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Center Founder Richard Davidson provides five straightforward, practical tips for incorporating well-being skills such as meditation into your daily life, including:
5-Minute Breath Awareness Practice
Sitting in an upright posture either in a chair with your feet comfortably touching the ground, or on a cushion or pillow on the floor with your legs crossed in a comfortable posture, notice your breathing. Simply become aware of your breathing. You can notice sensations around your nose or belly or elsewhere in your body. Do not get too focused on any one type of sensation but simply and gently become aware of your breathing. When you notice that your mind has wandered (and it will), gently bring your awareness back to your breathing.
If you have a regular walk that you do each day, either at work or to work or to something after work, take a part of it and devote it intentionally to becoming aware. Notice whatever sensations are associated with movement. Notice how the quality of your awareness is the same or different from when you are not moving. Notice the feelings in your legs and feet as you move. Awareness is the key to meditation and intentionally being aware of the present is at the core.
If you have a job during which you are mostly in one location sitting, or standing for part of the time, taking a few minutes to simply become aware of your body can be very helpful. Don’t try to manipulate your body but rather simply become aware of your body. Sometimes it can help to move your awareness through your body, beginning with your head, face and neck and then descending through each part of the body.
Loving-Kindness and Compassion Practice
After settling into your posture with an upright spine, reflect on the fact that just as you wish to be happy and to be free of suffering, so too do others have this same wish. Then bring to mind a loved one or someone you care about who might be having a difficult time, suffering in some way and as you visualize this person, cultivate the aspiration that they be relieved of their suffering.
Loving-Kindness and Compassion During Your Daily Life
If you find yourself in a situation where they are people (or animals) around you – it could be in a large office area, in an airport, in a grocery store, walking on a busy street, on a bus, in a train, in a plane, in a park, literally anywhere – as you notice the people or being around you, intentionally cultivate the wish that they be happy and free of suffering.