Exercise 1: Sit Your Ass Down
We’d all love to sneak away to a mountain or beach and just vibe in search of inner peace, but the world has this tendency to get in the way of that noble goal. The good news is you don’t need to travel up a mountain or risk a cabin-in-the-woods situation for the sake of mindfulness—peace is something you can cultivate anytime. The first step is as simple as sitting down.
- Make sure you’re comfy. If you’re already wearing sweatpants, put on uglier ones. Wear the big, comfy underwear that you’d never let anyone else see. Drape yourself in enough fabric that you look like an Olsen twin circa 2005.
- You may associate sitting on the floor with being drunk, but it’s also the perfect position for meditation. Just think, all those nights you’ve been mindful about a YouTube video of a fat dog, not bizarrely distraught and killing the mood.
- Here’s the kick-ass thing about meditation: You call the fucking shots. Close your eyes or open them. Use a wall to support your back if you need it. Go outside! Listen to rain noises! Whatever chills you out is another tool in your arsenal.
- Okay, here comes the good part: turning off your brain. How? By letting all the bullshit that is weighing you down float to the surface. As it rises up, let it go.
- If you’re struggling to let the outside world go, imagine a place that makes you feel peaceful. A beach without any people, a mountain that somehow still has Wi-Fi, or just a couch you like napping on. There’s no wrong answers in meditating. If it calms you down, roll with it.
- Take a few moments to occupy that space and then, as slowly as you entered it, say goodbye. As you exit, leave all the bullshit you entered with behind.
Exercise 2: Walking Meditation: Literally as Easy as It Sounds
It turns out that a lot of the time we spend strutting around listening to our favorite music doubles as valuable meditation time. Give this a try.
- Pick a route and get to stepping. It can be around a park or just down your hallway, as long as it’s safe and long enough for you to get into a groove.
- As you walk, let your brain get loud with all the shit that’s bothering you. Is it too late to admit I don’t know exactly what a Secretary of State does? Does my pet actually think I’m his pet? You know, the big questions.
- Slow down your steps, and as you change the pace of your feet, change the pace of your thoughts. Repeat a mantra in rhythm with each step. It can be as simple as “I’m grateful” or an Oscar-worthy monologue. Either way, let these words guide you until you reach your destination.
Exercise 3: Focus Up!
If you’re putting pressure on yourself to solve the mysteries of the universe while meditating, knock that shit off! It’s a one-way ticket to self-doubt. Instead, try a round of single-point meditation, aka focusing intensely on one thing. It’s basically obsessing, except instead of thinking of your most embarrassing moments you’re thinking of something you love, and it makes you feel better, not worse. Here’s how to do it:
- Choose one thing to concentrate on. Zero in on your breathing, your heartbeat, a color, a sound, a food (definitely a food). The world is full of shitty things, so don’t let them intrude.
- The rest is pretty simple—just stay focused! Whenever you find your focus wandering off, gently remind yourself to return to the original point of concentration. Try to be kind to yourself while you do this—now isn’t a good time to call yourself a dumb asshole. Try to hold this focus for a few minutes at first, slowly working your way up to longer intervals.
Exercise 4: Get Aware!
If you’re the kind of person who can obsess over one thing already, maybe work on expanding your focus to the bigger picture. Buddhist vipassana meditation (literally “special-seeing” or insight meditation) might be the move for you. Try this:
- Sit in front of something you like looking at, even if it’s just a photo of you where you look bomb. Try to avoid messy areas or anything chaotic. This is your field of awareness. Greet it. The two of you are about to get intimate.
- Now…focus! Take it all in slowly, constantly shifting up your perspective. There’s always a new angle to see things from or something you haven’t noticed yet waiting to be discovered. Think of yourself as the Christopher Columbus of your field of awareness, without the murder and diseases. Go forth and explore.
- Whenever some bullshit comes floating into your head from beyond the field of awareness, imagine slapping a sticky note on that bad boy and filing it away for later. This is called “mental noting,” and is a great way to keep disruptive thoughts from killing your vibe.
Exercise 5 Tell Me What You Want (What You Really, Really Want)
Before you dismiss the Law of Attraction outright, try it. There’s a ton of reasons to be skeptical, but the whole point of the L of A is that opportunity comes to those with an open mind. Swallow your doubts and get ready to ask the world for what you want.
- Lie down and clear your mind. If you can’t get your head totally clear, at least try to infuse your thoughts with some positivity. It doesn’t have to feel inauthentic and cheesy. It’s as simple as going from “It’s too hot outside today and I hate it” to “Man, it’s hot but at least I’m balling out in front of my AC.”
- In the midst of your positive thinking, begin declaring what you want. Make sure to actually DECLARE it—don’t be wishy-washy! It might sound crazy to say “I want to be an astronaut” when you don’t remember any algebra and hate wearing white, but just saying this desire out loud will move the universe in your direction.
- Admitting the things we want is scary as hell. Lean into that fear and use it to ask yourself the real shit: “Am I afraid to get what I want?” “What am I afraid would happen if I were to chase it?” Look your fears in their ugly faces and don’t back down.
- Don’t ruin this moment with logic! There’s a time and place for logic, like the LSATs or picking a karaoke song, but here logic is just another way for you to deny yourself. You know obstacles exist because, quite simply, you aren’t stupid. You just don’t need to make them bigger than what they already are.
- The Law of Attraction isn’t all about wanting! A major part of the Law of Attraction involves shouting out the things you’re already grateful for. Maybe you parallel parked like a boss or finally figured out how to make sourdough. Whatever it is, you deserve some props.
Exercise 6: Love, Even for Shitty People
You probably love your mom, your dog, your neighbor’s dog, a baby you saw in a video trying a lemon, but those aren’t the only worthy targets of all that good energy. All the mindfulness in the world doesn’t mean shit unless you direct your love to yourself first. So tell negativity to fuck off, because you’re about to fall in love with the face in the mirror.
- Calm down and clear your mind while sitting or lying somewhere comfortable. This time, though, instead of focusing on a sound or a sight, think of someone you love: Beyoncé! Leonardo! Any drunk woman who has ever given you a compliment! All good choices!
- Now direct that loving feeling in four ways:
- May you be free from danger; may you be safe. May you never look up and realize everyone in the room with you is in a fraternity and is about to do some kind of handshake that involves chanting.
- May you have happiness; may you have peace. May no one reply to a text just saying “k.”
- May you have physical well-being and health. May your knees stop making that clicking noise and may green juice stop tasting like garbage.
- May you have ease of well-being; may you be free from unnecessary struggle and pain. May your inbox always be at zero and the dress code always be “pajama friendly.”
- Direct these feelings toward yourself and let them wash over you.
- Now that you’re full of love, shit is going to get real. Sometimes you have to be the bigger person and apply this thinking to a more difficult person, like a coworker who breathes too loudly. It won’t be easy, but practicing love toward your enemies will make you feel more peaceful.
Exercise 7: Keep on Breathing!
Ki is the life force or living energy that connects to all that there is. Everything has ki—trees, rocks, probably some other stuff too! You get it. Long story short, this shit is everywhere, so you better learn how to channel it.
- Sit upright with your spine straight. Be mindful of your posture—if you slouch like Quasimodo, your ki ain’t going to flow.
- Open your mouth, relax your jaw, stick out your tongue, and pant like a dog. Feel stupid? You’re doing it right!
- Continue for several minutes. These in-and-out breaths, while making you feel like Fido, will open up your belly and clear the ki passageways from the base of your spine to your throat’s vocal cords. Once you create a space for your ki to flow cleanly, you’ll be able to do whatever you want with it. Go forth and conquer!