I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing.—T. S. Eliot
Close your eyes, put your hand on your chest, and feel your heartbeat. Focus on slowing down your breath and relaxing every part of your body, beginning at your head, down through your jaw, shoulders, chest, arms, legs, and toes. Imagine that every cell in your body is operating at its utmost potential. Envision every muscle and bone healthy and strong. Bring your awareness to your breath. Pretend you’re breathing through a straw slowly. Inhale to the count of ten and exhale even more slowly. Try to slow your heartbeat.
Studies show that we can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and the risk of heart attacks and strokes, and diminish anxiety just by being still and calming our bodies and minds. Meditation helps the mind find a happy ground where it’s not working so hard and spinning out of control. It helps control anxious and negative thoughts.
We live in a world that exposes us to way too much information. Take a look at network or cable news programs; watch the constant ticker tape running with breaking news stories while the newscaster is interjecting information. Note the station logo in the corner and the backdrop of moving designs. Unfortunately, we have become used to information overload; we need to be still and listen to the messages our bodies are communicating.
Ever walk into a room and wonder why you’re there? We’re a nation—a world—of overachievers; we do too much and we think too much. In one of my favorite movies, The Last Samurai, a samurai warrior taught Tom Cruise’s character how to fight with a sword, but he also shared life lessons about overthinking. Here’s the conversation.
Warrior: Please forgive. Too many mind[s].
Nathan (Tom): Too many mind?
Warrior: Mind sword, mind people watch, mind enemy.
Do you notice that your mind becomes too busy and you tend to overthink things? Be still and calm your many minds.
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