David McCrae is personal development trainer and author of the ebook The Last 60 Minutes. I had the opportunity to read a chapter from his book and summarize two basic ideas that are powerful tools in order to create more awareness in life.
1. Finding awareness
Meditation has a ton of positive effects: reduced stress and emotional reactivity; improved concentration and memory; increased empathy and compassion. If there was medication that had the same effects as meditation we would all be taking it.
Here are five simple steps to start your meditation practice:
1. Set aside some time in a quiet space where you will be undisturbed for at least 20 minutes. This is a long enough period to allow yourself to shift your state and open up your consciousness, which is how we increase our awareness.
2. Sit in a chair with your hands resting in your lap, or lie on (not in!) your bed with your hands by your side.
3. For beginners I would recommend starting off with guided meditations (Jason Stephenson has an extensive collection on his Youtube channel), then progress to using music without vocals.
4. Breath in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Envision cool, light air entering your body, and hot black air escaping. Breathe into your belly, not your lungs. This fully engages your diaphragm for deep, relaxed breathing.
5. Count your breaths. Each inhale is an odd number. Each exhale an even number. Count the breathes up to ten. When you get to ten, start again at 1. If at anytime your thoughts wander and you lose count, just start the process again at 1.
2. Building your own identity
Your personal constitution decrees the type of person you want to be, and what you are going to create. This statement sets the foundation for how you wish to live your life. The constitution is created by writing two documents.
The first is your values statement. What are the key components of who you are? What are your strengths? What qualities do you wish to put forth into the world? Start by identifying your main values (e.g. mine are Positive Mindset, Authenticity, Drive, Love and Leadership) and then identify the sub values that contribute to that value (for Positive Mindset mine are power of thought, gratitude, optimism and hope, learning from pain). Take some time over this. Write out examples of how you are going to express those sub values. This is a vision for how you want to live and express yourself every day. It should be a document of at least a couple of pages, and it deserves to have some time invested in it.
You then create your purpose statement. What do you want to create? Who are you going to influence? What is your life’s mission? How are using your Life Story Gifts to serve the world? Identify your main purposes and again identify the sub-purposes that will contribute to that main purpose. Again these are the things that are going to make your life mean something, so spend some time writing down a couple of pages. Then again, create that one-page summary and stick it alongside your value statement.
Change in life doesn`t happen overnight, so be patient and focus on small baby steps on a daily basis. This way is more useful then too big changes overnight.
Originally published at medium.com