“Slow down you move to fast…gotta make the morning last.” – Paul Simon

During the course of a week, I might do five or six memory screenings for people. I did one for a woman recently and I realized how much she reminded me of myself.

She scored very well on the test, but I could feel her anxiety. She was in constant motion, fidgeting in her chair, not focused, and I finally asked her to take a deep breath and relax. She was able to slow down enough to finish the test.

After the test, we talked about why it is so difficult for some people to just “be still,” to give ourselves time in the day to be quiet. Why do we tend to live in constant motion?

I will, say in my defense, that I have taken up meditation again. Every night for 20 to 30 minutes I put my legs “up the wall” put on my “Breethe” meditation app, and truly give myself up to this special moment in time.

Meditation is truly one of the best things we can do for our body, mind and spirit. Many people will not consider meditation because they do not understand how it works.

It is not just about sitting crossed-legged and humming a strange mantra, though one could do this method. Today there are countless apps available, from novice to advanced meditators.

This form of relaxation will open up a whole new world for those of you, like me, who cannot turn off their brains.

Let’s review a few tips:

  • Meditate every day. The commitment to a regular, daily practice is more important than any technique. Start with 15 minutes a day.
  • Make sure you choose a time of the day that you will not be disturbed. Many choose morning. I choose after dinner. I close the bedroom door and tell my husband I am going to meditate. I need to be alone.
  • If possible, create a special space. Mine is just a small area in my bedroom where I can light a candle, put my legs up on the wall and have my meditation app right next to me.
  • Make sure you are comfortable – in a chair, on the floor, or even in bed. (There are apps for meditation to help you sleep.)
  • Find an app that works for you. Search online for “meditation apps” and many will pop up. Try a few until you find one that works for you. I use “Breeth” because the voice of the woman is soft and encouraging. There are also “Stop, Breathe and Think,” “Inscape” and “Calm.” Many of these are free.
  • Stop procrastinating and start meditation. Turn off the TV and relax. There is increased evidence that meditation is very good for our brains.

We are living much longer than generations before us, so make the best of it.

Karen Doughtie is assistant director of Memory Matters, serving Bluffton and Hilton Head. karen@memory-matters.org