Breathing clean air, engulfed by the sole sound of wind blowing through the trees. Warmed by sunshine overhead. Smelling pine needles and watching the water ripple in streams below. Serenity. This is my spot atop a mountain in Aspen, Colorado. The perfect place to meditate and be mindful. Why Meditate? It helps you deal with stress and negative emotions which can influence your overall health and wellness impacting your immune system and ability to be productive. In a world sometimes spinning out of control, on constant information overload, detachment is the only way to survive and reset. That means putting down the mobile devices, forgetting about social media, email, and texts, and focusing on something that makes you happy. I used to struggle with meditation, basically sitting still, shutting down my brain, pretending not to be anxious about work or what I needed to get done. Meditation taught me to let go and live in the moment. I have learned that connecting with nature, whether by sitting beneath a tree, near a body of water, or among chirping birds, is a great way to get grounded and separate from life’s stress. You can meditate anywhere. Your car, home, the gym . Here are my top meditation tips:

  1. Pick a location that brings you peace and comfort.
  2. Sit in a comfortable position. Sit still.
  3. Select a focal point and aim a soft gaze at it, or simply close your eyes.
  4. Concentrate on your breathing. Deep breaths calm the mind and body, and can create a grounding rhythm.
  5. Clear your mind of To-Do lists and reflect on the positive things in your life.
  6. Don’t fixate; Let your mind wander. Allowing your mind some freedom can give it a vacation from stress, granting you mental relief and then greater mental clarity when you emerge from your session.
  7. Commit to a regular practice, even if it’s brief. Daily, weekly, make meditation a priority.
  8. Treat meditation the same way you treat exercise, a healthy diet, a vacation. It’s now an essential part of your life.

By Lauren Cohn Chicago Journalist & Certified Holistic Health Coach