Stressed out? Feeling stretched with too much to do? Want to just escape from your life for a bit to a faraway island for some peace and serenity?
I have learned from years of meditation that some simple techniques help anchor us through difficult times and make the good times more enriching.
Here are some tips I have used to find serenity in my life:
1. "I am" Breathing Exercise. You can do this any time, any place (even when you are stuck in traffic). Its a simple breathing exercise: Every time you inhale, mentally say the word "I"; and every time you exhale, mentally say the word "am" Pay attention to how the breath flows in and out of your body, and visualize the breath spreading from your lungs through your chest, down your arms and legs. The "I am" breathing exercise is meant to remind you that your true self is empowered, in control and creative -- you not bound by your job title, your income, your age, your appearance or anything else.
2. Watch a video. Never underestimate the power of visual language to tap deeply into your subconscious to bring about a pure sense of happiness and inner peace. On YouTube and Vimeo, there are plenty of videos of ocean waves, falling rain, flower fields and other calming imagery that will be sure to bring an inner smile to your spirit. Create your own library of images that soothe your soul. Here is one that brings a smile to my face:
3. Practice the 3 Cs. One of my favorite exercises growing up was practicing the 3 Cs : no criticizing, condemning or complaining. Sometimes consciously changing your inner dialogue can have drastic results on how you see the world and interact with others. See if you can practice this exercise for one hour, or even better, one day.
4. Learn how to meditate. Meditation is one of the best lifelong skills you can give yourself for your longterm happiness and health. People who meditate regularly tend to be happier, live longer and lead healthier lives because they are better equipped to handle life's speed bumps and detours. Don't know where to start? Check out this illustrated guide on a simple, everyday meditation:
5. Anchor your thoughts with an intent. All action begins with an intention, whether consciously or subconsciously. So why not consciously make an intent that will pave the way for positive actions and greater happiness?
Whether your intent is abstract ("My intent is to be the change I wish to see in this world") or very specific ("My intent is to go to the gym today before dinnertime"), make a point to express it by writing it down or posting it on www.intent.com. By making a point every single day to make an intention, you are taking control of the happy and productive life you want to lead.
Mallika Chopra is a meditation instructor and the founder of www.intent.com. Join Mallika for "Seren-i-tea in the Square" -- a public meditation in San Francisco on June 25th in Union Square. Click here to learn more.