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Have you ever been so overwhelmed with random shit that you just can’t focus?

The kid is screaming, your boss is calling, you’re calling your employees, your employees think you’re available at all hours, your spouse needs attention, the dogs need walked, etc.

Yeah…that’s life. It doesn’t get any more organized or predictable. There will be days where you want to rip your hair out or maybe you would rather have your teeth pulled without anesthetic.

Life will always be hectic

Living is unpredictable. The unexpected happens, but you don’t have to let it control how you act. You can be either reactive or proactive.

It’s time that you take control of how you act in certain situations. Will you be calm and collected or will you explode in anger? Will you maintain your stiff upper lip or break down and cry?

I opt to maintain a level of control that most people envy. Yes, I still get grumpy when I’m hungry, or feel anger inside when I get slighted, but there’s no reason that I should let my emotions control my actions.

I’d much rather stay centered, wouldn’t you?

Finding your center

Luckily, there’s a practice that has been around for thousands of years to find and maintain your center. Eastern religions practiced it for 2500 years before it was finally adopted in Western society in the mid-to-late 1900’s.

It’s called meditation. And I love it.

If you want to be more focused, less stressed, happier – meditation may be the answer. Other benefits include increased cardiovascular health and longevity. Yes – studies suggest meditation can help you live longer.

It’s a difficult, rewarding, relaxing experience that can truly change your life. But, as with any habit, I highly recommend you start slow.

Don’t jump into meditation thinking you can sit for an hour and suddenly have a regular meditation practice. Start with 5 minutes per day and work your way up.

It took me years to develop a regular meditation practice, and I’ve been sticking to a daily meditation of at least 5 minutes (usually 15-20 minutes) for the past 54 days as of date I’m writing this article. The results are astounding.

Along with a regular fitness regime, meditation has helped reduce my resting heart rate to around 63 bpm, my blood pressure is at a healthy 112/61 and my focus is through the roof. I have energy and I’m happy, even when I would normally be stressed. Meditation has made me both physically and mentally healthier.

To be clear – meditation is not religion.

Practicing meditation and mindfulness has nothing to do with religion. It’s just a healthy mental exercise to help you focus on silence, or your breath, or a focus object.

Focusing on your breath to eliminate some mental noise isn’t something spiritual unless you want it to be.

My typical morning meditation is sitting with some rain sounds, listening to a disembodied voice guide me through a breathing and relaxation exercise, with a few reminders to focus on my breath.

The reminders are well-timed for when my brain starts to drift to other topics, like my plans for the day, daydreaming about the future, or worrying about one of the dogs playing in the living room.

Yes, after years of meditation I still let my mind drift sometimes. And it can be frustrating, but once I notice my mind drifting, I’m able to gently guide my thoughts back to a simple inhale, exhale.

Once I’m done meditating, I reward myself with some coffee (honestly, I never even make my coffee in the morning until I’ve finished my meditation) and move on with my day feeling refreshed.

Calling on you to meditate…

Forget the strange looks you might get when you tell someone you meditate and just start doing it.

I used to use Headspace guided meditations, which were great, but it got a bit expensive for me when I was going through some financially tight times, so I had to switch.

Now, I’m a big fan of Calm (the app on Android is a bit buggy, but the website works well), which I have been using for the past several months. They have a free 7-day trial that’s worth a shot, and the options for background sounds are a great addition. It’s about $4 cheaper per month than Headspace, if I remember correctly.

Head to your favorite meditation location and give it a shot, and don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t get your mind to slow down. It’s normal, just start slow and keep practicing.

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