Meditation. I’m meditating, about 20 minutes a day, wherever it fits in. I got inspired to try Vipassana-style meditation again, after listening to Tim Ferriss. Vipassana cultivates “mindfulness.” There is nothing spooky or irrational about mindfulness, and the evidence of its psychological benefits is now substantial. Mindfulness is simply a state of clear, neutral, nonjudgmental attention to the contents of your consciousness, whether pleasant or unpleasant. Developing this quality of mind has been shown to reduce pain, anxiety, and depression; improve cognitive function; and even produce changes in gray matter density in regions of the brain related to learning and memory, emotional regulation, and self-awareness.
My favorite mediation guides are Tara Brach, Jon Kabat-Zinn, and even Sam Harris–go to his website for 2 short guided meditations. For the best source of stress-reducing guided meditations and trainings, go to SoundsTrue.
Sometimes I meditate before I paint. I watch my mind jumping to all the ways I want to take stock and create meaning out of everything. Or it will jump to images or ideas to paint. Then I notice that I’m just sitting here breathing again. And I just keep coming back to breathing.