But I did try again. And again. And after several years, many books and a few good teachers, I've come to realize that the goal of sitting down and maintaining a completely clear mind for thirty minutes in my first meditation practice ever was not a realistic one. I'd set the wrong goal.
What was realistic was sitting for five minutes and re-directing my thoughts back to my breathing each time they wandered. And then sitting for ten minutes. Every day, twice if possible. (But not giving up if I missed a day.) Just sitting was reaching my goal, not trying to make my practice perfect. (In fact, I've worked to throw that perfectionism ideal right out the window, where it belongs!)
I'm sharing this with you for two reasons. First, if your experience with meditation has been like mine was, I'd like to encourage you to try again. It can be great! And, second, I thought it was a good way to introduce the concept of goals: achieving them, maintaining them, and--also very important!--setting the right ones. Without being rigid, having goals and intentions guide your thoughts and actions can help you get from here to there, to build a better life for yourself.
The following resources can help you to set the right goals for yourself, and know how to work toward them. You'll find information on goals for stress management as well as resilience and personal happiness. I'd also love to hear about your own experiences with personal goals: what have your biggest goals been, and how have you reached them (or not)? What wisdom have you learned from the whole experience, and are you still working on it? Leave your experiences in the 'comments' section.
Goals and Stress Relief
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