End Your Year in a Peaceful State of Mind

Try these restorative mindfulness practices to find calmness and appreciation.

As the end of the 2018 approaches, let’s try to find more positive energy for restoration and peace. Pick a day, any day, and then spend your chosen day looking for the good in everyone you encounter, as if watching a sunrise over the ocean for the first time—no nitpicking. Smile, even if just in your mind. Sometimes we can feel the energy of our smile permeating the space between us. If you can feel this, let the positive energy resonate in you. Then do the same with other things in your environment. Smile as you pass through places, listen to good music or enjoy nature. At the end of the day, notice how good you feel and how much better your energy is rather than if you’d gotten into a clash with a co-worker or a total stranger ringing up your purchases at a department store.

Now, before the day ends, try this simple meditation. Try to make it last about 20 minutes.

First calm yourself down by taking a few slow, deep breaths, breathing in through your nose and out your mouth.

Now measure your breathing by counting 1-2-3-4 as you breath in, then hold your breath for the same count (or whatever is comfortable), and then release your breath, again to the same count.

Use the bottom of your lungs to pull in the air. This will force you to breathe abdominally.

Put your focus on the sound of your breath; as though you are listening to white noise or the flow of water. Whenever your mind starts jumping around, put your focus back on the sound. You can do this more often as a sort of "brain training," when you are out-and-about your daily activities and not just when you meditate. this measured sound will begin to send your mind the message to call up this calm yet alert and balanced mind-set, and it will automatically do it for you. Now you’ll be able to bring peaceful energy into your mind and body anywhere, any time.

In your meditation, try to slow your breathing down. Optimal is around six to eight breaths per minute. But don’t get hung up on numbers. Do whatever is comfortable for you. Continue this breathing exercise for a few minutes as long as it feels good. Note: it takes some getting used to in order to get everything in synch, but with practice you can make it feel natural and soothing.

Next:

Close your eyes.

Center yourself. You can do this by, as a friend of mine says, taking the elevator "down" or placing your attention on your body's center just a few inches above your navel.

Continue your measured breathing.

Visualize some natural thing in your environment; perhaps a tree or a rock or the like. Let your attention drift straight through your chosen item, try to feel it going through it, into the sky, far into the horizon, into space, beyond stars and galaxies, into a place of just light and vastness.

Put your attention in the middle of this light for a while.

Feel its presence in every particle of space trailing back to where you began your journey at the center of your body.

Continue breathing slowly and luxuriously.

Listen to the sound of your breath and let it guide your mind back to your body.

Mentally acknowledging your part in all life and its part in you.

Enjoy this practice all year round.

Joseph Cardillo, Ph.D. is a national best-selling author. His books include Body Intelligence: Harness Your Body’s Energies for Your Best Life and Be Like Water, a body-energy classic.  Joseph holds a doctorate in holistic psychology and mind-body medicine and has taught his methods to more than 20,000 students. He is currently on a speaking tour that includes colleges, libraries and wellness organizations. Visit josephcardillo.com or follow him on Facebook, and Twitter. Dr. Cardillo is a health columnist for Live Happy.

 

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