If you’re like me, nailing my butt to a meditation pillow is a colossal lesson in self-discipline. And before you tell me that the discipline is part of the point, let me share my perspective. My modern day take on why most people believe they “should” meditate is because they want what they perceive meditating will help them achieve: more peace, relaxation and self-awareness.
Disclaimer: That’s me. You may be different and if so, put your “why” for wanting to meditate in place of peace, relaxation and self-awareness
If meditation is working well for you then I encourage you to keep at it. If you find meditation isn’t happening for you or if you go in and out of periods of meditating with little success, then I encourage you to work towards cultivating a set of habits that help you weave more peace, relaxation and self awareness into your daily life.
How to actually weave more peace, relaxation & self-awareness into your life:
1. Schedule non-negotiable time for you.
Everyone has the exact same amount of time available to them and yet we all choose different ways to spend it. We have time available to us (self awareness moment #1: how much time do you spend scrolling the internet?). I get it. Sometimes I fall into the mindless trap of scrolling. The important part is being truthful with ourselves around the story many of us have created that says, “I don’t have the time.” In order for us to have personal time available to us, we actually need to believe that 15-30 minutes per day is worthy of our own personal pursuits.
Here’s how you do it –
You schedule it –
Schedule it just like you would schedule any other important meeting or appointment. I have found that waiting for “my time” to appear in my day doesn’t generally happen if I leave it to chance. I believe that my personal time is one of the most important parts of my day and I guard the time I set aside for myself like it’s a job commitment. I do my very best to schedule my life around it. Not the other way around
For me this time works best early in the day. I find that the way my day starts, is generally the way my day goes and having ‘me’ time early on sets the right tone for how I want my life to feel. Early on might not work for you and that’s okay. When you are picking your time; however, be honest with your own schedule and choose something that has a high probability of working FOR you.
I’ll wait while you schedule that time into your daily schedule …..
2. Own your time and say yes to the things that you truly want to say yes to … and no to the other things.
Peace comes from having a life that is in deep alignment with what truly lights you up. Obligations are never obligations – they are choices and when we realize that we have absolute control over what we are choosing, it becomes easier to make the right choices.
“But I have to go to work!”
Yes, that is likely true for all of us. But where you choose to work and how you integrate “work” into your life is the choice and if your current choice isn’t working for you, start making new choices that bring your work into alignment with how you truly want your life to feel and flow.
The quality of our choices are what make our life feel more peaceful and relaxed – even when it’s busy.
Being busy isn’t what makes our life feel draining. What drains us is the chronic leaking of energy by choosing commitments that don’t serve us. That’s what makes us feel depleted, overworked and over-scheduled.
If you have an extremely hard time with this, practice on the small things first. Do you REALLY want to say yes to that dinner party or evening out with friends? Legitimately ask yourself before you blurt out a YES – simply because there’s room in your schedule.
When someone asks you to share of your time and energy, pause for a moment and check-in with yourself. If it’s not what you actually feel like doing, be willing to say no. No excuses. No long drawn-out explanations. Just an acknowledgement that it’s not going to work for you. I promise you that saying no to things you don’t feel like doing (for whatever reason – and btw, reasons for saying no don’t need to be shared) will still have the Earth spinning on it’s axis. This ONE concept will help you cultivate a deeper sense of what you truly need to feel more peaceful, relaxed and self-aware.
The bonus – when you do say YES to things you’ll feel great because it’ll be aligned with what is right for you.
3. Make self-awareness the priority
If you feel confused about your direction in life or you have a hard time making decisions, start with cultivating more self-awareness. The truth is that we DO know exactly what we need to feel whole, peaceful and inspired. Often times; however, our busyness keeps us from staying connected to our inner compass.
This happens to all of us and when it happens to me, I go inward. It doesn’t mean that I get to stop being a mom, entrepreneur, partner, friend or contributing member of society. It simply means that I have created a deep understanding that only I know the answers to what’s right for me and the way for me to tap into that is to foster more self-awareness.
Some of my favorite ways to foster more self-awareness:
YOGA – The point isn’t about touching your toes or perfecting the pose. It’s about creating space in your BE’-ing while you are reaching for your toes (even if you never actually get to your toes).
NATURE – Being in nature shifts your energy. Sometimes it’ll end up being a day long hike and other times it may be sauntering through the green space in your community or your own backyard.
JOURNALING – Set the scene with a good cup of coffee, pen, writing surface and some inspired journal prompts. Journaling is a stress-free way of creating clarity. If you don’t know where to start, start here with my free journal prompts: http://drlaurafoster.com/journal
BREATHING – Simply closing your eyes and breathing in and out (to the count of 5) and doing so for 30-40 rounds of breath will ground you and help you reset your system. I do this before I go into my clinic to see patients, before I head into my house after a busy day or when I want to reset myself after a period of busyness.
4. Recognize that over-thinking isn’t going to bring you more peace, relaxation and self-awareness.
When we feel confused about a situation or we are striving to get from where we are to where we want to be, it’s natural to spend an inordinate amount of time THINKING about it.
Here’s the issue with this: over-thinking is a trap. Our brains are hard-wired to keep us safe, small and contained. Your soul, however, knows exactly who you are and why you are put on this Earth. Your gifts are hard wired within you and the place to access it isn’t between your ears. It’s within your being and comes through in your gut, your heart and your intuition. It’s accessed by dropping into your breath and the seat of your being.
Does that sound airy-fairy?
Maybe, but I will go on record and say that you actually know exactly what I’m talking about. Our BEST decisions come from our place of knowing and that comes when we tap into our sense of what’s right for us. It’s when we allow the truth to bubble up without knocking it down with a long list of fears and why it’s not possible. THOSE limiting thoughts come from our brain – not from our soul.
When you realize that your own personal journey is always going to be a dance between “thinking” and “knowing” you’ll be able to recognize when your over-thinking becomes an issue. If you feel like your brain is stuck on the hamster wheel of obsessive thoughts, take a break and breathe. When this happens to me, I acknowledge that I’m over-thinking and I create a pattern interrupt.
The point of a pattern interrupt is to consciously change your state and get away from trying to think your way to a solution. To create a pattern interrupt I’ll go to yoga, pull out a journal, take a walk in nature, have a one-person kitchen dance party, go to the gym with my fav playlist blaring in my ears or make an appointment for an adjustment, massage or energy work. Believe me, you’ll never stop thinking so you may as well find a set of habits that allows you to find greater balance between thinking and feeling your way forward.
This awareness alone has literally changed the trajectory of my life and set me on a path of greater connection to what truly fulfills me.
I do actually meditate.
Not really the kind where I cross my legs with my hands on my knees, but the kind where I find space to sit down, close my eyes and focus on my breath. That’s meditation and so is a lot of other activities.
More often than not, however, I find ways to incorporate habits that bring me closer to feeling the way that I perceive meditating is supposed to make me feel and that’s actually the point. Peace, relaxation and self-awareness are available to all of us.
I’d love you to share what habits help you go inwards and connect with what’s truly important to you.