Popcorn Meditation: Snack-Sized De-Stressing.

February 2, 2010 at 3:13 pm Leave a comment

Popcorn Meditation! Image by plattmunk on Stock.Xchng So, by now you’ve probably heard that stress is bad for your brain.  And you’ve probably heard that meditation is good for reducing the negative effects of stress, and provides a lot of other brain-benefits.

But starting a meditation practice can seem… well… stressful!  There are so many disciplines to choose from, so many apparent rules to follow, even concerns about the religious implications. Then there’s that whole quieting the mind thing, not to mention being physically still?  For a whole 20 minutes to an hour?  Puhlease! And don’t even start in about those pretzel like positions most seniors couldn’t have managed even in their youth!

The stress of just thinking about all of this can stop would-be meditators in their tracks.

That’s where the concept of bite sized, popcorn meditations comes in – mini-meditations are fairly common, but  the popcorn part comes from a post by Susan Scott Morales (who happens to have written some other lovely meditation posts you might want to check out).

All you need is 2 minutes, and a comfortable, moderately quiet place to close your eyes.  You don’t need candles, cushions or mats; a timer isn’t necessary, either, but you may find having one is handy. Meditation has a way of warping our perception of time.

As you settle in, picture your unformed thoughts as unpopped kernels of popcorn, dancing in the back of your mind.  As thoughts take shape, and come into your awareness, they crack open, pop!

Don’t try to stop them from popping, don’t try to push them away, just notice each one as it cracks open.

You may notice thoughts about your to-do list, the dog barking outside, how your back itches your your knees ache — or even a thought about feeling silly meditating on popcorn.  It’s even ok to notice an itch pop into your awareness, and yes, it’s ok to squirm, and adjust your position.

Let the thoughts pop, and dance, and jump, but keep your focus on the popcorn, rather than the content of the thought.  Don’t try to control or direct the kernals or the content of the thoughts, don’t try and force yourself to respond, or not to respond…  just let the thoughts pop freely and jump around however they like.

Keep going until your two minutes is up, then gently open your eyes, stretch, and note how you feel.

Chances are, you’ll feel calmer, more balanced, more collected.  And you’ll also probably marvel at just how long 2 minutes can be, and how many thoughts pop into your mind in that time.

Mini-meditations like this are great for beginners …  they’re short, which builds confidence, and this one in particular teaches you to observe your thoughts, without judging or controlling them.  Those skills will help reduce your feelings of general stress, and give you a solid base to build on, should you decide to follow a more formal meditation practice later on.

So how ’bout it?
Ready to get popping?


Entry filed under: Reduce Stress. Tags: , , .

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A healthy mind and brain is key to a healthy, active life. Come along for the ride as we explore the basics of brain health, with topics including:
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Authored by Tori Deaux
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