Institute for Mindful Leadership, told HuffPost. She suggests finding something you routinely do that engages your physical senses -- whether that's drinking your morning cup of coffee or getting dressed before work -- and turning it into a purposeful pause. Marturano stressed that the action must employ your physical sensations (the smell of brewed coffee, the feel of fabric grazing your arms), because these can only be felt in the present moment.
Below, the steps to engage in a simple coffee meditation. You can substitute any physical action for the coffee drinking.
- Start the practice as soon as you walk to get your coffee. Feel your feet touching the floor, listen to the sounds around you.
- Once you're at the coffee machine, feel the cup in your hands, notice the smell of beverage, recognize the warm that penetrates through the mug to your hands.
- If you're adding cream or sugar, be in touch with the action of pouring, the sound the grains make when leaving their packets and hitting the surface of the coffee.
- As you bring the coffee to your mouth, be aware of any salivation or physical feelings of anticipation for the drink.
It's natural to get distracted. Your mind can wander and other thoughts arise -- perhaps you can't get past the 9 a.m. meeting that didn't go too well, or a rude fellow commuter on your way into the office -- but each time it does, Marturano advises, bring your attention back to the physical sensations you're experiencing with the coffee. You might be alternating between distracted thoughts and thoughts of the present moment for the entirety of your mini meditation. But Marturano says that even that experience, even if it took three minutes, gives your mind and your body a chance to switch off of autopilot.
"It allows the body and mind to rest, to be fully aware of what's happening," she said. "Then you can go on with what's next and make a conscious choice about what's important now."
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