If you’re feeling overwhelmed with trying to keep up with our daily demands, trust me—you’re not alone. We start each day with good intentions of accomplishing our goals, but when push comes to shove, we find it hard to focus. From continuously checking for updates on our devices and worrying about our lengthy to-do lists to letting our minds wander in every direction, we end up spinning our wheels instead of meeting our goals.
The mind is a busy place, and unless we rein it in occasionally, it can get in the way of our ability to focus and concentrate. A short, 10-minute practice of meditation every day can help the mind stay present so that we aren’t led astray by our aimless thoughts.
The benefit of meditating is that it quiets the mind and heightens concentration without all that mental chatter. It’s like getting away from someone who can’t stop talking—only that someone happens to be you.
Use these simple guidelines to take yourself out of mind-chatter mode and into concentration mode:
Set aside a time in your day when you devote yourself to your meditation practice. Do your best not to break your date, but if you have to cancel occasionally, be sure to reschedule.
Don’t procrastinate or make excuses. That’s your mind talking again. If your normal routine is to turn on the TV when you wake up, meditate instead. If you work from home, take a break and meditate. You don’t even have to get up from your chair. Or try meditating before going to bed. In time, you just may want to extend your practice to morning, noon, and night!
Close your eyes and become aware of the rhythm of your breath filling your lungs as you inhale, then emptying as you exhale. If your mind begins to wander, bring it back to your breath. It may take a little time, but you’ll soon notice that your mind tends to wander less, and you’ve come to appreciate that undisturbed time more and more.
Remove any judgment from your mind and push away your self-criticism. When you allow yourself to just “be,” you begin to feel boundless or limitless as you tap into the energy field that is simply your oneness with the world.
Staying focused in the daytime is especially hard if you are sleep-deprived. If you have trouble falling asleep, utilize your breathing as you do in your daily meditation to calm the mind and body. Imagine yourself floating on a cloud. When you inhale, say to yourself, “I’m sleepy.” When you exhale, say to yourself, “Let go.”
Along with meditation, you can help yourself reach your goals by devising a daily plan. It can be as simple as a checklist or as involved as a vision board that provides a visual reminder. Writing your daily progress in a journal also works well.
Once you’ve reached one of your goals, celebrate by doing something nice for yourself. Get a massage or go on a fun outing. Understand that you’re now in charge of where you want your mind to go, and you can manifest your vision.
Originally published at www.mindbodygreen.com