The secret to success and happiness? The answer might be easier than you thought…
It’s easy to look at Oprah’s mountain of success, her powerful personality, and influence, and assume she knows something the rest of us don’t. Well, the truth is, she’s just like you and me. She has the same number of hours in her day to deal with insecurities, obstacles, and doubts just like the rest of us.
So, how did Oprah become such a renowned leader for women and men around the world? I’ll give you a hint – it’s not luck! Over the years, Oprah has provided a lot of insight into mindful living and often attributes it as a major factor to living a healthy and happy life (1). Mindfulness is using meditation as a way to remove limiting self-beliefs and connect to the self underneath.
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Think of mindfulness as using your inner awareness to be fully present in the moment, noticing your thoughts, feelings, and senses with an attitude of acceptance. You can do this by sitting in meditation or informally taking a few moments to be mindful throughout your day. These practices help you let go of judgment and view life more objectively.
Why Mindfulness Matters
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by criticism and doubt. But meditation gives you the power to resist negative thoughts.
Leaders everywhere are tuning into this. Google and other powerful companies around the world are providing mindfulness seminars for their employees (2). Meditation is a tool used by competitive athletes, performers, actors, schools, and leaders around the world.
Why? Research shows us that mindfulness meditation boosts self-esteem and emotional regulation, improves our self-awareness, and lowers stress while boosting productivity. (3, 4, 5) It also helps us uncover a lasting sense of health and happiness (6).
Anyone can rewire their brain to become more resilient and less fixated on negative thoughts. When we’re mindful of ourselves and reality in the present moment, creativity flows and we start to cultivate a more positive outlook on life.
With a little practice, you might notice yourself less emotionally triggered by someone who cuts you off in traffic or makes a sideways comment to you in the office. With continued practice, you may start to disentangle your inner critic voice with your heart’s wisdom. To identify your heart’s deepest desires, feel the courage to move past your fears and step into the friendships, experiences, career, relationship, health, and life you want.
How to Practice Meditation
You can start by getting into a comfortable seated position on a chair with your back supported and feet against the floor. Begin by bringing your full attention to a point of focus. It can be your breath or a sound (mantra). Know that it’s totally normal for you to get distracted by thoughts. The brain is designed to think! Meditation is not about stopping your mind but giving it something to do instead. This means giving a gentle focus to one thing (a breath or a mantra) and continuing to bring yourself back to it when your mind starts to wander.
A Powerful Morning Meditation
Try starting your morning by doing this simple but powerful meditation. You can remember the acronym F.B.A: “Feel, Breathe, Appreciate.”
Feel. Start by asking yourself the question, “How do I want to feel?” This is your intention. Then, scan your body starting from the top of your head all the way down to the soles of your feet. Breathe deeply as you direct the intention of how you want to feel towards every part of your body. Do this for about three minutes.
Breathe. Notice the rhythm of your breath and where you feel it the most. In your nose? Your throat? Your chest or belly? Don’t try to control your breath, just be aware of its pace and depth. Pay attention to what you love most about your breath. Is it the inhale, exhale or pauses in between? Anytime your mind strays, gently bring your attention back to your breath. Try not to strain or fight yourself here. It should be a relaxed attention. Do this for three to five minutes.
Appreciate. Think of someone or something that you’re grateful for. Picture this person or thing in your mind and let your body feel whatever emotions accompany that sense of gratitude and love. It may even bring a smile to your face. Let yourself bathe in that feeling of appreciation for at least one moment before opening your eyes and returning to your day.
With this meditation, you can tap into your unlimited reserves of peace, strength, wisdom, and love. If you could begin every day from this perspective, wouldn’t you feel empowered to make decisions from a calmer and clearer place? Wouldn’t you be in awe of the endless possibilities?
If you’d like to learn more about meditation and be guided in your practice, check out our meditation program, Mindful Body.
(Read This Next: How to Meditate in 5 Simple Steps)