As a New Year begins, many people have made New Year’s resolutions that have probably already been forgotten. There are many articles out there describing how to keep motivating yourself to continue your efforts to keep the promise you made to yourself at the beginning of the year.
This year however, I decided to try to increase my happiness in a way that may seem counterintuitive at first. I decided I needed more nothing in my life. That’s right, nothing. No efforts, no having to motivate myself to do something…just nothing.
Now, before you dismiss me altogether, let me explain. In a world where stress is increasing exponentially, it is important to find time for ourselves and recharge. One very good way to do this is through mindfulness meditation.
Taking a few minutes every day to sit (or lay down) and concentrating on my breath while being aware of my thoughts (but not giving in to them) is best perfect gift I can give myself this year.
The ability to live in the present moment is reinforced every time you redirect your attention to your breath while accepting your thoughts instead of being influenced by them.
In a study of Tibetan Buddhist monks, results showed that meditation activated areas of the brain associated with happiness and positive emotions. Furthermore, other studies on meditation have shown that just 15 minutes of meditation a day can produce such changes as:
- Lowered high blood pressure
- Reduced pain
- Improved immune system
- Emotional stability (decreases in anxiety/depression)
- Increased creativity
When we look at all the positive results we can gain from meditation it is sometimes hard to believe why everyone isn’t meditating regularly.
Although it may look like I am doing nothing while I am sitting in my chair with my eyes closed and concentrating on my breathing, there are actually a lot of things going on. Don’t be bothered if people think you are doing nothing. Take pride in it! After all, you are actually increasing your health and happiness levels and it only takes 15 minutes a day.
If you are new to meditation, you can easily find free guided meditations on YouTube or from Google searches. Once you have found the meditation, play it and enjoy doing nothing.