Can meditation improve my relationships, my health, and my effectiveness. Will it lead to a more fulfilling, joyful, positive life? The Open Heart study conducted by Barbara Fredrickson (and relayed in her book Positivity) tells me YES! The study showed that only 90 minutes of “Open Heart” meditation a week led to significant gains in mental, emotional, social and physical “resources”. Participants were better able to attend mindfully to the present and savor events in their lives. They became more accepting of themselves and saw their lives as more purposeful. They were able to forge deeper and more trusting relationships and feel the support of those close to them. They were physically healthier.
Open Heart meditations are focused on connecting with and opening the heart to positive feelings – joy, love, inspiration, awe, hope, gratitude, pride, amusement, serenity and interest. This is powerful for me. This is exactly what I want in my life – to be mindful and to savor my every moment, to accept and appreciate myself and others, to connect deeply and meaningfully, to see and create the meaning and purpose of my life, and to be aware of it in every action I take, to have a healthy, strong, thriving body, so that I can BE all that I want to be and experience the marvels of this world with strength and freedom.
I have struggled with Meditation for many years. On and off I have welcomed it into my life. Committed to some sort of practice. 5 minutes a day, 10 minutes a day, listening to guided meditations. It all feels good, but it never lasts. I mean, my practice of it never lasts. I’ve often asked myself why. WHY? can’t I stick to something so simple. The answer has always jumped out at me…why? because I didn’t believe in it. I didn’t believe I needed it. I didn’t believe it would make a significant enough difference in my life for me to give it the time of my day. THERE I said it. I admit it. This has been my perspective “Meditation is great for many, but not for me.”
That was then. Now? I feel the meditation juice is seeping into my blood. Clearly, beyond all doubt, positivity makes my life better. Clearly I function better in my relationships, my work, my thought process and clearly my life is more full of joy, connection and love, as I become a more positive being. If meditation can fill me with positivity I am all for it!
I was so inspired by the stories of the open heart meditation study that I immediately searched for guided meditations on the internet, downloaded them onto my phone and started listening to them. I even have done two meditations in one day! I love that the meditations are short (10-20 minutes) making it easy to fit them into my day…and yes, they fill me with peace, serenity and love. I am excited. I know the more I practice this, the more I will experience the rewards it brings and the more I will be motivated to continue to practice.
What will it take to make this commitment stick? It will take me being aware of how this is feeding me. It will take me being aware of how this creates the life I want for myself. It will take me committing to the behavior long enough to experience it’s rewards (at minimum 3 weeks according to Fredrickson). I’m doing it!
I am committing to practicing “Open Heart” meditations, using the guided meditation I have downloaded on my phone, at least 90 minutes a week. This commitment will build joy, love, and peace in my heart. It will empower me to be the best me in my relationships with other people. It will teach me focus, mindfulness and appreciation. Meditating will support me in my goal to bring peace and acceptance into the world and to create a joyful and united world around me.