Stress is very present in most of our busy, modern, always-connected lives. From juggling a family, a career, a blog, and just the general chaos of NYC- I’m always looking for new ways to deal with it. I have done acupuncture, subscribe to holistic medicine, exercise regularly, and try to get a consistent amount of sleep – but still find it challenging at times to relax and be calm with my thoughts.
A few years ago, while I was between jobs, my husband suggested that I take a meditation course. Reluctant at first, I ended up at the Transcendental Meditation (TM) center on Manhattan’s Upper East Side where I took a crash course in TM. Ever since, I have been hooked and try to find time to meditate each morning. Something always is a little off when I start my day without it.
Meditation in a variety of forms and methods is again starting to become a major movement.
Meditation in your own home- and on your own schedule- is now easy and cost effective. In exploring this trend, I spoke with Lynne Goldberg, creator of the app OMG. I Can Meditate! Using Lynne’s app, you can meditate anywhere, anytime. I’m hooked. Here is the FO40 exclusive Q&A with Lynne – and she is even sharing her secrets to de-stressing, you can thank me later!
FO40: Lynne, I’m a big believer in the power of meditation and the benefits it brings when incorporated into my daily routine! Can you share some of your thoughts on this?
OMG: The benefit of meditating regularly is that it becomes routine and you start to look forward to it rather than making yourself do it because you “should.” The rhythm of meditating on a daily basis also helps extend that sense of calm and clarity into your daily life.
FO40: Like many of us, I know that I can at times feel overwhelmed with stress in my life. How can people calm down when they are dealing with work, life and everything in between?
OMG: If you need a quiet moment during a crazy day at work, or are just dealing with a tough day, try to spend a couple of minutes in solitude or simply be mindful of your breath. This will help calm you, since when we meditate we release “feel-good” hormones like oxytocin and serotonin. Our heart rate and blood pressure normalize, positively affecting our health and mindset in numerous ways.
FO40: How does meditation re-establish calmness and balance?
OMG: Meditation brings us a sense of perspective that we might otherwise not have. When we’re dealing with others, sometimes we are so wrapped up in ourselves that we can’t see the forest from the trees. Meditation helps us take a step back and see the bigger picture so we can better understand others’ perspectives and opinions. Meditation also allows us to respond to certain situations appropriately and consciously, using our judgment with more calm and clarity rather than reacting harshly. With meditation, our amygdala (the ancient part of the brain responsible for the fight-flight response) shrinks, and the prefrontal cortex (the part responsible for executive functioning) grows.
FO40: Like me, you’re a working mom. What does a typical day in your life look like?
OMG: Everyday starts the same no matter where I am. I meditate and practice yoga, usually before any one else is awake. I relish my quiet time for myself. Then I wake up my daughter and prepare her breakfast and get her off to school. I usually spend a couple hours writing, and then I work with clients until my daughter gets home from school.
FO40: What do you like most about your work?
OMG: I find it very rewarding. There is nothing more gratifying than knowing that I was able to help someone ease their pain. We get many letters every day from people whose lives have changed as a result of OMG I Can Meditate! and who express their heartfelt appreciation. It’s very humbling.
FO40: Let’s assume I’m new to meditation. How do I get started- and make mediation a habit?
OMG: The best way to start a meditation practice is to realize what is motivating you to do it in the first place, and then keep coming back to that intention on a regular basis. Like any new habit, there’s a bit of self-discipline needed at the very beginning. Remembering what is was in your life that brought you to meditation can make it easier. If it’s calm in your family life that you’re looking for, then remember that when you are tempted to skip a practice. Keep your intention fresh. Write it on a post-it note if you have to. I also suggest you download the OMG. I Can Meditate! app and set the alarm to wake you up with a meditation. That way if your intention gets a little foggy, you have a bit of extra help.
FO40: Anything new for 2017?
OMG: We just launched a Chatbot on our Facebook Messenger, through our Facebook Fanpage. Chatbots are huge right now but still fairly new and I think regarding meditation and OMG, we are certainly looking forward to our users becoming more interactive with us. Chatbots are a computer program which conducts a conversation via auditory or textual methods – so you can walk through a mediation with us, learn about specific programs, ask questions and more! You can try it out at the following link, either on the web, or on your mobile device here.
Well – I am certainly feeling more zen… Thank you so much, Lynne!
For more on Lynne Goldberg and OMG. I Can Meditate, visit here!