I Tried Learning the Basics of Meditation and Already Feel Less Stressed | Thrive Global

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– The first time I tried meditating, I laid down on the wooden
floor at a friend’s apartment in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She was more experienced than me. She played some music and set the timer for about 15 minutes. While she seems to be
reaching some zen zone, I had trouble keeping my eyes closed, and I was itching for the timer to go off. – [Woman] Breathing in through the nose. – My experience since
then hasn’t changed much. Meditation just feels hard for me. But I do work at Thrive,
so I know that the science is abundantly clear that
meditation is good for you. It improves focus, lowers stress, enhances compassion and creativity. So I’m recommitting to creating a practice that works for me. (upbeat music) – [Woman] So just bringing
the mind into the body. – I’ve had some success using meditation apps, like Headspace. Having a soothing voice guide me through each step of the
breathing process is helpful, and I like that there are meditations for specific situations. – [Woman] We’re just going
to gently scan downwards. – There are also products
like the Muse headband, which tracks your brain
waves when you meditate. The Oura ring, which is
traditionally used to track sleep, has a new feature that
tracks your heart rate while you meditate. And for people who are motivated
by seeing their numbers, these can be inspiring. But I don’t wanna be completely reliant on an app or a product
to help me meditate. – The air comes in. – Luckily, Thrive has our
own meditation expert, Agapi Stassinopoulos, who
was willing to help me out. – And allow yourself
a moment of gratitude. – [Alexandra] Agapi leads weekly
meditations in the office, so I started by joining one of those. Being a part of a meditation
community feels helpful, but I did find myself
looking around the room to see what others were doing. – So Alex right now, close your eyes. – I also did some one-on-one
sessions with Agapi, which were more personalized. For example, I’ve
learned that I’m a person who’s very effected by touch. So during our private session, Agapi would come put her
hands on my shoulders, and I’d feel myself completely relax. – [Agapi] You’re now feeling
that you are completely at one with your breath. – If you want to improve
your own meditation practice, here are some tips that are helping me. For starters, remember
that you can start small. A five minute meditation goes a long way. And while you’re there, get comfortable. You don’t need to sit with
your back super straight or your legs folded, but you do need to be
comfortable and distraction-free. So no animals or kids
jumping into your lap. Over four counts, inhale
through your nose, filling up your lungs and lower belly, then exhale slowly over four counts. If you’re feeling stressed, place a greater emphasis on the exhale. Try inhaling for four
counts and exhaling for six. There’s also some visualization exercises that Agapi tried with me that you can totally do on your own. Try thinking of a color
that brings you joy. Once you have it in your mind, picture yourself sitting
inside a balloon of that color. Breathe there for a
moment and allow yourself to get lost in the hue. Or center your meditation
around gratitude, which boosts our hope and our happiness. For me, meditating still
feels like a challenge, but I recognized the
need for it in my life, and I already feel its benefits. So I’m going to keep it up. And I won’t beat myself up
if my mind starts to wander while I’m practicing,
and you shouldn’t either. Mind chatter is simply
part of the experience. And over time and with practice, we’ll learn to course-correct
and refocus faster. Plus, getting back on track is simple. All we need to do is bring
it back to our breath. (gentle music)

 

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