NBA star Kobe Bryant starts each morning with mindfulness meditation.
“It’s the first thing I do when I get up,” Bryant told the Huffington Post. “I find that to be the best way to start the day. It gets me in balance before the busyness and hecticness of the day kicks off.”
He’s not the only one. Jerry Seinfeld gets up at 6:15 a.m. to meditate because it helps him get more work done later in the day, and Oprah Winfrey meditates for 20 minutes in the morning and in the afternoon to detach from the chaos of each day.
Why do these titans with jam-packed schedules start each day by doing nothing?
“We get up freaking out about our day, so it’s a great way to settle the mind and gain perspective,” Nichtern says.
For starters, it helps you remember your intentions. “There’s a relationship between mindfulness and intention,” he says. “Meditating first thing in the morning can connect what you’re doing and the intentions behind it.”
Practicing mindfulness meditation also connects you to your body, allowing you to create a sense of muscle memory to intensely focus on what you’re doing, Nichtern says.
It not only helps you develop a deep level of focus, but it helps you regain focus when your mind wanders, he says, which can be helpful all day long.
“During the day, it’s easier to come back to the task at hand after practicing an exercise [meditation] that’s about bringing your mind back to the task at hand,” Nichtern says.
Of course, it’s important to be patient and understand that it takes time to master the art of meditation. There may be some immediate benefits, but the longer-term benefits like better health and improved focus come with practice.
Here’s the four-step tutorial Nichtern offers to anyone who wants to learn to meditate:
- Take your seat. Find a clear, comfortable, and quiet place where you can stay focused and alert.
- Check in. Take about 30 seconds to think about what’s on your mind and just let it all sink in.
- Mindfulness of breath. Don’t treat it as a breathing exercise, but use peaceful and deep breaths as the anchor to your meditation.
- Awareness of thoughts. Focus on your thoughts, and when your mind gets lost, be sure to bring it back.
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