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  • Mar 16 2014

    Mommy Meditation: 10 Minutes a Day to a Calmer You

    If I told you about a simple technique that could make you a better mom in just a few minutes, wouldn’t you want to try it? The question really isn’t why but how to get started when you’ve got a million things on your mind.

    What’s stopping you? Let’s turn those excuses around to make time for a practice that will help you bond and focus on your baby, and become the best mom you can be.

    “I don’t really understand that stuff”

    Meditation isn’t about faith. It works whether or not you believe in it, or even understand it, says the American Psychological Association. Dr. Richard Davidson, a Wisconsin researcher, found that meditation “change[s] the circuits in the brain involved in regulation of emotion and attention.”
    But even though you don’t have to “believe” in meditation, you have to want the results enough that you’ll make time… even when there’s lots of other stuff going on in your life.


    “There’s so much information out there – where do I start?”

    You start… by starting. Sure, there are a ton of books and experts, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. You need an alarm and somewhere comfortable to sit.

    Any position can work. Some people prefer a more formal position, perhaps cross-legged on a yoga mat, since a too-soft sofa or easy chair may be more inviting for a nap than for meditation. Choose an alarm ring tone that you’ll enjoy hearing in your tranquil frame of mind. You don’t want to blow any peaceful feelings – or wake a sleeping baby! – with the jangling clamour of a noisy alarm.


    “If I wasn’t so busy and stressed, I’d have plenty of time to meditate!”

    Meditation won’t add more hours to your day. But instead of trying to get rid of the stress before you can meditate, bring it with you and face it head-on. Instead of pushing away your stresses, visualize them one by one as you try this focused breathing exercise, from Psychology Today.
    Although primarily recommended for dealing with fears, it’s great for the stresses of life as a parent. “The key here,” says psychologist Dr. Robert Puff, “is to recognize the fear and acknowledge how it feels unquestionably real. But rather than push it away as fast as you can, you are going to address it by taking deep and extended breaths.”


    “If I had ten minutes to spare, I’d catch up on my sleep!”

    Sure, sleep is important. Though how refreshing will that five or ten minutes of sleep really be? Will that too-short catnap help you refocus and charge ahead into the rest of your day in a “can-do” spirit, or just leave you groggy and disoriented?

    Some moms worry that if they try to meditate, they’ll just fall asleep. A mantra may help you stay alert. This is just a word or short phrase, like “I am” or “peaceful” that you say out loud (quietly) as you inhale and exhale, to reach a relaxed, meditative state.
    If you do fall asleep, it’s not the end of the world. Forgive yourself and try again tomorrow.


    “It’s too hard to focus on anything these days!”

    If you’ve ever done a spin class or gone rock climbing, you may have started out saying “it’s too hard.” Everything’s “too hard” until you get into shape, and regular practice gets you there.

    It’s a myth that you have to “clear your mind” or perform some other mystical slate-clearing before you start. And if you dive right in, you may surprise yourself.

    Once you’ve gotten to a peaceful state with a mantra, try Dr. Puff’s “fear-buster” routine, focusing on what’s stressing you: money, health, relationships, returning to work.

    “If you’re doing a good job visualizing them, you’ll most likely find your body tensing. Despite this, keep breathing slowly and deeply until you notice the anxiety subside.” Keep repeating your mantra to bring yourself to a feeling of calm and control.
    Meditating for five minutes, twice a day, won’t make the stress vanish. But you’ll gain a powerful tool that will help you give as much of yourself to your family as possible, and help turn every moment of mommy time with your baby into quality time for both of you.

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