“If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.”   Comedian George Burns, who lived to 100

Stress is the leading cause of death.

Wow, just reading that statement stresses me out!!

What is stress?  How do you change it?

Here is an awesome definition of stress from Heart Mind Institute:

Stress is a measure of your mental and physical resistance to circumstances beyond your control.

I like that definition. Your “resistance” (both mental and physical) to something “beyond your control”.

It reminds me of something that happened the other day (why do insights always appear to me while standing in line at the grocery store?)

Here I was standing in line at my semi-healthy-food store.  Normally this store has no line, or at best only one person in front of you.   But today the store was busy and all three checkout lines were full.  The person standing at the register had a TON of groceries: the Real-Food kind, like fruits and vegetables, stuff that takes a long time to check out at the register!

Then I noticed a man shuffling around behind me. He seemed a bit agitated.  He was staring at his cell phone, shifting from one foot to the next, and his entire body was tense.  He looked up and mumbled “Don’t they have a line for 15 items or less in this store?!”  He truly seemed quite upset.

He wanted the line to move forward.  He wanted time to shift forward, so he could check out and be on his way.  But the line was not moving.

Let’s go back to that definition again.  Stress.  mental and physical resistance to circumstances beyond your control.  Stress.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, that truth bubbled up “stress, the leading cause of death’ and without thinking I blurted out:

“Now is a good time to meditate!”

I have no idea where that thought came from or what made me blurt it out, but the moment I did he began to relax.  And even I realized, in that moment of mindfulness, that Yes, I could take this moment to stop and enjoy a mini-meditation.

When people stop to contemplate how to meditate or consider the types of meditation available, they may imagine a quiet dark room with a candle where you sit on a meditation pillow, try to focus, and stop the thoughts.

But there are many ways to practice Mindful Meditation.  By simply being present, being aware of the moment, you leave the future behind.

Stress and anxiety tend to live in our minds, in the future.  By coming back to the present moment, anxiety and worry disappear.  In that moment, as his body relaxed and his face loosened up into a smile, the tension melted away.

The woman in the next line over, also waiting impatiently, leaned in and made a comment about ‘having to wait so long’.  I just smiled at her and said “he’s meditating now”, as he laughed and took another deep breath.

Can Meditating really be that easy?

Sometimes it is the simplest changes that make the biggest difference in our life.   The smallest shift can create a drastic improvement.

People who come in for sessions with hypnosis, NLP, and other modalities are often students of meditation.  They often share how they just cannot seem to ‘find the time’ to meditate as much as they want to.

This week I invite you to find those pockets of time, where you used to complain and wish time would SPEED UP and FAST FORWARD so you could quickly get to the end of the line.  Now you can use those moments for a mini-meditation.

Bring your attention to the present moment.

Notice your breath.  Notice the people around you, the environment.  Look at what is right there in front of you, and really SEE it, instead of what you see and wish was happening within the mind.

Then smile.  You have just let go of resistance.  Your body will thank you!

Read More: Benefits of Meditation

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