Think about the activities you pack into a single day. Can you check them off with ease, or are you feeling sapped of energy by mid-day?
If sustained energy is your goal, meditation is a tool you’ll want to keep close at hand. The key is developing a state of serene consciousness that allows you to conserve energy that may otherwise be wasted during the day. “So much of our energy is used up in superfluous activity, like worrying. When we quiet ourselves, we create a space for more energy,” says Deb Shapiro, meditation expert and co-author (with her husband, Ed Shapiro) of "Be the Change."
Ed Shapiro explains that meditation is like a banana for our “monkey minds,” which bounce around, full of distracting thoughts that leave us mentally breathless. Scientific studies are just beginning to document meditation’s effect on energy.
During an eight-week University of New Mexico study, a mindfulness-based stress reduction program that included meditation showed effectiveness in increasing energy and reducing pain. And an eight-week study of a similar mindfulness meditation technique among cancer patients noted increased energy as a positive effect of the practice.
How to start: Concentrate on the body’s life force, known as prana, say the Shapiros. Sitting in a comfortable position with your eyes closed, become aware of your physical body and visualize your life force. Breathe in through your nostrils and visualize your whole body filled with light and energy.
“Become aware of your breath. Visualize the whole body breathing and connecting with the energetic life force,” says Ed. “As you relax, visualize energy moving into areas that feel fatigued or injured.” Continue for at least five minutes, and work up to longer sessions that can recharge you throughout the day.
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