What do coloring, our 5 senses, and breathing have in common? They are all considered forms of mindfulness mediation. Researchers have demonstrated that mindfulness meditation has both psychological AND physical benefits. It reduces stress, anxiety, and pain! I think we could all use a little less of those three!

So I’d like to describe my favorite ways to meditate.

1. Walking: Even if you let your mind run helter skelter, walking is still very meditative. It’s even more so when you pay attention to your surroundings. The trees and flowers, the clouds and birdsong, and the houses and other people. Paying attention to what’s around you helps you stay in the present and focus on what is right now instead of your past or future concerns.

2. I recently heard of something called the 3×5. This refers to our 5 senses. The idea is to list 3 things you see, 3 you hear, 3 you taste, 3 you smell, and 3 you can touch (at that moment—not in general.) This helps you focus on the here and now and takes you away from your worries or mood, at least while you are doing the 3×5.

3. I often ask people to name 3 good things or blessings that happened that day. This is a good practice for all of us and helps us stay positive. Sharing what you’re thankful for with God or other people is another way to do this.

4. Deep breathing is calming to the psyche and the body. It has been proven to lower blood pressure and anxiety. I’ve taught my children belly, balloon breathing. Inhale air deep into your lungs, causing your belly to blow up like a balloon. Do that 3-5 times every night be fore you go to bed or whenever you feel yourself starting to worry.

5. Coloring: I have coloring books at home that I use, but I’ve really enjoyed going to Sandy Schieble’s coloring group at the church on Mondays at 1 p.m. when I’ve been able to go. You’re welcome to join them anytime!

Any combination of these meditation practices can help you find peace in your life and help you deal with life’s challenges. Now I’ll let you in on a secret. God is easier to notice in the present moment. Sure, you can see where God WAS present by looking back at the past, but we meet God in the present.

These techniques are not only mentally and physically beneficial, but they are also spiritual. Whenever we are able to be present in the moment, we are also better able to sense God’s presence in that moment. Just trust me, God is with you always but especially when you are present in the moment.

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