Bulletproof Habit #1 – Meditation Stage 1
Isolation could be the perfect setting to start ramping up your fitness goals. That’s not a stretch. The real results are brought in by sticking by positive habits through hell and high water. The trick is in choosing the right habits, scaling them down, and steadily building them up to become invincible forces of nature.
And it all starts with two minutes, or less. At first. That’s all the commitment you need to muster.
The Pros of Meditation
- Sets the mood for the day.
- Raises mindfulness.
- Greater productivity and focus.
- Lowers stress, raises self-control.
The Cons of Meditation
- It can be really uncomfortable to sit cross-legged.
- If you haven’t realised how scattered and incessant your thoughts are, you will now.
- Ten minutes can be two hours.
Let’s start with a disclaimer. I’m not a yogi in any sense, and I’ll probably need a few years of cushion-sitting before I graduate from the beginner phase. But I’ve realised the benefits of meditation, and I’ve bought in. To the point where I’ve put this as number one in the bulletproof list.
Meditation is the polar opposite point to many damaging distractions that can bring you down over the course of the day. When you can sit down, shut your eyes, and relegate your thoughts to just the path of the breath, that’s an exercise in mindfulness.
Being mindful simply means focusing on what you’re doing, rather than letting attention frantically dart back and forth, which is known as mindless behaviour.
It’s a crucial step in the fitness game, identifying the difference between the two states of mind, and realising most of the bad habits are an exercise in mindlessness. You didn’t plan to reach for the biscuits, but you did it anyway. You didn’t plan to linger around facebook for two hours, but you still managed it.
These behaviours occur without intention, or much thought at all. They become hard-wired in the brain to the point where you don’t even realise what you’re doing. And there’s no better way to snap out of it than concentrated sessions of meditation.
The trouble with meditation, is getting into it. People wave it off because they’re too busy, and when they do give it a chance, the mind starts racing off as soon as the eyes close. The beginning can be frustrating, and that’s why I’d like to temper expectations. Just like trying your first weight session, or your first time on skates, it will probably be a disaster. Then you keep coming back, and the rhythm starts to settle in.
Introducing Two Minute Meditation
- Pick a time and location that you’re going to be able to repeat each day. This happens to be the most important aspect of building it into a habit.
- Sit down on the floor with your legs crossed. Keep your back against a wall if sitting upright is uncomfortable.
- Make sure no-one’s about to barge in on you.
- Set a timer for two minutes.
- Close your eyes and breathe deeply, in and out through the nose. Count the breaths.
- Try not to think.
- If you do, at least you realised it. Then focus back on the breath.
- The timer hits, and the habit’s been successfully ticked off. But feel free to keep going for ten minutes.
- Repeat once a day. Same time, same place. Note down if you’re feeling any different after a session.