With many of us leading ultra-busy lives, the relationships with the people we love don’t often get the right attention. We all say we want to do more for these relationships, but maybe doing more can take as little as 20 minutes if our minds are in the right place.
Here are five 20-minute meditative hacks that help the mind produce better relationships:
1. Mantra – Silently repeat Love, Peace or another word or phrase for 20 minutes in the morning. Choosing a word that is likely to help your relationship will psychologically prime you in the right direction for the day. Pause each time you think the word, wait for its afterglow to fade, and then repeat it. When your mind drifts, just bring your attention back and say the word again. Drifts happen because of a core rhythm in the brain, they are nothing to get frustrated about. After a while the brain will settle in. Since you are “doing something” this mini-meditation can be good for busy minded people.
2. Focus on your breath – For some, using a mantra just doesn’t work. If you’re one of them a good option is to simply follow your breath. Focus on either how the breath feels flowing into and out of your nostrils, or the rise and fall of chest or belly while you breath. It may help initially to mentally note ‘in’ and ‘out’, but you can drop this after a whlie. They key is to try not to change the breath, just watch it as your body breathes in and out.
3. Post workout stretch – One of the benefits of exercise is increased neuroplasticity. In other words, your brain is primed for its own workout after you finish your physical one. Scheduling some time for meditation immediately after you exercise allows you to take maximum advantage of effects it can provide.
4. Muse – Gadgets can help you make meditation more regular. A great one to try is the InteraXon Muse, which measures your brainwaves and provides real-time feedback. You can think of it as the ‘FitBit’ for the mind. It turns meditation into a game, while maximizing its benefits.
5. Spire – Another great wearable is the Stanford University inspired Spire. It clips inside your waistband and tracks your breathing, which is an excellent indicator of how stressed or relaxed you are. It can be used for meditation, it’s benefits go beyond it by providing insight into your daily stress patterns and helping to reduce tension by as much as 50% with smart notifications and quick reminders.
Dr. Jeffery Martin is a social scientist who researches personal transformation, and is a leading international expert on meditation and non-symbolic consciousness. He is the co-founder of the Transformative Technology Lab at Sofia University in Palo Alto, CA, and is a bestselling author, co-author and co-editor of over 20 books. Jeffery has also been featured in Deepak Chopra’s Scientists and Sages conference, the Science and Nonduality Conference, the Asia Consciousness Festival, and TEDx.