As a medical student, you may currently be in one of the most demanding phases of your life. Meeting academic challenges, taking care of patients’ needs, dealing with hectic schedules, and trying to have a personal life, could easily exhaust you. Achieving all of this requires a calm, focused mind and a strong sense of center. In order to expend your energy in so many different directions successfully, you have to operate from the deep, calm core of who you are. This way, everything you do will be much more effective and seemingly effortless.
Meditation increases your ability to stay calm and focused. It’s not as mysterious as some may think. No need to get up an hour earlier each day, or try to levitate. You can begin meditating by simply shifting your attention away from your thoughts and tethering it to your breath. This relaxed, single pointed focus makes you present and peaceful. Your mind is quiet, but you are awake and aware. That’s all meditation is. You can do it anywhere, anytime, and it can take little as 20 seconds.
Try this while seated:
1) Rest your hands on your knees and close your eyes.
2) Take one long inhale.
3) ~ Pause ~ and silently count to three.
4) Exhale slowly
Practice three rounds.
Do you feel a little different? That was meditation happening. You just moved your awareness away from the thoughts in your mind, and placed it on your breath. A seated meditation practice is several of those breaths strung together, a commitment to stay with it, and resist the urge to get up and do something else. You can start with five minutes a day and build a regular meditation practice, or just remember to take three conscious breaths when you feel stressed. If you don’t remember to do it throughout your day, try taking three conscious breaths when you wake up, or before you go to bed. These mini meditations can help slow things down when you’re feeling overwhelmed, and awaken more presence in your daily life.
About the author
Paula Lopez is a yoga and pilates instructor, holistic health coach, and meditation facilitator. For more information on meditation, health, and fitness, visit: www.paulayoga.com