Travel back in time with me to a basketball moment that looked a lot like last night's finals:
June 9, 2012. Boston Celtics versus Miami Heat—game 7. Last few minutes of the fourth quarter. The score is close, and LeBron James on fire. Suddenly, the Heat calls a time out. Seconds later, James is on the sidelines—eyes closed, breathing deeply and evenly in and out of his nose.
Not sure where I'm going for this? The point is that before advancing to the NBA Finals, LeBron engineered a moment to reset and recharge. This is otherwise known as meditation.
I think at this point we can all agree that meditation is a good thing. Research from Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and UCLA, to name a few, has proved that meditation has positive effects on health, reduces stress, increases cognitive development in students, decreases hyperactivity, reduces heart disease, improves brain function, expands self-awareness, and the list goes on.
But many people think that meditation involves sitting alone and silent for hours. The truth is, you can actually implement this mindfulness practice at any time— even on the sidelines of a nationally televised NBA game.
Of course, this isn’t to say that there isn't value in extended, solitary meditation sessions. But in a world where we don’t have a ton of extra time, there are lots of small ways you can use mindfulness and small doses of meditation to make your days calmer, happier, and much less stressful.
These are my tips to do just that.
If we want to receive guidance of any kind, we’ve got to open up the channels. Release all the tension. Stretching helps. Journaling’s not so bad. Talking it out is pretty good too.
Set an intention:
Where are you at? What do you want for yourself today? Make it happen—declare it.
What makes you feel steady and stable? Do that often.
Connect to your breath:
Every so often, pay attention to the cadence and just feel it. Let it slow you down and bring you back into the focus of right now.
Check in with yourself. How do you feel? Is your body relaxed? Are you taking care of yourself by giving yourself what you need? Sometimes that’s chocolate by the way…
Engage your senses:
Slow down enough to really hear, taste the flavors, see the colors. Let it all move you.
Believe in something:
Trust the process and stop trying to get somewhere. Here is good. Embrace what’s happening where you are not where you want to be.
Shoot for acceptance instead of judgement:
Offer the next guy an olive branch. Use the same kindness on yourself. Practice unconditional love on yourself and others, it feels good.
Keep being thankful for everything you have, everyone in your life, obstacles that become open doors, and all the little miracles we take for granted.
It just is. Sometimes no amount of control can move the needle so all you can do is nothing. And true control is effortless anyways.
Rinse and repeat:
Now do all of that all over again!
Illustration by Karley Koenig