For a while now, my friend Lacy and I have been chatting on the topic of "happiness". What is it? Where does it come from? How do we get more of it? What makes us really happy? What makes one person a "happy person" and another not? The questions are endless, but the research, it turns out, is fun! We have in no way become experts, but have learned one thing: Happiness is, among other things, a practice. So like anything else we want to do better, we must make it a habit.
Lacy has been 'practicing' for a long time now, and I feel she has a lot to share on the topic. So when I decided to start this blog, I asked her if she would do regular guest-posts to talk about it. I plan to make a habit of reading them. xoxo, Leigh
Sit with it. On Meditation.
Lacy here. I've just emerged from 4 days in bed with the flu. It was the rotten kind. After days of fever and sore throat I was finally starting to feel like myself again. I got in bed on Thursday and on Easter Sunday about 5:00 I decided it was time to get up and venture downstairs to sit in the sunlight on the patio while the getting was good. I got to thinking that 4 days spent any other way would have been a luxury and I realized that for the last 4 days I didn't think about much. I spent my days focused inward on the sensations swirling or pounding inside my body, on the fever that was fighting for me and on my breath. When I couldn't breathe I stacked up all my pillows, covered my eyes with a damp cloth, closed my eyes and focused inward on that spot between my eyebrows, often called the third eye. Each time the fever would spike again I'd do the same. 10 minutes would turn to 50 and before I knew it I had been meditating for over an hour.
Meditation has become a way of life for me and a key ingredient to my habits of happiness (even through sickness). In the last few weeks I've even gone so far as to buy myself a fancy meditation cushion.
Mediation reduces blood pressure, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It reduces stress levels by creating a safe quiet space for you to go to and hit your internal reset button. Once you cultivate that sense of calm within you will be able to more easily access it anytime you need. Meditation won't suck the stress out of your life but it WILL give you the tools you need to better handle and therefore reduce the stress in your life. For me less stress has always equaled more happiness.
Are you giving yourself deliberate moments on quiet each day?
Would you be willing to?
Start small, find 5 minutes at the same time everyday that you can carve out to sit, close your eyes and just breathe. Set your phone to vibrate 5 minutes later so you know when you're done. Once you master 5 up it to 7 and so on. Before you know it time will pass in a blink and you will feel refreshed and grounded.
Here's to the best 5 to 20 minutes in your day!
Lacy Young is a professional happy person. You can find out more about her on her blog.