It's safe to assume that we all long for a more calm and stress-free life. With our seemingly endless to-do lists, pressures from work, various relationships, not to mention everything going on in the world right now, the phrase "stress-free life" may seem like an oxymoron. But what if I told you that life doesn't have to mean chaos; that you have the ability to cultivate a sense of calm that'll guide you through your day and lay the foundation for the rest of your life. Sure, life will never be perfect (do you really want it to be?), but it can be improved—drastically.
We spoke to Ora Nadrich, a certified Life Coach, Mindfulness Meditation teacher, and author of the book Says Who? and she shared simple ways we can begin to transform our lives today. Ora discusses the benefits of mindfulness meditation and how to begin your own practice, how to ground yourself during moments of anxiety that arise throughout the day, and how to stop negative thoughts in their tracks and replace them with positive and encouraging beliefs.
I don't know about you, but all that sounds pretty damn good to me.
LIVINGLY: LET'S START SIMPLE — WHAT CAN MEDITATION DO FOR SOMEONE?
If I were talking to somebody that has never meditated before, I would say, you have an opportunity to connect to something deep within yourself that’s relaxing, calming, and really shows you how to accept you for who you are. It's beneficial for your health, it reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, reduces anxiety—I could go on and on. It's your own personal happy place, it's finding that place deep within you where you know you’re okay. I want people to understand that they shouldn’t feel left out because they think they can't do it.
THAT LEADS ME TO MY NEXT QUESTION—HOW DO YOU SUGGEST SOMEONE WHO MAY FEEL INTIMIDATED BEGIN MEDITATING?
I would encourage someone to etch out time in their day. I want people to know that you can turn about anything into meditation. I have a video on Youtube called 'Your Morning Cup of Tea or Coffee Can Be Your Meditation,' where I say, just simply try doing it and give yourself 10 minutes. A lot of time people will say you they don't have time to meditate—well that's not true. I want everybody to know that they can do this—just start. Either focus on breath, or use a mantra or affirmation. Sit quietly and be aware of any thoughts or sensations you might be experiencing, and just be the observer. You don’t have to react, respond, or judge—just act as if you are literally standing outside yourself watching yourself meditate. You don’t have to do anything. If your mind beings to wander, be aware of it and just simply bring focus and awareness back to your breath. I always tell people, you’re going to end up liking it so much so that you’re going to want to make an effort to do it.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU BELIEVE PEOPLE SHOULD be DOING FROM THE SECOND THEY WAKE UP IN ORDER TO LEAD A MORE MINDFUL DAY AND LIFE?
Don’t just jump out of bed like a ball out of a canon. Don't get up and check your phone and immediately get into distraction mode. Honor your sacred time, even if you're just lying in bed for a couple of minutes. Be present and be mindful, focus on your breathing, and it will set the tone for the rest of the day. When we're present, we can be more in gratitude, we can be more compassionate, and we can be kinder to ourselves.
WHAT SHOULD THEY DO IF THEY BEGIN FEELING STRESSED OR ANXIOUS DURING THE DAY?
If you start to feel at any time that you're at the affect of not being in the moment, all you have to do is take a couple of breaths and observe how you're feeling. No one even has to know you're doing it. It's like taking a spiritual pulse—you want to connect to yourself and connect with how how you're doing. And all it takes sometimes is just a couple of breaths.
WHAT SHOULD SOMEONE DO WHEN THEY FEEL THEMSELVES GOING INTO A NEGATIVE HEAD SPACE?
In my book, Says Who?, I talk about transforming negative and fear based thoughts with seven questions to ask yourself when negative thoughts do come up. The goal is that you'll learn how to catch the negative thought, and then ‘release and replace' it with a positive one that's productive. You'll become very observant of the tendency to default to negative thinking, and you're training your mind to know what to do. Thoughts don’t attach themselves to us, we attach to them. We are the ones creating them; therefore, we have the power to change them.
HERE AT LIVINGLY WE HAVE THE MOTTO 'LIVE LIFE BEAUTIFULLY.' WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU?
Living life beautifully, to me, means living authentically and being true to who I really am. When I am true to who I am, I feel that I am shining my light and can remind others of the light that lives within them. And hopefully, eventually, we can just light up the world.